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Senior Rural Sociologist


  • Organization: FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Location: Rome
  • Grade: Senior level - P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Human Resources
  • Closing Date: Closed


• FAO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality, background and culture
• Qualified female applicants, qualified nationals of non-and under-represented Members and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply
• Everyone who works for FAO is required to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and professional conduct, and to uphold FAO's values
• FAO, as a Specialized Agency of the United Nations, has a zero-tolerance policy for conduct that is incompatible with its status, objectives and mandate, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination
• All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks
• All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality
• FAO staff are subject to the authority of the Director-General, who may assign them to any of the activities or offices of the Organization.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda through FAO Strategic Framework by supporting the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems, for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.

Organizational Setting

The FAO Investment Centre (CFI) aims to be the go-to place for investment and finance solutions that lead to more efficient, sustainable, inclusive and resilient agrifood systems. Working in over 120 countries, CFI provides a full suite of investment and finance support to FAO Members. It partners with governments, international financing institutions, national and international organizations, the private sector, research institutions, academia and producer organizations to improve the quality and quantity of agrifood investment. The Centre’s four main areas of work include support to strategic investment planning and policy, public investment, private investment and innovative finance. These are complemented by the knowledge for investment and capacity development for investment programmes that serve to share knowledge more widely and position the Centre as a trusted voice on investment and finance.
CFI is a multidisciplinary centre comprising the Director’s office, which leads on strategy and business development, knowledge management, communication and administration, and five regional services: Asia and the Pacific; Near East and North Africa, and Europe and Central Asia; West and Central Africa; East and Southern Africa; and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The post is located in the Office of the Director (CFID) of the FAO Investment Centre (CFI) at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy.

Reporting lines
The Senior Rural Sociologist reports to the Director, CFI.

Technical Focus
Provide analytical and technical support on rural sociology, inclusive sustainable development and social protection aspects for the formulation, implementation and evaluation of investment policies, strategies, programmes and projects in food and agriculture, rural development, natural resource management and agro-processing.

Key Results
Delivering investment and finance support solutions through the provisions of technical advice and capacity development, in collaboration with country stakeholders and cooperating partners, to achieve impact at scale in the transformation of agrifood systems within the scope of the FAO Strategic Framework.

Key Functions
• Leads, or participates in, multidisciplinary teams to assist governments in the identification and preparation of investment and finance support initiatives in the fields of food and agriculture, rural development, natural resource management and agro-processing, and participates in pre-appraisal and appraisal missions.
• Leads, or participates in, multidisciplinary teams for the implementation support and the preparation of final evaluation of investment and finance support solutions.
• Advises governments in the preparation of food and agriculture, rural development, natural resource management and agro-processing studies and strategies, and in the formulation of national sector and/or sub-sector investment plans and programmes.
• Advises on developing inclusive and sustainable food systems, involving producers, their organizations, other private sector actors, civil society organizations and governments.
• Leads the formulation and delivery of capacity development initiatives in the areas of food and agriculture, rural development, natural resource management and agro-processing investment support to government staff, non-state actors and private sector organizations.
• Prepares documents in accordance with FAO, government and financing partners’ requirements.
• Advises on task organization, selection of consultants, and preparation of terms of reference and in ensuring the quality of outputs.
• Represents the Organization at international and inter-governmental meetings and conferences, advocates for strategic partnerships, best practices and effective policy dialogue; develops and negotiates effective working relationships and agreements with international and national partners.
• Establishes, promotes and maintains relationships with relevant Strategic Programmes, FAO Technical Units and Decentralized Offices in order to ensure best synergies between investment, policy and innovation work in support to Member Nations.
• Leads or participates in resource mobilization activities in accordance with the FAO Corporate Strategy.
• Provides guidance, mentoring and advice to junior staff.

Specific functions
• Advises on approaches to poverty, food and nutrition security, livelihoods and community-based planning, access to services and infrastructure, rural institutions, social protection, gender roles, youth, producer organizations, and other relevant socio-economic factors.
• Plays a key role in the involvement of government officials, non-state actors, development partners and target groups to ensure priorities of diverse stakeholders in investment planning and design.
• Advises on and/or contributes to ensuring that target beneficiaries participate in and benefit from project interventions and are meaningfully engaged in project management.
• Leads or contributes to corporate work related to social analysis, social protection, gender, food security and nutrition, rural livelihoods, community-driven development, community-based natural resources management and resilience.


Minimum Requirements
• Advanced university degree in sociology, social development, anthropology, rural development or a closely related field.
• Ten years of relevant experience in rural sociology in the context of food security, agriculture, rural development, natural resource management and agro-processing, including in the design, implementation and/or evaluation of agricultural and rural development investment programmes in developing countries and/or countries in transition.
• Working knowledge (proficient – level C) of English and limited knowledge (intermediate – level B) of another FAO official language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish).

• Results focus
• Leading, engaging and empowering
• Communication and advocacy
• Partnering and resource mobilisation
• Knowledge sharing and continuous Improvement
• Strategic thinking

Technical/Functional Skills
• Work experience in more than one location or area of work, particularly in field positions.
• Extent and relevance of experience in conducting socio-economic analytical research or surveys, implementing participatory methods focussing on institutional development, rural livelihoods, poverty, social protection, gender analysis and targeting.
• Extent and relevance of experience in leading, or participating in multidisciplinary teams for the preparation of strategies and sector studies as well as formulation, implementation support or evaluation of food security, agriculture, rural development, natural resource management and agro-processing investment and finance support solutions.
• Extent and relevance of experience in investment design, implementation support and evaluation procedures of FAO’s main development partners, in particular the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and other partner international financial institutions (IFIs).
• Extent of experience in capacity development for the design and implementation of food security, agriculture, rural development, natural resource management and agro-processing investments.
• Demonstrated experience in dealing with senior government officials, development partners and other country stakeholders.
• Demonstrated capacity to write technical reports in English.

This vacancy is now closed.
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