Organization: International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture
Country: United Arab Emirates
Closing date: 31 Mar 2016
Carry the Inception and Design Phase of the Arab Women Leadership Program that aims to develop a targeted and effective leadership program that addresses the challenges faced by young Arab Women Scientists in the MENA region.
The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), based in Dubai, is an international center undertaking applied research and development. Originally established in 1999 as a research and development institute focusing on the problems of salinity and using saline water for irrigated agriculture, ICBA was later expanded to provide innovative solutions for marginal environments. On the whole, ICBA’s work addresses the closely linked challenges of water, environment, income, and food security.
The Centers’ applied research for development aims to address the agricultural challenges in marginal environments including assessment of natural resources, climate change adaptation, crop productivity and diversification, aquaculture and bio-energy, and policy analysis. Currently, ICBA is working on a number of technology developments including the use of conventional and non-conventional water (such as saline, treated wastewater, industrial water, agricultural drainage, and seawater); water and land management technologies; as well as remote sensing and modeling for climate change adaptation. Building capacity and sharing knowledge is another important part of what ICBA does and the Center’s vision is to establish itself as a Global Center of Excellence for innovative agriculture in saline and marginal environments.
ICBA’s work reaches countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), South and South East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Many of those we serve are in the least developed areas in the world where enhancing agricultural practices and increasing productivity goes a long way in alleviating poverty and improving food security for the most marginal populations.
ICBA’s strategy 2013-2023 takes innovation as a core principle. Applied research is directed to innovative solutions to food, nutrient, and water security in marginal environments, applying new technologies including biotechnology, developing multiple uses for wastewater and seawater, becoming a pioneering knowledge hub, and extending its partnerships. In order to achieve the strategy objectives, ICBA has identified four key enabling innovations that will act as a vehicle for the center to achieve the desired results. These four vehicles include
Technology incubator and
Capacity building is central to ICBA’s activities and spans geographical domains, research areas and methods. ICBA’s vision is to become a Global Center of Excellence that strengthens, enhances and unlocks capacity in its mandate region and beyond. Improving generation and dissemination of knowledge is a strategic objective that the Center continuously strives for. To this end, ICBA embeds short and long-term training courses, workshops, field days, internships, and masters, doctoral and post-doctoral research in core programs and project activities. These courses target experts as well as technicians. In addition to that, ICBA targets farmers through Farmers’ Field Schools that target rural families (men and women). Despite these efforts and the combined efforts of various development partners, gender differences remain obvious in the staffing and conduct of agricultural research and development organizations where women continue to be underrepresented and underserved, and their contributions are not fully tapped. The case is even more critical in The Middle East and North African (MENA) region which has the lowest female labor force participation rates in the world (World Bank 2004). These glaring gender disparities in agricultural R&D are largely attributable to a range of multifaceted, though often subtle, workplace and societal challenges women routinely face, that cut across institutional, social, and cultural dimensions. Although it has been repeatedly demonstrated that in the fields of health, nutrition, and education explicitly addressing gender issues is one of the most effective, efficient, and empowering ways to boost development and reduce poverty, the challenges facing women often limit their involvement and in the field of national and international agricultural research. Some of the challenges these women face are societal challenges. Societal and cultural dimensions include the prevailing perception of a woman’s role as a mother and of the family as a woman’s domain and impose a double burden on women that severely constrains their advancement in research institutions (Brush et al. 1995; Beoku-Betts 2005).
On the other hand, female researchers are uniquely equipped to understand the challenges faced by women farmers and women in agricultural transformation, and to innovate to address those challenges. In a report by IFPRI (2011), a research finding clearly detailed that a gender balance in researchers, at the research and development stage, will help maintain gender equity goals in agriculture, and can spark duly aligned innovations from the insights of female farmers.
Consequently, there is a dire need in the MENA region for a program that aims to engage women scientists in research projects and provide opportunities for them to increasingly assume senior level roles in agricultural research and lead innovative research programs. This will translate into greater gender equity and boost overall development. There is already increased recognition in the region, that the greater inclusion of young women scientists in public research is vital to the dynamism and credibility of the agriculture sector. Additionally, there is a growing call by regional leaders to have more women scientists in the agriculture sector, with a specific emphasis on having a cadre of Arab women scientists provided with opportunities to be more effective within ARD institutions and technically competent to generate innovations needed by rural smallholders in marginal environments.
In support of this call, ICBA wants to design and develop a leadership program for Arab women scientists that aims to unlock the full potential of young women scientists. This proposed program will support and build specific capacities and leadership of the talent pool of Arab women scientists across the MENA Region, in order to enable them to:
i. Foster gender perspectives and/or gender specific contributions to agricultural research in the MENA region.
ii. Increase leadership roles for women scientists in agricultural research institutions throughout the MENA region.
iii. Increase North-South and South-South knowledge exchange and active peer/mentor networks for Arab Women scientists.
Purpose of the Consultancy
The purpose of this assignment is to design and develop a leadership program framework and modules for Arab women scientists that would promote both leadership and technical skills in the MENA region and in marginal areas, and to contact potential donors for sponsorship.
The consultant will preferably be a woman form the MENA region, who is familiar with the challenges that Arab women scientists face in their career and with Arab cultural environment and proficient in spoken Arabic.
Envisioned Tasks under this assignment include but are not limited to:
Review ICBA documents that are in line with the TOR e.g. ICBA strategy (2013-20123), ICBA capacity building offerings and the business plans.
Review internal document pertaining to the design of the program, specifically the Inception and Design Phase document of the Young Arab Women Scientists Leadership Program (YAWL). Meet with designated ICBA management team.
Review the available similar programs in the MENA region, Sub Saharan Africa, other parts of the world and in marginal areas targeting women scientists, e.g. the AWARD program.
Assess all available agriculture research fellowship programs for women in the MENA region and in marginal areas, and identify a niche for ICBA within this space. A specific source of information would be contacting the AARINENA group (22 research institutions across the NENA region).
Identify and coordinate the local consultants in targeted countries to make the necessary arrangements for carrying the focus groups with young Arab Women Scientists, facilitate the focus groups, carry interviews (face-to-face and skype) with key actors in each of the targeted countries, and draft the findings report that outlines the challenges young scientists face, the shortcomings in the current system, the capacity building and leadership needs, mapping these needs versus what other leadership programs (e.g. AWARD) offer, and recommendations for moving forward.
Carry out an assessment of prospective funders for this program and identify the top five both strategic and funding partners that ICBA will have to engage with for the successful implementation of the fellowship program, and approach them.
Design and develop a leadership program framework in close consultation with key ICBA staff. The program design should have recommendations and clear points of synergy with the current ICBA strategy and programs, with specific focus tied to the ICBA ongoing capacity building program.
Oversee the external experts to ensure the development of the program specific modules as per the needs assessment conducted at point (5). Develop an outline of the extended mentorship program as well and outline how both programs inter-relate.
Oversee the preparations of the pilot phase of the program, attend the program and solicit feedback from attendees on the modules and on an appropriate name for the program. Refine the program modules accordingly.
Present the program to potential donors as arranged by the OKM division at ICBA.
Develop a work plan for launching the Young Arab Women Scientists Leadership Program, together with corresponding needed Concept Note and Full Proposal.
Consultant inception report with detailed work plan;
Report highlighting the challenges and capacity building and leadership needs of young Arab women scientists;
Database of women agricultural scientists in the region;
Report on skills gaps in other programs;
Report on recommendations;
A framework for the design and development of the leadership program and road map for the implementation of this program;
A map of potential donors, and partners;
Specific training modules;
Outline of the long-term leadership mentorship program
A Concept Note and Full Proposal.
How to apply:
54 working days over a period of 4 to 5 months spanning from April 2016, till September 2016.
Proposal by Interested Consultants:
Interested Arab women consultants are asked to submit:
Detailed description of demonstrated previous experience* in similar areas, including modules and relevant material developed for similar programs;
Three references on work related to similar programs;
The financial offer to perform the services described above.
Interested consultants should submit their proposals by 5pm (U.A.E local time), by the 31 March 2016 at email address firstname.lastname@example.org .
Queries should also be addressed to Ms. Diletta Ciolina at email address: email@example.com .
*Experience will be measured on:
• Relevant understanding of the challenges that Arab women scientists face.
• Proven track record of working with Arab women.
• Experience in setting and developing leadership skills.
• Experience in the Middle East and North Africa Region.
• Experience in working for no-profit organization.