CRS (Catholic Relief Services)

Fellowship Number: 
Field Location: 
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Policy Location: 
Baltimore, Maryland
General Scope of Work: 
Agricultural livelihoods
Description of Organization: 

Catholic Relief Services, founded in 1943, is an international development agency that carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. We are motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to cherish, preserve and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life, foster charity and justice, and embody Catholic social and moral teaching as we act to:

  • Promote human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty, and nurturing peaceful and just societies; and,
  • Serve Catholics in the United States as they live their faith in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around the world.

As part of the universal mission of the Catholic Church, we work with local, national and international Catholic institutions and structures, as well as other organizations, to assist people on the basis of need, not creed, race or nationality.

Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, Catholic Relief Services provides humanitarian relief and development assistance to the poor and marginalized in over 100 countries and territories around the world. Overseas, we work through CRS offices located in the regions of Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America and the Caribbean.

CRS also works through regional offices within the United States to support Catholic individuals, parishes and dioceses as the strive to live their faith in solidarity with the poor and make decisions as consumers, voters and advocates to promote more just and peaceful societies.

As the official international relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, we have a special role to play in helping those in need overseas. We work with the local church and partners to create a world in which people stand in solidarity. By working together with our partners, we can bring about real changes to systems and practices that contribute to injustice, hunger and war around the world.

Project Description: 

Strengthening and Accessing Livelihood Opportunities for Household Impact or SALOHI is a CRS-Madagascar program that runs from June 2009 – June 2014. SALOHI seeks to reduce food insecurity and vulnerability in 21 districts in eastern and southern Madagascar by 2014 by focusing on the health and nutritional status of children under 5, improving livelihood opportunities for food insecure households, and increasing community resiliency to food security shocks. SALOHI works in the Régions d’Analanjirofo, d’Atsinanana, d’Amorin’ny Mania, de Haute Matsiatra, de Vatovavy Fitovinany, d’Atsimo Atsinanana, d’Anosy et d’Androy and works in consortium with ADRA, CARE and LAND’O LAKES. It also works with local partners.

Field Placement: 

The fellow will assist in the management and expansion of the Livelihoods Unit across various CRS/MG projects, improve the integration of various programming within projects, and document best practices and lessons learned from new CRS/MG initiatives.  The fellow will be actively involved with several components of the large food security project in CRS/MG.  Given the integrated programming nature of the project, it is foreseen that the fellow will be spending approximately 60% of his time with the Livelihoods unit and 40% with the Health/Nutrition unit.  The fellow will be contributing his/her expertise primarily through operational research, process management, engaging in partnership meetings, and editorial assistance with reports and proposals.  The fellow’s specific responsibilities will include the following:

  • Support the Livelihoods Unit Head in managing CRS Agriculture/Agro-business projects.
  • Contribute to the facilitation of learning, training and support to project partners.
  • Support the Livelihoods Unit Head in strengthening the capacity of partners’ staff in Farmer Field School (FFS) approach, agro-business in CRS agriculture related projects.
  • Support the Livelihoods Unit in building partners’ capacity in case of Village Savings and Lending (VSL)/Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) related projects.
  • Assist the Livelihoods Unit Head in helping partners and beneficiaries acquire at least the three basic skills of group management, finance and basic marketing awareness.
  • Contribute to the designing of new agriculture/agro-business project proposals.
  • Contribute to the development of gender-sensitive knowledge and skills modules in a participatory manner through consultation with participating Livelihoods Unit team members, the gender focal person, and project partners.
  • Conduct operational research on issues of food security and capture and document best practices of the SALOHI project
  • Assist implementing partners with applying best practices from SALOHI to the new Title II project.
  • Assist with advocacy efforts on food security in-country and at an international level; assisting with documents/briefs/forums.
  • Perform other relevant duties, as needed.
Policy Placement: 

During the policy year, the Leland Fellow will build upon experiences and lessons learned during the field year to directly contribute to the formation of CRS policies and directly interact with the Administration, Congress, multilateral institutions and the wider hunger community. The Leland Fellow will focus on the following broad issues:

  • The Farm Bill and other legislative initiatives, helping to develop CRS policy and advancing our objectives;
  • Pro-poor Agricultural Development, advancing policies that enhance US agriculture development objectives so they directly contribute to poverty alleviation and food security;
  • Exploration of emerging themes in food security, such as the agriculture-nutrition relationship, civil society participation, and public-private partnerships;
  • School Feeding and other Safety Net activities, helping to develop CRS policy and advocacy positions and advancing our objectives; and
  • Better US government partnerships with Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO), scaling up PVO field initiatives for greater geographic reach to influence national poverty and food security indicators.

Specific tasks related to leadership development and policy will include the following:

  • Presentations for CRS staff and outside groups on hunger and hunger related policy work;
  • Presentations to US Catholic constituents (student groups, partner university classes, issues advocates at the parish level);
  • Write articles for Catholic publications, draft OpEd pieces, draft speeches and talking points for CRS executives;
  • Be available for interviews with the press;
  • Draft policy documents for internal and external consumption; and
  • Other relevant duties, as needed.
Education/Experience Required: 

In addition to the CHC requirements of a Master’s degree or equivalent work experience in international development or a related field, and one year minimum relevant developing country volunteer or work experience, CRS/MG is looking for someone with cross-cutting capacities and interests, and experience and/or interest in projects integrating agriculture, health/nutrition, and microfinance programming.  Other preferred qualities include:

  • At least two years field experience in a developing country, preferably in the Africa region
  • Excellent skills in written and spoken English and strong level in written and spoken French
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office and technology (iPod, iPad, iFormBuilder, barcodes)
  • Strong intercultural skills and sensitivity, and the ability to work in a complex working environment
  • Should be a team player with good negotiating skills and the ability to work with a variety of partners from beneficiaries, front-line implementers, partner NGOs and government agencies, donor agencies and policy makers
  • Willingness to travel
  • Possesses patience, maturity, and flexibility