Africa Field Director, Vital Signs

About Conservation International: 
For more than 25 years, Conservation International (CI) has been protecting nature for the benefit of everyone on Earth. But we are not a run-of-the-mill environmental organization; we are more like a human organization. We know that human beings are totally dependent on nature, and that when we work to save nature we are really working to save ourselves. CI has a staff of over 1,000 employees working in more than 30 countries to build a healthier, more prosperous and more productive planet. Our goal is to protect the most fundamental things that nature provides to all of us: our food, fresh water, our livelihoods, and a stable climate. CI works at every level, from remote villages to the offices of presidents and CEOs, to find these solutions. 
2012 CI in partnership with The Earth Institute, Columbia University and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa, created the Vital Signs Monitoring System, an open-source system, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  As a programme within the Africa & Madagascar Field Division of CI, Vital Signs serves to provide integrated data on agriculture, ecosystem services and human well-being, and new tools for decision makers to guide agricultural development that is sustainable for people and for ecosystems. To this end, Vital Signs seeks to recruit the Africa Field Director. The position reports to the Vital Signs Executive Director and works under the general guidance of the Technical Council for Vital Signs. This is a key position with high visibility and is responsible for overseeing the technical implementation and capacity building for Vital Signs in Africa.  The incumbent must have advanced technical skills, the ability to work with a diverse set of international partners and the ability to communicate effectively to both technical and non-technical audiences and be highly organized.   
  • Responsible for technical oversight of all Vital Signs field activities and data collection activities in Africa.
  • Responsible for all Vital Signs Africa training and capacity building of country field teams, in coordination with the Vital Signs ED and CI's Chief Scientist and in partnership with relevant external and internal partners.
  • Participates in analysis of Vital Signs data and leads and/or participates in the publication of high impact, peer-reviewed publications and technical reports.
  • Gives presentations at international scientific and technical meetings.
  • Ensures that all required permits are in place in each Vital Signs country and oversees all grant agreements with country implementation teams to ensure consistency with Vital Signs technical standards and compliance with CI and donor policies.
  • Maintains external networks of collaborators, including communication with scientists and policy makers in Africa and elsewhere, to ensure the visibility of the Vital Signs system and to maximize participation and collaboration. 
  • Master’s degree in relevant field of ecology, agronomy or agricultural sciences, soil science, environmental science or conservation biology.  PhD would be an added advantage.
  • Minimum 5 years’ experience in field work in Africa, managing field projects
  • Experience with large research collaborations
  • Knowledge of conditions in field stations and logistical constraints to implementing various scientific sampling methods on the ground
  • Demonstrated experience leading a decentralized team and influencing activities
  • Record of scholarly publication in international scientific journals
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English; Ability to communicate effectively in Swahili, Portuguese or French added advantage 
We expect that all employees will embrace the values of our organization: 
  • Passion: We are inspired by nature and cherish the diversity of life in all its forms.
  • Respect: We respect and trust each other, and we embrace our diversity of cultures, talents, and experiences.
  • Integrity: We act with integrity and accountable to others for our actions.
  • Optimism: We are optimistic about the future of life on Earth and are confident that, with our partners, we will achieve unprecedented conservation results.
  • Courage: We tirelessly pursue our vision, taking bold action and persevering through challenges.
  • Teamwork: We work together, recognizing that openness, collaboration and cooperation are fundamental to achieving a healthy and prosperous world for all. 
  • The position is based in Nairobi, Kenya in an office environment.
  • The position will require travel of not less than 40% to the project sites and ability to work non-traditional and extended hours to accommodate time differences between headquarters and the region. 
Please visit Conservation International’s Careers page and apply directly through our online job application form for this position. The deadline for receipt of application is May 6, 2016. 
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