Scholarship Program Coordinator

  The Grain Research and Innovation (GRAIN)
Bachelor's Degree   Kabul, Afghanistan Full Time 2040
Date Posted:May 11, 2019
Closing Date:May 25, 2019
Work Type:Full Time
Number of Vacancies:1
Functional Area:Public Relations
Salary Range:NTA, Grade D
Years of Experience:5 Years
Contract Duration:Not specified
Extension Possibility:Yes
Contract Type:Long-term
Probation Period:3 months
Required Languages:Dari,Pashto,English

About The Grain Research and Innovation (GRAIN):


The Grain Research and Innovation (GRAIN) project is a five-year Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock initiative aimed at bolstering Afghanistan’s wheat sector. Primary goals include building effective in-country agricultural research capacity to provide wheat producers with the knowledge, inputs and technologies needed to increase yields, reduce postharvest losses, enhance grain nutritional and milling quality, reduce susceptibility to disease, drought and pests, minimize financial risks, and manage and sustain limited natural resources. GRAIN will focus upon building the capacity of Afghan scientific researchers to conduct and manage research on wheat and cereals, setting the stage for development of an in-country wheat research system that responds to the needs of farmers and the private sector. GRAIN works through the Ministry and Directorates of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL/DAIL), and the Agricultural Research Institute of Afghanistan (ARIA). GRAIN is funded by USAID and implemented by the Michigan State University’s (MSU) Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI), which addresses critical pressures on the world's food supply by creating, testing and enabling the scaling of solutions. 

GRAIN Graduate Degree Scholarship Program Description The overall objective of the GRAIN Scholars Program is to support Afghan students to obtain MS and PhD degrees that allow them to return to Afghanistan and fortify the institutional capacity at MAIL, ARIA or their home institution. In meeting this objective, it will also be critically important that students conduct high-quality research and generate associated research outputs (presentations, posters, articles, extension materials etc.) that are in alignment with the goals of MAIL’s wheat sector development plan. In this program year (PY2), implementation of the GRAIN Graduate Degree Scholarship Program will emphasize 1) continued support for the MSc Scholars who began studies at Haryana Agricultural University (HAU) in the first year, 2) Placement of the remaining cohort 1 Scholars into MSc and PhD programs, and 3) recruitment and support to the second and final cohort of MSc Scholars. 

Job Summary:

The Scholarship Coordinator will serve as the first point of contact for Scholars studying at Kabul University (KU) and support project leadership in monitoring student progress and responding to student inquiries. At times, the Coordinator will be called upon to support the Scholars program at HAU and PAU through planning and support of training programs, coordination with MAIL and ARIA partners, and mobilizing Home Country Advisors (HCA). This will require close collaboration with the GRAIN Home Office at Michigan State University as well as with GRAIN/Kabul Operations teams as activities are cross-cutting. 

Duties & Responsibilities:

Serve as first Point of Contact for KU-based Scholars and KU partners during implementation of the MSc Scholars cohort at KU. Based on USAID, MSU, and GRAIN policies as set forth in the Scholars Compact and MSU’s agreement with KU, respond to questions from students and defer inquiries to GRAIN HQ or Home Office if needed. • Organize and facilitate pre-program orientation for Scholars prior to program start for all Scholars (India and KU-based). This orientation is meant to familiarize Scholars with MSU, USAID, and host university requirements, GRAIN Scholarship benefits, and expectations of all parties. Additionally, Coordinator will ensure all required paperwork is collected from Cohort 2 Scholars prior to mobilization or program start. • Provide logistical support for students at Indian Universities: In close communication with GRIAN Program Manager (PM) and GRAIN Operations Office in Kabul, who is based at MSU, track logistical support to KU Scholars which may include payment of monthly stipends, issuing of laptop and books, and travel as required. • Monitor and report on student progress: The Coordinator should devise a basic monitoring plan that is aligned with ADS 253 and TraiNet as well as GRAIN’s Monitoring Evaluation and Learning Plan. The Coordinator will provide GRAIN COP, MSU and MAIL progress updates over the student’s academic performance and research progress. The monitoring plan must include, but not be limited to the following items: • Student contact information and address (changes in address should be promptly reported to GRAIN/MSU) • Enrolled coursework (indicating full-time enrollment) • Attendance • Semester grades • Research plan/budget submission • Progress towards research objectives • Progress towards development of materials from research (articles, extension materials, posters, presentations etc.) • Performance or disciplinary issues • Non-Specific personal or health problems that may impair the successful completion of the program • Emergency contacts The purpose of this type of monitoring and reporting is to enable MSU/GRAIN to identify issues early and rectify them in order to ensure degree completion of all students. Coordinator will submit monthly reports to GRAIN COP, PI, and PM. Similarly, the Coordinator will prepare quarterly updates for GRAIN’s USAID, MAIL, and ARIA partners. • Remedial Support: Coordinator will arrange remedial academic and research support for Scholars if the need is identified and costs approved by GRAIN COP. This remedial support may include: placement as interns or Research Assistants within GRAIN or ARIA to develop job experience, support for English language courses or other supplemental courses, and pairing with GRAIN scientists or international advisors to aid with research planning. • Support for Scholars Research Planning and Budgeting: Scholars’ research plans must be relevant to the needs of the wheat sector in Afghanistan and aligned with the objectives of the Afghanistan Wheat Sector Development Program. While research planning should be led by Kabul University’s Agronomy Department with the Scholars, the Coordinator will assist students as needed in the budgeting process and will submit all draft research plans and budgets to MSU for review, feedback, and approval. MSU will coordinate subsequent review, input, and approval by GRAIN’s MAIL and ARIA partners. As research commences, the Coordinator will serve as the liaison between students and GRAIN Operations and/or GRAIN Home Office to coordinate financial support. • Upon guidance from GRAIN Home Office, support the selection and mobilization of Home Country Advisors for the India-Based Scholars: Afghanistan-based advisors, or HCA, are meant to be co-advisors who can provide perspective on research in Afghanistan. Selection of HCA is managed by the GRAIN PI and MAIL leadership. However, the Coordinator may be asked to help coordinate communication between the HCAs and students, to support travel planning for HCA visits to India, or other supporting roles. • Contribute to strategic planning as well as monthly, quarterly, annual reports, work plans, and success stories. • Other duties as determined by the Director of Capacity Building or COP

Job Requirement:

• A completed Bachelor’s degree in an agricultural science or closely related field, (Master’s Degree in relevant fields strongly preferred),

• 5+ years of relevant work experience, particularly in designing and implementing training programs, coordinating or leading university-level programs, and/or in supporting capacity building efforts.

To perform this job successfully, the candidate must be able to perform each essential duty/task listed above satisfactorily. Qualifications listed below are representative of the knowledge, skillset, and/or abilities required:

• Prior work experience directly with MAIL or agricultural universities, or alternatively, experience collaborating closely with these entities is preferred,

• Willingness to undertake occasional regional travel within Afghanistan and/or to India required.

• Fluency in English and Dari (Pashto skills also preferred),

• Must be available to begin fulltime employment with GRAIN no later than 25 June 2019,

• Excellent organizational, coordination, and management skills required, and

• Adept use of multiple professional computer applications. Reporting The Scholarship Coordinator will report directly to the Director for Partnerships and Grants. In the absence of the Director, the Program Manager will report directly to the GRAIN COP. 

Job Location:

Afghanistan, Kabul
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