Programs Manager

  • Full Time
  • Lilongwe
  • Applications have closed

Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

Job Description

Apply here Job Description* Please note that this position is specifically located in Lilongwe, Malawi

Overall Function:

The Programs Manager (PM), Agriculture and Economic Diversification Programs will work closely with members of the AG-L team. With a specific focus on diversifying smallholder farmers away from tobacco to other crops through a structured value chain and anchor farm development risk, s/he will be expected to develop and manage grants as well as innovative financing structures, in collaboration with other PMs and directors. S/he will contribute to the development and implementation of country-based strategies for improving on-farm productivity, diversifying livelihoods, encouraging innovative agriculture science, technology, and innovation, and improving realized value for smallholder farmers and the agricultural sector in southern Africa and beyond.


  • Work in close collaboration with internal and external partners to design, implement, and manage performance-based grants and investments, focusing on opportunities that mitigate risk and provide financial services for smallholder farmers as well as entrepreneurs and small- to medium-sized enterprises in the agricultural value chain such as processors and input suppliers.
  • Provide advice and strategic guidance to colleagues that enables practical, innovative, and catalytic investments addressing economic diversification.
  • Consult with grantees and other partners in public and private sectors to maximize impact of grants and ensure optimal learning. This may include: site visits, providing operational guidance, working with companies on co-investments, and convening meetings of key stakeholders.
  • Collaborate with foundation colleagues in related program areas outside of Agriculture and Livelihoods to take advantage of cross-sector grant and program related investment making opportunities.
  • Provide high quality interactions and clear and consistent communications with grantees and partners in the field. Represent the foundation with external stakeholders including governments, regulators, companies, grantee organizations, banks, mobile operators, universities, think tanks, and other valued partners.
  • Review letters of inquiry and grant proposals; provide clear, concise and insightful written analyses and recommendations for funding including drafting and editing proposal summaries and progress reports for existing grants for review by foundation leadership.

Knowledge and Experience Required:

  • We are looking for people who enjoy the challenge of working on complex problems and collaboratively creating solutions that have the potential for transformational change in the lives of smallholder farmers.
  • The candidate must be prepared to work across diverse sides of this field, bridging a wide range of expertise, including that of: farmers, development practitioners, technical experts, analysts, policymakers, business people, investors, and philanthropists.
  • S/he must have an understanding of the difficulties that face poor farming households and the roles that agribusiness and financial services play in creating economic growth and prosperity for the average citizen. Additionally, the candidate must have practical expertise relating to programmatic and policy solutions in the field of investment, value chain development, and market research.
  • S/he will be a solid team player who is self-motivated and self-managing. The candidate must have a demonstrated ability to work with flexibility, efficiency, and diplomacy in a fast-paced, challenging environment, using a hypothesis-driven approach and analytical rigor to develop sound strategies and implementation plans.
  • Ten or more years of relevant work experience in roles responsible for developing, implementing, and managing projects/programs. Outstanding record of achievement required.
  • Undergraduate degree in business, finance, supply chain management, agriculture, or related discipline. Master’s preferred.
  • Strong understanding of, and the ability to communicate how: (1) markets and investment drive economic diversification, (2) inclusive business models create prosperity for smallholder farmers, and (3) science and technology drive agricultural competitiveness and productivity growth.
  • Experience working with teams that have built, deployed, and scaled agricultural value chain models in support of smallholder farmers in developing countries. Private sector work experience is desired.
  • Comprehensive understanding of structuring financing deals including the due diligence process as well as all aspects of debt and loan guarantees and insurance mechanisms.
  • Demonstrated experience with the integration of gender into inclusive business models, agricultural, and investment decisions.
  • Experience working in-country in southern Africa.
  • Ability to travel up to 25% of time in Malawi and internationally as needs dictate.
  • Fully authorized to live and work in Malawi.

Job Type: Full-time

About the Organization

Foundation Overview

The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) is an independent, non-profit organization registered as a 501c3 private foundation created to accelerate global efforts to reduce health impacts and deaths from smoking, while working with farmers whose livelihoods will be severely affected by reduced demand for tobacco, with the goal of ultimately eliminating smoking worldwide. The Foundation collaborates with other non-profit, advocacy and government organizations to advance smoking cessation and harm-reduction science and technology. It also serves as a convener of research, dialogue and ideas to reduce smoking globally, while monitoring, evaluating and helping to address the impact of reduced smoking rates on agriculture and economics.

The initial funding for the Foundation was secured from Philip Morris International (PMI). Importantly, as established in the Foundation’s bylaws and pledge agreement, PMI and the tobacco industry are precluded from having any influence over how the Foundation spends its funds or focuses its activities. Independence and transparency are core principles of the Foundation and all activities will be conducted with full transparency, free of tobacco industry influence. The Foundation has, constituted in its bylaws, an independent research agenda, independent governance, ownership of its data, freedom to publish, and protection against conflict of interest. Furthermore, strict rules of engagement will be put into place to ensure any interactions with the tobacco industry are fully transparent and publicly reported.

Agriculture and Livelihoods Team Overview

The global decline of smoking will have many positive health impacts but will bring negative economic consequences to tobacco farmers, many of whom are in developing nations. In order to address the agricultural impact of smoking cessation, the Foundation is focused on partnering with agricultural, rural development, and smallholder experts to identify alternative livelihoods for tobacco farmers. And, to determine which alternatives are the most viable, the Foundation plans to bring together private development and public players to invest in pilot solutions. Please visit our website and watch the video “The True Cost of a Cigarette” for more context on our approach to creating prosperity for smallholder farmers.


After decades of relying on tobacco farming as an income security strategy, smallholder African farmers now face an uncertain future: global demand for tobacco is declining. Yet, this also creates an opportunity for those farmers to transition to more sustainable and secure livelihoods. Research shows that growing tobacco does not lift smallholder farmers out of poverty; nor does it improve national wealth. Moreover, growing and harvesting tobacco can have unfavorable health and environmental consequences. Embracing this opportunity for positive change, the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World created the Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI) to support tobacco farmers in their efforts to shift to more sustainable agricultural, livelihood and environmental strategies.