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Rome (Italy)

  • Organization: FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Location: Rome (Italy)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Statistics
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2020-11-04

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note that Closure Date and Time displayed above are based on date and time settings of your personal device


FAO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender and nationality

People with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply

All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality

The incumbent may be re-assigned to different activities and/or duty stations depending on the evolving needs of the Organization


Organizational Setting

The Office of Emergencies and Resilience (OER) is responsible for ensuring FAO's efforts to support countries and partners in preparing for and effectively responding to food and agricultural threats and crises. It is responsible for coordinating the development and maintenance of corporate tools and standards to enable Decentralized Offices to assist Members to prepare for, and respond to emergencies. OER ensures humanitarian policy coordination and knowledge, liaison with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee as well as with humanitarian resource partners, co-leadership with World Food Programme of the global Food Security Cluster, organizational preparedness, surge capacity and response to large-scale emergencies. OER supports food and nutrition security assessment and early warning activities related to emergency and humanitarian analysis and responses. OER plays a major role in the development and leadership of the Organization's programme to increase the resilience of livelihoods to food and agriculture threats and crises (SO5).

Since late 2019, an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus – has rapidly spread across the world, devastating lives and livelihoods. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is particularly concerned about the potential impacts of the virus and related containment efforts on food security and livelihoods in contexts of high vulnerability and where populations are already experiencing food crises. Within the United Nations Global COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP), FAO is seeking USD 350 million to protect the food security of the most vulnerable rural populations in 34 priority countries, most of which are already faced with food crisis contexts.

Under the GHRP, FAO, in close collaboration with key partners such as the World Food Programme, the global Food Security Cluster and the Global Network Against Food Crises, is establishing a global data and analysis facility to create a common understanding and inform programming. At the core of the data and analysis facility is a structured assessment framework which is sequenced to respond to different information needs as the crisis unfolds in high-risk countries. The assessment framework is driven by a set of questionnaires which will be administered in the 34 countries on a periodic basis over the July 2020 – June 2021 period to monitor key risk factors and to understand the occurring and potential impacts on agricultural production, market chains, food security and livelihoods. At a later stage, agriculture sector damage and loss assessments will be conducted, linked to the food security and livelihood impact assessments. In addition the COVID-19 data facility is expected to pave the way for a sustainable system of data collection and analysis on food supply in food crisis countries beyond the pandemic.

The information system relies principally on remotely collected data (mobile phone and on-line), collected either by FAO offices themselves or through international service providers. Field assessments may also be conducted at a later stage using data collection tools such as Kobo or ODK. In total, the project intends to collect interviews from at least 50,000 respondents, households and key informants, on a quarterly basis. This will be enriched by various other data sources and disseminated in the form of various analytical products via a geospatial hub. The actual datasets also will be made available to stakeholders for independent analysis.

Reporting Lines

The Consultant will report to the Senior Technical Officer, OER.

Technical Focus

Under the direct technical supervision of the OER Senior Technical Officer and the technical back-up of the OER Needs Assessment team leader, in collaboration with the IT services and with the assessment specialists at HQ, regional and country levels, the Data Manager will propose and build the overall infrastructure of the COVID-19 data facility, covering the different phases of the data flow, including acquisition, quality control, cleaning, analysis, visualization, storage and sharing.

Tasks and responsibilities

  • Assess the scope, characteristics and needs of the COVID-19 data facility;
  • Supervise the development of the data facility and geospatial hub by creating scalable data models and building data pipeline architecture consisting of collecting and processing data, and transforming it into actionable insights;
  • Develop a proposal for the design of visualization and self-serve analytics products that allow evidence-based decision making;
  • Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different software solutions against the needs of the data facility and propose appropriate solutions for each phase, in accordance with FAO corporate policies and practices;
  • Be a technical leader for the team and support the functions of data analysts and data scientists;
  • Liaise with upstream data providers (e.g. GeoPoll) and downstream visualization services (e.g. ESRI) to ensure the effectiveness of API and the conformity of data;
  • Ensure compatibility with other FAO corporate data platforms or hubs, including the Hand-in-Hand initiative platform;
  • Ensure the maintenance, troubleshooting and upgrade of the data infrastructure;
  • Establish Standard Operating Procedures for data management at each step of the data flow;
  • Lead the timely processing, analysis and dissemination of data collected;
  • Establish data protection and sharing procedures that abide by FAO internal regulations;
  • Supervise the junior data scientist and temporary developers;
  • Raise awareness of and train members of the needs assessment team (HQ, regions, countries) on the data facility infrastructure;


Minimum Requirements

  • Advanced university degree in computer sciences, data sciences, information management systems, statistics or other related discipline relevant to the mandate of the Organization;
  • Minimum of 5 years of proven knowledge and experience in developing and running data management systems applied to the humanitarian and development context or socioeconomic research;
  • Working knowledge of English and limited knowledge of another official language of the Organization (French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese or Russian).

FAO Core Competencies

  • Results Focus
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Building Effective Relationships
  • Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Technical/Functional Skills

  • Proficient in R or Python with working knowledge of statistical software packages (in particular SPSS and STATA;
  • Working knowledge of data visualization options such as interactive dashboards (Tableau, Power BI) and Geographic Information Systems / webmapping (ArcGIS, QGIS);
  • Good knowledge of using and programming Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviews and field data collection kits (in particular Kobo toolbox);
  • Demonstrated history of developing and managing data-driven systems and data products
  • Familiarity and interest in socioeconomic surveys in developing countries;
  • Ability to manage large datasets from different sources and of a different nature;
  • Ability to work under pressure and adapt to an evolving and complex humanitarian context and within multidisciplinary and different cultural background teams;
  • Effective skills to structure, develop and run a multidimensional system;
  • Ability to demonstrate creativity while complying with internal standard procedures and practices;
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written;
  • Ability to communicate with technical and non-technical people;
  • Effective team leadership and decision making skills with strong individual planning capacity;
  • Knowledge of humanitarian principles.

Please note that all candidates should adhere to FAO Values of Commitment to FAO, Respect for All and Integrity and Transparency


We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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