Senior Program Officer, Production & Markets, Livestock Job

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Senior Program Officer, Production & Markets, Livestock Job
Seattle, WA, US

Foundation Overview  

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people-especially those with the fewest resources-have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.


Group Summary

The goal of the Global Development Program (GDP) is to increase opportunities for people in the developing world to lift themselves out of hunger and poverty and to help deliver targeted healthcare solutions in these regions. Our strategies focus on Agriculture Development, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; Financial Services for the Poor and Family Health which includes Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Family Planning and Nutrition. These strategies are supported by functional teams that focus on Vaccine Delivery and Integrated Delivery. GDP also has Special Initiatives that focus on Urban Poverty, Emergency Relief, Global Libraries and Value for the Money.

Within GDP, the Agricultural Development team focuses on sustainable productivity growth for smallholder farmers to achieve the impact that we seek: poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Productivity growth for smallholders depends upon improved seeds, livestock and other technologies, incentives to adopt these improvements through functioning input and output markets, and an improved policy environment. We currently define our goals by commodity, with a focus on delivering tangible productivity gains for a priority set of crops and livestock products within a handful of target geographies. In developing and executing on their strategies, our commodity portfolio managers rely on functional and context expertise from three groups: Research & Development, Farmer Services & Systems, and Country & Policy.



The Senior Program Officer (SPO), Production and Markets for Livestock, ensures solutions they develop are adopted by farmers and benefits derived thru our intervention converge into sustainable results and impact. As we endeavor to reduce production losses through livestock health efforts and increase productivity through genetics interventions, the livestock team ensures the productivity is further optimized by uptake of appropriate inputs and markets are created or enabled to increase income-generating opportunities. The SPO will develop and manage grants related to increasing access and strengthening markets for smallholder livestock producers in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Livestock is a key part of the overall farming system in developing countries and is critical to the livelihoods of more than 900 million poor livestock keepers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.


Other responsibilities include:

  • In collaboration with the Agriculture Development team and other relevant foundation wide teams (e.g. Integrated Delivery, Financial Services for the Poor, Nutrition) develop, manage and implement project strategies, and negotiate, execute and manage complex, performance-based contracts/grants that span the end-to-end value chain.
  • Identify and prioritize investment opportunities in the livestock value chain as well as partner with functions to develop relevant investments. Enable these interactions within the team.
  • Review letters of inquiry and grant proposals; provide clear, concise and insightful written analyses and recommendations for funding including drafting and editing proposal summaries and progress reports for existing grants for review by foundation leadership.
  • Consult with grantees and other partners to maximize impact of projects and ensure optimal learning. This may include: site visits, providing operational guidance, and convening meetings of key stakeholders.
  • Manage internal processes and portfolio progress while ensuring appropriate documentation, grant budgeting and reporting.
  • Plan and budget for strategic priorities in support of value chain goals. Contribute to the design of new strategies, collaborations and implementation plans to ensure long-term sustainability and impact.
  • This role is responsible for high quality interactions and clear and consistent communications with grantees and partners in the field.
  • Assess constraints and opportunities that impact the value chains.
  • Proactively identify opportunities and needs from Gender, Nutrition and Environment and ensure integration and collaboration.
  • Serve as point of contact on portfolio-related issues for key stakeholders. Represent the foundation with broad range of stakeholders (may include: public and private entities, grantee organizations, other funders, universities, think tanks, government agencies). May serve on external boards and working groups.
  • This role may manage people and is responsible for hiring the talent needed to achieve our goals, ensuring successful employee onboarding, communicating performance expectations, creating goal alignment, integrating project and change management, giving and seeking feedback, providing coaching, measuring progress and holding people accountable, supporting employee development, and recognizing achievement and lessons learned.



  • Understanding of livestock value chains in developing countries (ie. India, Brazil, etc.) and experience with smallholder input delivery and sourcing models.
  • Master’s/MBA with six to ten years of experience in roles requiring excellent consultative and negotiation skills and responsibility for managing programs and staff.
  • Demonstrated track record of success driving for sustainable solutions within the livestock value chain.
  • Knowledge and experience in down-stream genetics interventions (e.g. Artificial Insemination, germplasm distribution etc.) would be desirable. Knowledge and experience in one or more of the livestock value chains (Poultry, Small Ruminants or Dairy) would be advantageous.
  • Experience leading or mentoring people and programs or initiatives in the livestock sector. Experience recruiting and managing partners, consultants, employees and/or collaborative programs is desired; Desire to work with as a collaborative partner with a high impact team.
  • Strong analytical skills requiring the development and execution of creative business strategies combined with a sound understanding of business planning and budgeting methodologies and tools.
  • Experience developing and managing performance-based contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements.
  • Demonstrated excellent research skills and a history of success in roles requiring logical, systematic thinking while managing multiple priorities in a highly dynamic environment.
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills, in positions requiring culturally sensitive communication with a broad and diverse audience; including a demonstrated ability and maturity in collaborating with political and government officials.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with flexibility, efficiency, and diplomacy both individually and as part of a complex team effort. Healthy sense of humor preferred. Possess highest integrity.
  • Ability to travel approximately 30% as needs dictate.

To apply, please visit:

Requisition Number     4643BR