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Project Officer – VSLA and Financial Inclusion – International Rescue Committee – IRC

Category:  Business and Administration, Economics, Management
Location:  Gambela
Career Level:  Mid Level ( 2+ – 5 years experience)
Employment Type:  Full time

Job Description


The International Rescue Committee, one of the world’s largest humanitarian international NGOs, provides relief, rehabilitation and development support to vulnerable people and communities over 30 countries. We began work in Ethiopia in 2000 in response to severe drought in Ethiopia’s Somali region and are currently providing assistance to Ethiopians and refugees in six regions in Ethiopia, implementing emergency and development programs in health, water and sanitation, economic recovery and development (ERD), women’s protection and empowerment, education, child protection, and multi-sectoral emergency response.

Job Overview/Summary:

IRC has developed livelihood program to enhance the resilience of South Sudanese refugee and their hosting community in Gambella region. It implements a range of livelihood strategy and interventions such as business and life skill trainings, vocational skill training, off farm, income generation, market system development in Kule and Tierkidi refugee camps and surrounding woredas and Gambella town for improving the lives of target vulnerable and poor youth (both refugee and host community) over the period. It aims to improve and develop marketable skills and capacities of youth to access and engage in decent work opportunities. In addition, it also intended to ensure the financial inclusion of youth and increase their access to relevant financial services. This helps to flourish business and relevant skills, access to decent employment opportunities, financial access and improved wellbeing for young refugee, host communities and IDPs.

The position holder will fully engage in and responsible for the day-to-day planning, implementing, and managing of financial access related activities. Job holder is fully responsible to organize vulnerable youth (refugees, host community and IDPs) and establish VSLA/VESA groups and ensure the proper and effective function and operation as per IRC standard quality. In addition, realize the financial inclusion of vulnerable groups that create access to the financial services through regular technical guidance and supervision support.

Responsibilities: –

·         Undertake community vulnerability assessment and process in target communities to define community gaps and provide basis for planning.

·         Lead the identification and selection of the project client jointly with the communities and local leaders/authority using set of criteria.

·         Facilitate planning, organizing, and management of village savings and loan associations (VSLAs)/ Village Economic and Social Association (VESAs), and promote and aware VSLA/VESA strategy among communities and local leaders.

·         Train IRC front-line staff and the clients on VSLA/VESA principles, procedures and actions, financial literacy and recording, and related topics.

·         Develop work plans (Weekly, Monthly and Quarterly) to ensure effective implementation of VSLA/VESA related activities as outlined in the detailed implementation plan.

·         Identify and/or form and mobilize local structures such as VSLA/VESA groups, financial institutions and marketing groups in the villages and district.

·         Conduct assessment on financial service providers, and challenges in reaching vulnerable groups.

·         Link the VSLA/VESAs groups to Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) and Micro Financial Institutions (MFI) services for further financial access.

·         Ensure all VESAs/VESAs are properly use and administer Jamiipay and other applications through train members and provide technical supervision assistance.

·         Regularly monitor and follow up and provide technical support to VLSAs/VESAs members and ensure quality practice and function per standard.

·         Facilitate the identification of village level VSLA agents to enhance community awareness and ownership/sustainability of VSLA approach.


Key technical tasks and areas of Accountability.

·         Participate and give technical inputs on VESA and financial inclusion in the design and preparation of new livelihood proposal,

·         Prepare and put in place program detail implementation workplan and ensure the respective team members are aware and understand well and properly implement.

·         Ensure physical target achievements are as agreed; and review regularly the progress and maintain regular update of the workplan and track outputs.

·         Lead and handle as well as technically responsible in undertaking livelihood diversification, financial inclusion interventions of the project.

·         Identify technical capacity and challenges for the project clients and village agent’s face and skills /knowledge they have in VSLA/VESA, Business development skills, etc.

·         Facilitate and ensure establishment of VSLA/VESA groups, the target communities.

·         Oversee and regularly monitor as well as provide technical support when the VSLA/VESA groups are conducting the share purchase, social contributions and borrowing and repayment of loans to ensure proper recording and documentation of VSLA field cash box.

·         Train the clients and village agent’s and enhance their skills on basic VSLA/VESA Principles, methodology, implementation phases and timeline, and RUSACCOs, Cooperatives, and marketing.

·         Facilitate trainings for VSLA/VESA members on life skills such as on basic literacy and numeracy skills, household financial affairs, risk management and planning etc.

·         Train economic development groups/associations/committees on governance, leadership, and VSLA/VESA.

·         Ensure project implementation is on time, target and budget as describe in the grant, and take required action to ensure timely implementation of activities wherever necessary.

·         Ensuring technical quality and standards are considered and respected during implementation.

·         Ensure the full participation and engagement of key partners (ARRA, donor, Government offices, the community, and target clients) in all stages of program management cycle.

·         Ensure partners are familiar with the program purpose, interventions and expected outcome and requirements to improve the livelihood of target clients.

·         Ensure all due dates anticipated and are met without delay per the grant contracts,

·         Supervise that all activities are important to community needs; and gender issues promote the full and equal participation of women in all aspects and make sure that the program is an opportunity for peace making, not community division.

·         Provide regular coach, supervise, and mentor the village agents for effective facilitation and support of VSLA /VESA, Cooperatives and Income generating activities.

·         Strengthen the capacity of partners i.e., expertise’s and staff of relevant local government offices on VSLA/VESA and VST.

·         Facilitate and organize exposure or exchange visits and any other events for the VSLA/VESA clients and leaders to develop learning and experience sharing.

·         Ensure timely procurement of and delivery of right quality and quantity of VSLA/VESA kits/tools required by the clients/groups and ensure these are used appropriately.

·         Train and guide the VESAs/VESAs leaders and members on Jamiipay and other applications and ensure properly use and administer the applications through provide technical supervision assistance.

·         Ensure sorting out any misunderstanding that may arise with in VSLA/VESA group members to ensure smooth running and prevent drop out.

·         Identify high-capacity vocational skills training center for the youth to learn different skills as per market demand/market survey results in order to equip with required skills for self-employment.

·         Ensure linkage and integration economic development activities with Agro-processing and recovery project.

·         Ensure VSLAs/VESAs social funds is available to those members who face acute stress to act as emergency resource and ensure timely availability of project matching funds.

·         Making sure balanced gender (Men, Women and Youth) in the representation and participation of the project.

·         Collaborate with the Program Manager for all decisions related to VSLAs/VESAs and pre urban livelihoods and carry out any other duties as may be assigned by the Line supervisor.

·         Work closely in teamwork with livelihoods and integrated protection team as well as other program teams such as cash for work, agriculture, and Logistics, finance, and Health etc.


·         Reports to the Senior Livelihood Programme Manager

·         Supervises livelihood assistant and the team members.

Monitoring, Evaluation, Documentation and Reporting.

·         Conduct regular follow-up and provide support to VSLAs/VESAs and VST graduates to see if they are applying the technologies and practices and provide technical assistance where there are gaps.

·         Track progress of the savings groups, VSLAs/VESAs activities to see if targets set in the annual work plan are achieved.

·         Facilitate data collection from savings groups and handle and supervise the information flow to information management officer and Program Manager.

·         Support the preparation of monitoring plans for the VSLA/VESA groups and ensure they get involved in own monitoring and evaluation of VSLAs/ VESAs, IGAs etc activities.

·         Monitoring and supervision of Village Agents plan and its implementation as well as performance at the respective villages.

·         Consolidate/compile monthly, quarterly, and annual activity reports and special events showing achievements, lessons, constraints, and recommendations and submit to supervisor on agreed time

·         Assisting IGA entrepreneurs to assess their local economy and find markets for their products and services.

·         Carry out quarterly/annual review meetings to assess performance of activities against set targets at the community and program level.

·         Conduct assessment using FGDs, KIIs, etc tools and collect and document the impact and benefits of the action on the clients lives and write success stories.

·         Participate in field level assessment and or evaluation of project performance/evaluations.

·         Arrange and facilitate program visits for IRC staff, partners, and donors


·         Represent IRC in the field meeting relevant to VSLA/VESAs, meetings with local authority, INGOs, Local NGOs and other players in the operation areas.

·         Establish relationships and coordinate with partners (local leaders, relevant local/ district/ region authority /departments, ARRA/UNHCR, microfinance institutions, etc.),

·         Participate in field level coordination meeting with self- administration and other agencies.


·         Honest, encourages willingness and clarity; demonstrates the highest levels of integrity.

Equal Opportunities:

·         The role holder is required to carry out the duties in accordance with the IRC Equal Opportunities and Diversity policies and procedures.


·         Working for the best of your ability and demonstrate high levels of dedication to IRC and our vision, mission, and values to ensure the objectives of your role and the country programs are met.

·         Ensure the effective and efficient use of all IRC resources in order to keep costs low and ensure safety in the workplace.

Job Requirements

Job Requirement

·         BA/BSc degree in Cooperative and marketing development, Rural development, International Development, Economics, Business Administration, Agricultural Economics, Sociology, Social Science, and/or related relevant field of studies.

Minimum Experience Required:

·         Two years of confirmed experience with the first degree.

·         Substantive knowledge and practical experience of VSLA/VESA, RUSACCO, Marketing Cooperative, Youth Employment, and resilience programs and in refugee context is a plus.

·         Proven records of effective in planning, organizing, implementing and monitoring/oversight of financial inclusive project, VSLA/VESA, rural micro-finance, SACCOs, business development.

·         Validated experience of integrating gender, protection, and diversity into emergency response programs.

·         NGO experience is a plus.

Skills Required

·         Validated technical and professional skills in VSLA/VESA, RUSACCO, Marketing Cooperative, Youth Employment,

·         Relevant and effective communication and mobilization skills to work with the local and refugee community, and local Government and other partners

·         Project planning and implementation experience

·         proposal and report writing skills

·         Excellent representational skills

·         Proficient spoken and written English.

·         Effective communication internally and externally towards government and NGOs, donors, etc.


·         Experience of working in various settings including refugees and IDPs

·         Builds and maintains effective relationships, with colleagues, IRC Members, and external partners

·         Values diversity, acknowledges it as a source of driven strength

·         Good listener and easy to talk

How to Apply

Candidates meeting the above qualifications are encouraged to apply only through the below IRC Online recruitment website:






Please include 3 references from current and former employers.

Applications will not be returned. IRC discourages phone calls or personal visits.

Only applicants meeting the minimum qualification will be short-listed and contacted.

IRC is an equal employment opportunity employer.  IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability.

Female candidates are highly encouraged to apply.

Your application letter/cover letter must include the following information.

  • Name of the position you have applied for
  • Date of application
  • Summary of  your qualifications and experience
  • Motivation/objective of why you have applied for the job
  • Permanent Address and present address (if different from permanent) and telephone number if possible also email address
  • Disclose any family relationships with existing IRC employees.

IRC is an equal employment opportunity employer.  IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability.

Professional Standards: The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity Anti-Retaliation and Combating Trafficking in Persons

Gender Equality: IRC is committed to narrowing the gender gap in leadership positions. We offer benefits that provide an enabling environment for women to participate in our workforce including parental leave, gender-sensitive security protocols, and other supportive benefits and allowances

Equal Opportunity Employer: IRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, disability or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.


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