Location Xaythany, Laos
Start Date Jan - Mar 2018 (flexible)
Length of Placement 12 Months
Language Requirements English
English Reading: Level 4, Writing: Level 4, Speaking: Level 4
Language Scale: http://www.cusointernational.org/languageratingscale
Open to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada only
This placement is part of a global Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) research program funded by the CGIAR System Organization. https://ccafs.cgiar.org/novel-approaches-climate-smart-villages-mekong-region#h3_4 Although housed within the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), the volunteer’s day to day work will be with the implementing partners: International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), both part of the CGIAR.
The objective of this project is to engage partners in the development of appropriate tools and the dissemination of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices in two villages in Laos (namely Ban Ekxang and Ban Phailom), selected by CCAFS and referred as climate-smart villages. To this end, the project shall aim for the following outcomes:
- Policy-makers at provincial and national levels improve their knowledge and capacity to integrate major principles of CSA into development planning
- Farmers in both climate-smart villages improve their knowledge and capacity to experiment and adopt promising CSA practices into existing local farming systems, which can result in positive agronomic and socio-economic impacts
- Local agriculture service providers (e.g. government extension services, traders, NGOs) improve their capacity to provide appropriate support to the farmers on CSA practices and to facilitate knowledge sharing and cross learning for further scale-out through best practices.
- Development organization’s take into account a coherent Climate Smart Village (CSV) approach for planning their Portfolios.
Within the specific context of Cuso International’s work in Laos, the involvement with the CCAFS program fits within the Inclusive Sustainable Economic Growth (ISEG) project which has been funded for the next 5 years by the Canadian government. The volunteers working on this initiative will have the unique opportunity not only to support local villages within Laos but also to network within the region with other stakeholders rolling out the work in their respective areas.
As a volunteer, you will:
- Facilitate collaboration between stakeholders in the CSVs trough improved communication and coordination of research activities,
- Support understanding, learning and ownership amongst farmers and local government staff in agricultural offices in the districts, using various media tools,
- Support participatory trials to test new seed varieties and other CSAs while accounting for gender dimensions,
- Provide technical and logistical support to IWMI in their research activities related to water management (access, storage and use),
- Work with NAFRI to organize training activities on business start-up and marketing,
- Contribute to project proposal development to secure additional funds.
- Identify gender mainstreaming activities and initiatives that directly tackle issues relating to inclusion (people with disabilities, indigenous minority groups, and people living with HIV/AIDS).
Essential Academic Qualifications:
Relevant Degree in related field (e.g.: Marketing, Geography/Environmental Management, Project Management, Community Development, Agricultural Sciences / Horticultural Production)
Essential Professional Background:
- Experience in conducting market research or assessment for horticulture production or related field.
- Experience in water management techniques at the farm level,
- Experience and proven competencies in community development, farmer facilitation and application of social science research
- Experience of undertaking market analysis or market assessments especially in relation to poor rural communities
- Experience or knowledge of enterprise & business development and/or agri-business for poor rural communities
National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute
The National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute was established in 1999 in order to consolidate agriculture and forestry research activities within the country and develop a coordinated National Agriculture and Forestry Research System under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Vision: The National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute envisions the future where the poverty in rural areas is reduced through improvement of agriculture production systems which support a higher state of food security, increased income for rural farmers, and the utilization of natural resources is managed sustainably.
Mission: The National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute aims to contribute to the goals of the Government of Laos by carrying out integrated ‘research for development’ to overcome specific problems limiting production and causing degradation of natural resources. The National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute will also work closely with different levels of policy-makers to provide feedback and advice to ensure a more supportive policy environment. Finally, the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute will strengthen information and communication systems within Laos so that a range of actors have better access to information and knowledge to make informed decisions at different levels.
-To develop appropriate methods and technologies to strengthen agriculture production systems for different regions in Laos and focus on ensuring food security as well as income generation opportunities for rural farmers.
-To develop alternative options for upland farmers to cope and adapt their production systems to the rapid changes occurring in the country.
-To support the development of improved methods to ensure the sustainable management of land and natural resources.
-To provide MAF with information and guidance on emerging and globally linked opportunities and problems in the sector.
-To improve access to information and knowledge of different actors so they can make informed decisions at different levels.
-Strengthen the capacity of the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute and its local partners to undertake research and provide effective research support activities.
Cuso International terms and conditions allow you to lead a modest and healthy lifestyle while being effective in your placement. This support package will cover basic living expenses for one volunteer and is not intended to cover home-based expenses (ex. loans, support payments, etc.) or luxury items such as imported items in placement or international personal travel.
- Modest monthly living allowance (varies depending country)
- Accommodation while in placement
- Return airfare and visa/work permit costs
- Cost of required vaccinations, antimalarial medication and health insurance
- Pre-departure training and in-country orientation
- Travel and accommodation for reintegration debriefing weekend
- Modest support for accompanying partners and dependents going on placement with you for 12 months or longer (Return flight, emergency medical insurance, vaccinations)
- Access to Employee Assistance Program while in placement and upon return
- Cuso International assessment day (Candidates must cover the first $200 of the most cost-effective travel expenses and all accommodation costs).
- Travel and accommodation for the five-day pre-departure training course and for in-country orientation
We ask each volunteer, regardless of placement length, to raise $2,000. All volunteers receive support from Cuso International to help achieve the goal through fundraising. If the volunteer chooses not to fundraise or is unable to achieve the fundraising goal, he/she can make a one-time donation or become a monthly donor to support our work.
Depending on the nature of the placement, volunteers are encouraged to provide e-volunteering support to the local partner or Cuso International before or after the field placement. Volunteers also have the option of requesting support from an e-volunteer to help them with their work while they are in placement.
Residency and Citizenship
The majority of Cuso International volunteer applicants are residing in Canada at the time of application and during the pre-departure process. Occasionally we received applications from volunteer applicants who are residing outside of Canada at the time of application. In both instances, between your application date and placement start date, we must be able to contact you and you must be able to contact us easily and promptly throughout the process.
We may require your passport and would need to be aware of your current place of residence and any travel plans you may have during this time. You will also require unrestricted access to Canada during this time for assessment and training, as applicable.
Leaving your country of residence can have significant effects on your citizenship status in that country. It is your responsibility to research the consequences of travelling to Canada during the pre-departure process if you are living outside of Canada and of leaving your country of residence for a placement with the immigration authority where you live.
By applying to this placement, you accept full responsibility for any consequences related to your citizenship, residency and immigration status or penalties as a result of travel to an assessment day, training course, international placement or other Cuso International related travel.
You must check the implications that apply to you, but examples include:
- Canadian permanent residents may need to make arrangements with immigration authorities before travelling. These arrangements allow them to travel without risk to their status in Canada. Without them, residency status may be withdrawn.
- Citizens of other countries, including those visiting Canada on a visa, may have travel restrictions.