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Executive Secretary

Posted 5 years ago



The Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services or GFRAS ( is an international institution enhancing the performance of advisory services so that they can better serve farm families and rural producers, thus contributing to sustainable development and improved livelihoods worldwide.

Its mission is to provide advocacy and leadership on pluralistic and demand-driven rural advisory services for sustainable development (RAS). GFRAS plays a catalytic role, promoting and stimulating interactions between RAS policy stakeholders at global regional and national levels. This space allows regional actors to present their perspectives in global development forums and processes. It also supports the development, exchange, and diffusion of tried and tested RAS approaches, tools, and policies and stimulates institutional and individual capacity development.  GFRAS is currently engaged in a major reflection on a renewed business and governance model that will enhance its sustainability.

The GFRAS Secretariat, led by the Executive Secretary, is responsible for the implementation of the GFRAS strategy and work plans under the guidance of the Steering Committee. The Swiss Association for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas (AGRIDEA) hosts the GFRAS Secretariat.

AGRIDEA on behalf of GFRAS is recruiting an Executive Secretary to lead and further expand its activities, starting early 2019.

This position will be based at the GFRAS Secretariat, in Switzerland. The Executive Secretary is a long term position.


Executive Secretary

The incumbent will have a major role in implementing the decisions that will stem from the October 2018 Steering Committee meeting in this regard. He/she will also have to oversee and support the jump start and implementation of a forthcoming multi-donor grant to GFRAS and three of its major regional networks in close coordination with the programme coordinator. GFRAS is guided by a Steering Committee with members drawn from the regional networks and international development agencies.

In close collaboration with the GFRAS Secretariat team, the regional networks, and working groups, as well as the GFRAS Steering Committee, the Executive Secretary is responsible for the following broad tasks.


Key Responsibilities

Policy, Advocacy, and Global Engagement

  • Provide leadership and advocacy for political and financial engagement and dialogue on rural advisory services
  • Represent GFRAS in different fora, seminars, and conferences
  • Provide meaningful and evidence-based inputs to global agriculture and development discourses
  • Elaborate, strengthen and maintain relevant strategic partnerships (with funding and technical partners)
  • Support the Steering Committee in its efforts to mobilize resources for sustaining and expanding GFRAS activities, its regional networks and country fora, and a functioning Secretariat

Technical Advice

  • Support the synthesis and development of ideas for improving the effectiveness of RAS
  • Provide technical and policy advice to GFRAS regional networks, country fora, and working groups
  • Provide technical advice and inputs to activities, publications, and programmes of GFRAS

Managing GFRAS Secretariat and the team in close collaboration with the programme manager

  • Lead the implementation of the GFRAS strategic framework and operational plan and support the Secretariat team in the implementation
  • Coordinate the development of strategies, annual budgets, and work plans for validation by the Steering
  • Committee through close collaboration with the Programme Manager and drawing upon the experience and guidance of the Steering Committee, the Secretariat team and the regional networks and working groups,
  • Provide support to, coordinate, and act upon strategic guidance of the Steering Committee
  • Manage staff at the Secretariat as well as overseeing the management of consultants commissioned by the Secretariat team for specific activities
  • Assure final responsibility for financial and administrative management; reporting to donors and the Steering Committee
  • Coordinate and ensure monitoring of GFRAS activities on global, regional, national levels and in working groups


Candidate Profile

The Executive Secretary will report to both the GFRAS Steering Committee and AGRIDEA. Candidates will be assessed against the following minimum requirements:

  • Advanced university degree preferably in agricultural or social sciences
  • Demonstrated technical understanding of and practical experiences in RAS and its role in agricultural innovation and sustainable development
  • Ten years of relevant experience in managing networks or multidisciplinary teams in participatory and inclusive ways
  • Demonstrated motivation and passion for GFRAS vision, mission, and principles
  • Ability to advocate, inspire, and convince other people
  • Critical, innovative and solution-oriented thinking
  • High flexibility and adaptability
  • Excellent cross-cultural skills
  • Work experience in more than one region of the world
  • Experience in partnership development and financial resource mobilization
  • Proficiency in modern communication and management software
  • Excellent written and oral communication in English. Knowledge of other languages such as French, Spanish, Russian or German would be desirable
  • Working permit for Switzerland, or the possibility of obtaining a working permit
  • Flexibility and capacity to travel worldwide (up to 30% of working time)


We expect a highly motivated person with an open and generous personality. The function needs a charismatic, authentic person that naturally engages, empowers and motivates others. Firm management competencies, skills in capacity development, network development and management as well as sound thematic expertise on RAS are required.

The employment contract will be elaborated by AGRIDEA on behalf of GFRAS Steering Committee. Swiss rules and regulations apply to the contracting, as well as internal AGRIDEA rules and standards. The remuneration will be commensurate to the competencies of the position holder.


Applicants should send an up-to-date CV and a one-page letter of motivation including copies of the highest diploma/degree, training certificates related to the position, names and email addresses of 3 professional referees to Ms. Auree de Carbon by email at  no later than February 8, 2019, at 17:00 CET. Please indicate in the subject of the email the title “Application for the post of GFRAS_ Executive Secretary”.


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.

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