Senior Manager – Sustainable Agriculture Practice

Better Cotton Initiative

London (or Geneva)
£60,000 - £65,000 pa

Paid • Full Time • Permanent

Sectors: sustainability

Closing date: Sunday, 29th December 2019  

Starting date: as soon as possible
Salary: £60,000 to £65,000
Contract: Permanent
Location: London, United Kingdom
Application Closing date: Midnight 29 Dec 2019 GMT

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future. The Better Cotton Standard System is a pragmatic, innovative, highly credible and constantly evolving system following a continuous improvement approach designed for scale and impact. There are over 3 million licensed BCI Farmers and over 1,500 BCI Members from across the cotton sector working together to promote measurable and continuing improvements for the environment, farming communities and the economies of cotton-producing areas.

BCI seeks to deepen the impact of farm level programming around the world and is seeking an experienced senior manager to ensure measurable improvements in farming practices working through country teams and implementing partners. The role is responsible for quality delivery of BCI capacity building programmes with accountability for continuous improvement outcomes.This position cements the role of continuous improvement at the heart of BCI field operations and centres on equipping and holding to account the designated partners and BCI country teams who drive the implementation of farm level training programmes.


Reporting to: BCI Director of Implementation

Posts this job manages:

Line management:

  • Global training manager and implementation programme coordinators (5 staff members)

Matrix management:

  • BCI in-country team leads for capacity building in India, China, Pakistan & Central Asia, Mozambique, Mali, South Africa, USA Turkey (12 staff members)
  • Capacity building workstreams for BCI staff who lead current partnerships with Cotton made in Africa, Abrapa, Cotton Australia, Israel Cotton Board and developing partners in start up countries (2 staff members)
  • Field Performance Group (3 staff members)


Responsible for global design and accountable for quality delivery of an effective capacity building strategy that is affordable to BCI and adds value to farmers.

Programme Design

  • Design and develop BCI’s farmer capacity building strategy for transforming farming practices among BCI’s 3+ million participating farmers around the world
  • Build on the existing BCI structure and in line with 2030 targets (currently under development with a focus on deepening the ambition of the current 2015-2020 strategic phase):
    • Developing a consistent approach to capacity building for field programming
    • Enhance the use of IT tools and initatives, for capacity building development, processes and outreach
    • Examine BCI’s cascade model, i.e. determining how much BCI expect IPs to build sustainability expertise in-house, vs how much BCI develops these directly
  • Work closely with the Standards and Assurance team, to incorporate design into ongoing processes and tools to foster improvements year on year
  • Test and roll out the approach with BCI country teams
  • Working with BCI Senior Monitoring & Evaluation manager, to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework for capacity building approaches, including metrics to measure progress and adoption rates by farmers and reviewing lessons learned to refine the approach for implementation year on year

Programme management

  • Responsible for ensuring the development of and overseeing the implementation of in-country capacity building strategies
  • Manage global team support to country level capacity building strategy development and implementation
  • Matrix manage field based capacity building staff and line manage global training manager, coordinators, and external consultants
  • Directly support training and capacity building of BCI’s Implementing Partners (IPs), with a view to identifying gaps and opportunity areas for improvement.
  • Support high-quality programme implementation through the BCI GIF and annual funded programme cycle of partner capacity building and support
  • Ensure country level assurance activities to reinforce continuous improvement outcomes
  • Working with HR and Country Managers to ensure BCI staff has knowledge and skills needed to deliver the continuous improvement process and work with associated tools
  • Partnership Management
  • Oversee the development of tools (including IT solutions) and processes to monitor and improve the capacity building performance of BCI Implementing Partners
  • Restructure and strengthen BCI capacity building work with benchmark standard partners in line with the global strategy for capacity building
  • Ensure that key processes within BCI include adequate focus on capacity building and continuous improvement
  • Build global alliances and partnerships with expert and civil society organisations to bring best practice approaches on capacity building and critical sustainability topics into the programme
  • Assist to seek and secure external funding for capacity building initatives and farmer outreach to ensure scale of capacity building activities as well as impact

Knowledge management

  • Oversight of the strengthening of BCI’s role as a platform for knowledge exchange and creation of tools
  • Identify and build rapport and strong relationship with external organisations and knowledge experts
  • Ensure quality and alignment of training delivery and materials with programme design
  • Oversight of knowledge platform for regional/national solutions to hotspot challenges
  • Provide guidance on forums for best practices sharing
  • Participate in external research and evaluation on BCI as needed and contribute to the ongoing definition of BCI’s research agenda.
  • Report to the Leadership Team about progress and communicate successes and learnings to the wider BCI teams


  • Accountable for the project workstreams of the Field Performance Group, working closely with Implementation and Standards & Assurance management to ensure coordinated programme delivery.
  • Provide input into the development of assurance procedures and updates to the BCI Principles and Criteria
  • Semi-frequent travel to programme countries and Geneva office (25% of role)


Successful, Senior Programme Manager candidates will have the following qualifications:


  • Graduate degree in a relevant field: international development, land economy, agroforestry, agronomy, development economics, etc. or undergraduate degree plus equivalent experience
  • 5+ years experience in line/people management
  • 5+ years experience working in multi-cultural environments, including different working styles and approaches to relationships
  • 7+ years experience designing capacity building programmes for global and/or grassroots organisations
  • Experience implementing field projects and working with farmer training programmes or government extension services in developing countries or equivalent
  • Proven ability to manage impactful programmes and projects in diverse environments and partnerships
  • Comfortable and effective in motivating others to deliver
  • Excellent at remote team leadership
  • Taking a pragmatic approach – willing to change course in order to get things done
  • Understand use of monitoring & evaluation approaches for improving programme design
  • Proven ability to collaborate effectively across different teams and cultures, strong relationship building skills and service-oriented attitude
  • Experience leading or coordinating collaborative programmes involving multiple partners
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills with a proactive approach to finding and proposing solutions to challenges within clearly defined boundaries
  • Excellent communication and negotiation skills
  • Ability to represent the organisation in diverse contexts
  • A genuine interest in sustainable development or agriculture and in working to change the lives of farmers globally
  • Positive and curious, not afraid of complexity and fast moving environments


  • Knowledge of sustainability standard systems
  • Experience with using IT and big data in program design
  • Experience of working in both for- and non- profit organisations
  • Technical knowledge of the commodity / agricultural systems in developing countries
  • Expertise in farmer training programming
  • Experience of working within the cotton sector
  • Some knowledge of BCI country languages

Working arrangements

The position is full time (40 hours a week) and will be based in our office in London (possibility to recruit for Geneva office for exceptional candidate).

BCI offers flexible scheduling, with core hours being 10am – 4pm.


Interested applicants should email a CV (2 pages maximum) and a motivational letter (1 page maximum), in English, to: by 29 December 2019.

We thank all applicants for their interest. Please note that due to the large volume of applications we receive, only candidates shortlisted will be contacted. Shortlisted candidates will be required to complete an online critical thinking skills test on a rolling basis with the first round of interviews scheduled December 4-8, 2019.

BCI is currently unable to provide sponsorship for work permits, and candidates need to have a pre-existing right to work in the location where they will be based.

BCI is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to good practice and transparency in the management of natural, human and financial resources.

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