Climate Change Specialist – Azafady

Contract type: Voluntary, unsalaried, living allowance included
Contract duration: 12 months 
Location: ONG Azafady, Fort Dauphin, Madagascar 
Reporting to: Heads of Conservation & Environment and Project Development

Opportunity to volunteer in Madagascar for an international NGO as a climate change specialist, advising on climate change issues and projects in southeast Madagascar. 

 
Position Overview:
 
Azafady seeks a qualified and experienced specialist in climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies suitable for implementation at the community level in south east Madagascar – one of the top three countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the world.
 
The specialist will work alongside Azafady’s Conservation & Environment and Project Development departments in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar, for a period of 12 months, and will be responsible for reviewing the organisation’s current strategy and activities in the field of capacity building and risk mitigation as related to climate change across all four of the organisation’s project spheres – sustainable livelihoods, conservation & environment, community health and construction. Preliminary desk research into the national and local context is expected to be carried out by the specialist prior to arrival in Madagascar on account of local limitations with information technology.
 
Azafady operates on a skill sharing basis, and key to this role will be capacity building the local NGO and international staff. The specialist will also be responsible for advising on the development of future projects that enhance ecosystem and community resilience to the impacts of climate change and support low-carbon development, suitable to the specific local context, as well as increasing understanding of and access to emissions reduction-focused funding. 
 
The position is suited to someone with a keen interest in community based conservation and development work, with a strong working knowledge and experience of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies suitable for implementation at the community level in a least developed country.
 
The position is predominantly office based with regular site visits.
 
Objectives:
 
Examples of typical objectives for a Climate Change Specialist over the course of 12 months include - 
 
Conduct research and write internal update reports on international climate change policy including adaptation and emissions reduction aspects and how these could / do impact on policy, strategy and projects in Madagascar 
Advise on Madagascar’s progression through the REDD+ and other climate change policy and carbon market related processes
Advise on stochastic disaster reduction strategies and the development of related programmes
Advise on rural and urban natural resource use and management strategies as related to enhancing ecosystem and community resilience to the impacts of climate change
Assist the Head of Conservation & Environment in training field based and office staff with regard to agreed organisational strategies relating to climate change
Exchange information with the team managing Azafady’s Conservation Programme (ACP – a conservation scheme for international volunteers)
Advise on funding strategies and donors related to international climate change dialogue and policy, including REDD+
Monitor and advise with regard to evolving public (international, national, local)  perception issues related to climate change mitigation and carbon marketing  
Assist with writing funding proposals for climate change adaptation / mitigation / emissions reduction projects
Work alongside the Head of Conservation & Environment and Head of Project Development in ensuring compliance with donor requirements throughout any project activity and assist in any project related communications
 

Required skills:
 
The successful applicant will ideally:
 
Hold an undergraduate degree in Climate Change, Environmental Science, Conservation or Ecosystem studies or another relevant subject, combined with experience
Have detailed knowledge of the institutional, political and economic aspects of climate change mitigation and adaptation and their relations to grassroots development dynamics in least developed countries, including issues around REDD+  
Have a proven interest in community conservation and development issues, particularly those in least developed countries
Have knowledge of, and preferably direct experience of, engaging with multilateral institutions, governments, private sector and civil society organisations active in the climate change adaptation arena 
Have proven ability to produce clear and engaging written work, for a variety of  technical and non-technical audiences
Have previous experience writing conservation funding proposals and reports 
Have excellent analytical skills, particularly in conducting research that would be pertinent to Azafady’s project areas
Have experience living or working in a developing country
Be fluent in written and spoken English. A working knowledge of French is desirable but not essential 
Be capable of and comfortable with adapting to life in a least developed country with typically basic living conditions
Be able to adjust to life amid another culture and language, and be able to work at all times with cultural sensitivity
Be able to financially support themselves for 12 months and be equipped with a laptop computer
 
Country and organisation background:
 
Madagascar is one of the planet’s most significant biodiversity hotspots, with approximately 4% of Earth’s different floral and faunal species within this 0.4% of the planet’s land surface. Levels of endemism in plants and animals are estimated at over 80%, with many species yet to be named or even discovered. However, Madagascar is also one of the world’s poorest countries, ranking 151/187 on the 2011 UN Human Development Index, and is one of the top three countries considered most vulnerable to the effects of climate change (along with Bangladesh and India) as a result of the effects of deforestation and natural disasters, and a lack of capacity to adapt to these factors through chronic poverty and a dependence on subsistence agriculture. Rapidly expanding populations (increasing at a rate of approximately 3% per year) and decreasing access to land have rendered traditional farming practices inadequate but populations lack information, training and necessary inputs to implement alternatives. These highly vulnerable communities depend on natural resources for their livelihoods, including forest resources for firewood, timber and the traditional practice of tavy (slash and burn agriculture). Without information being available to rural communities about alternative and more sustainable livelihood practices, poverty and increasing populations are resulting in severely and increasingly degraded forest environments.
 
Within the Anosy region in the south east where Azafady is based, spiralling poverty and environmental degradation are seen in their most extreme form. Over 90% of the population live below the poverty line and suffer some of the highest rates of illiteracy (80%), disease, and child mortality (up to 40%). Anosy is also home to the Ambatoantsignana littoral forest, a severely fragmented habitat with exceptional biodiversity, where levels of endemism of flora and fauna reach some 80%. Ambatoantsignana has been designated one of the highest conservation priorities in Madagascar; situated as it is within one of the country’s most impoverished regions it is one of the world’s most significantly threatened habitats. The fragility of the ecosystem is exacerbated through the effects of repeated drought in the south of the island and failed harvests , which have forced many farmers into charcoal production, further degrading forest environments. Further, it is estimated that around 80% of the remaining littoral forest in Anosy is subject to planned clearance over the next 50 years as a result of mining activities, leaving few options for the multitude of species, including humans, that depend on these forests for their survival. QMM, a subsidiary of mining giant Rio Tinto, has received authorisation to mine the area for mineral sands (ilmenite), and operations have already begun in the pilot site. The Ambatoantsignana littoral forest is home to numerous endemic and endangered species which face extinction if this fragile habitat is not protected and direct species interventions are not implemented.
 
Azafady has over 15 years experience in grassroots community development work. The organisation works in Fort Dauphin, the urban centre of the Anosy region, and surrounding rural communities aiming to alleviate extreme poverty and protect a unique but greatly endangered environment by empowering the poorest people to improve their health and wellbeing and establish sustainable livelihoods. At the heart of Azafady’s work is an integrated approach to community development sensitively built around what are directly expressed as the most pressing needs of local populations, and which maximises their participation in all stages. Project activities are focused on the areas of construction, health and sanitation, livelihood diversification plus natural resource management and conservation. All projects align with and contribute to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and the Madagascar Action Plan derived from these.
 
 
Application procedure:
 
Send CV and cover letter to samm@azafady.org. Shortlisted applicants will have an interview with the Madagascar team by phone and with the London team in person. 
 
The deadline for applications is Monday 20th August 2012.
 

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