ACDI / VOCA Senior Market Systems Specialist Job in Nairobi, Kenya



ACDI / VOCA is currently implementing a $45 million, five-year program entitled “Feed the Future Livestock Market Systems (LMS)” development projects in Northern Kenya funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The aim of the USAID Kenya Feed the Future LMS program is to strengthen people’s resilience to shocks and stresses and reduce the prevalence and depth of poverty, household hunger, and chronic undernutrition.

The program aims to do so by taking collective action on economic opportunities, and by strengthening institutions, market systems, governance, and human capital.

PROGRAM BACKGROUND: The USAID Kenya Feed the Future Livestock Market Systems (LMS) Leader with Associates (LWA) program is focused on strengthening community resilience and overcoming poverty, household hunger and chronic undernutrition through: expanded and viable economic opportunities; improved systems, institutions, governance; and human capital.

The Program comprises of Leader and Associate Awards with the objective to maximize local capacity to plan and manage integrated resilience programming and foster collaboration with other implementers to achieve significant and lasting social change.

The Expanding and Diversifying Viable Economic Opportunities in Northern Kenya (AA1) project provides market-based pull by facilitating a more competitive, commercialized livestock value chain for pastoralists that are moving up in the livestock market system and, by creating viable, diversified livelihoods opportunities for those that are moving up or moving out of the sector.

The AA1 design builds vibrant market systems in livestock and other viable industries, enabling households to generate more income within the sector and to diversify into other income sources.

By increasing and diversifying income sources, households –with a focus on youth and women– build resilience and create sustained pathways out of poverty.

The three objectives that comprise the pull structure of AA1 are:

1) expanded and diversified viable economic opportunities;

2) strengthened institutions, systems and governance; and

3) collaborative action and learning for market systems change.

JOB SUMMARY: The Senior Market Systems Specialist will provide technical leadership across the project in the application of inclusive market systems approach.

S/he will develop evidence-based strategies to address market system constraints impacting the competitiveness, inclusiveness, and resilience of livestock market systems in northern Kenya. S/he will ensure technical quality in facilitation-based interventions; and lead/oversee market studies, research and assessments to inform activity design and implementation.

In doing so, s/he will promote and apply ACDI/VOCA’s Inclusive Market Systems Approach (which is consistent with industry best practice and on which s/he will be oriented).

S/he will regularly collaborate with senior leadership in Nairobi and county level technical teams to meaningfully inform project activities and planning, ensure these are in alignment with the project’s systems change strategy and prioritized leverage points, expand catalytic partnership opportunities, and identify ways to amplify spillover impact from the project’s targeted investments.

This position is expected to collaborate closely across technical (including the Gender Advisor, Collaboration, Learning, and Adaptation Manager and others) and operational teams to maximize ongoing learning opportunities that regularly inform program adaptations in response to shifting system dynamics and learning-by-doing.

The position is based in Nairobi with regular travel to the ASALs.


  • Reporting to the LMS-AA1 Chief of Party (COP), provides leadership to embed an inclusive market systems approach, specifically ACDI/VOCA’s approach (consistent with industry best practice), into LMS’s overall strategy to identify inclusive market development opportunities, analyze evolving market trends, and conduct targeted desk/primary research on new/potential market channels, business models, and partnerships.
    • In close collaboration with the LMS AA1 COP, co-leads the participatory development of an annual overarching project strategy to catalyze systemic changes in LMS’ zone of influence and regularly updates this strategy based on shifting system dynamics and lessons learned.
    • Identifies leverage points which a) advance commercialization and allow vulnerable women, men and youth to contribute to and benefit from economic growth, and b) support diverse livelihood pathways and enhancing resilience capacities.
  • Identifies relevant market actors, assesses end markets and establishes relationships/networks with key actors/influencers, develops value chain or system maps, identifies constraints, inefficiencies, value chain bottlenecks, grant opportunities, market-based solutions, and incentives (capturing these in reports, briefs, updates and white papers).
  • Participates in the design and review of project interventions across all AA1 objectives that directly support overall systems change strategies and identified leverage points.
  • Participates in the technical review of Livelihood and Enterprise grants, Innovation, and Workforce Development grant applications. Works closely with the AA1 COP and the Grants Director to strategically design RFAs and APS from a Market Systems and Sequencing, Layering, and Integration (SLI) lens.
  • Promotes and applies ACDI/VOCA’s Inclusive Market Systems Approach, participating in ACDI/VOCA’s global market systems community and other key industry forums to share, learn, and continually stay abreast of key market system trends and advancements
  • Contributes to the development of a culture of learning and adaptive programming that encourages the flow of information and reflection to maximize performance and continuous improvement within LMS and its partners.
  • In conjunction with the M&E team, reviews how AA1 interventions are contributing to community and county-wide spin-offs, crowding in, business competitiveness, and households’ increased economic participation and resilience to shocks.
  • Builds capacity of LMS staff and partners in market systems approach, informing operational tools and processes that support its application (e.g. social network analysis).
  • Support internal and external collaboration and learning (including with Partnership Resilience in Economic Growth partners) to improve and adapt AA1 project design. This includes initiating and co-leading pause and reflect sessions, hosting sessions and workshops to adapt program strategy and interventions based on lessons learned, changing conditions, Government of Kenya priorities and county-specific / socio-cultural specific contexts.
  • Proactively engages with other internal teams (M&E, Grants, Gender, Nutrition, Policy and Governance, other Associate Awards, etc.) to promote and ensure the seamless integration and coordination of a Market Systems approach across LMS partners.
  • Analyzes, informs, and advises COP on the feasibility and projected impact of proposed LMS initiatives in support of performance monitoring plan targets and overall strategic objectives.


  • Solid understanding of market systems frameworks and facilitation strategies. Extensive experience applying these frameworks and strategies in agricultural contexts with proven results.
  • Experience analyzing and understanding market system dynamics and designing market system intervention strategies that advance strategy, lead to spillover/wider system impact, and maximize stakeholder ownership and investment in the intervention.
  • Bachelor’s degree in business, economics, development studies, agronomy, livestock management, or related field; Masters preferred.
  • Minimum of 8-10 years of experience in working in agribusiness development with technical understanding of agribusiness market development in Kenyan context.
  • Proven ability to work with and motivate private- and public-sector actors, as well as internal team colleagues.
  • Strong written communication skills, including demonstrated ability to write required documents in a clear, concise, well-organized manner.
  • Strong analytical skills, including ability to gather and analyze a variety of information pertaining to issues and to develop appropriate recommendations for action
  • Excellent management, communication, and organization skills.
  • Demonstrated skills to build coalitions and networks that can provide synergies and sustainable solutions to address market and inclusion constraints.
  • Experience networking and collaborating with other USAID and donor-funded projects and high-level government officials.
  • Fluency in English (Fluency in Kiswahili, preferred)

To Apply:

Please submit a resume to  no later than August 28, 2018. In the subject line, please include the position title.

Due to the high volume of applications we are not able to respond to inquiries via phone.

Only those candidates considered for an interview will be contacted. ACDI/VOCA is an equal opportunity employer.

Women, minorities and people from diverse groups are encouraged to apply.


The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by persons assigned to this position. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of the personnel in this position. Employees may perform other related duties to meet the ongoing needs of the program from time to time.

Agriculture and Agribusiness, Community Development, Economics and Statistics, NGO and UN
Updated: August 14, 2018 — 3:27 pm