Livelihoods, Business Development & Investment Advisor

Côte d'Ivoire

Position: Livelihoods, Business Development & Investment Advisor

Position location: Abidjan

Reports to: Project Director – Nature Based Solutions Project

Contract term: 1 year with possibility of renewal

Deadline: on rolling

Languages: Fluency in both English and French required


World University Service of Canada (WUSC) is a leading Canadian international development organization focusing on three programmatic areas: Economic Opportunities, Education, and Empowerment. Our vision is a better world for all young people. It is a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable world in which all young people, especially women and refugees, are empowered to secure a good quality of life for themselves, their families, and their communities.

WUSC currently works in over 25 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, with an annual budget of approximately CAD $45 million. Globally, we partner with a network of higher education institutions, civil society organizations, private sector partners, professionals, students, volunteers, faculty and community leaders that work with us to achieve our mission.

The overall focus of the Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in the Guinean Forests of West Africa (NBS West Africa) project will be on engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to develop local and regional capacity to use evidence and engage with women and marginalized groups to prioritize locally relevant NBS to climate change adaptation. It will take a systems approach to supporting climate adaptation through interventions that plan for, pilot and scale Nature based-Solutions (NbS) to climate adaptation that contribute to enhanced biodiversity and gender equality. An overall assumption is that restoration and reforestation of degraded forests, both on and off farm, will be critical to supporting women and their communities to adapt to climate change challenges and will be central to protecting and restoring biodiversity in this critical global hotspot.

The project will work in close collaboration with consortium member CECI, and with the IUCN, CIFOR-ICRAF and the University of Guelph. Key local stakeholders include local and national government bodies, regional institutions, private sector, women’s groups, and environmental organizations.

This initiative builds on WUSC’s and CECI’s decades of experience supporting vulnerable populations and leverages the experience of a variety of local and international partners who bring a strong climate NbS lens, are fully immersed in their respective ecosystems and whose work can be accelerated by this project. This project is a timely intervention to ensure Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinée continue to effectively address climate adaptation while incorporating Nature based Solutions and strong gender lenses.

Nature and Scope:

The role is carried out in close collaboration with the three project countries- Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast. The Livelihoods, Business Development and Investment Advisor acts as a resource person in carrying out specialized advisory support mandates with project teams and partners, and contributes to innovation and the development of new approaches to economic opportunities within the context of climate change adaptation with an emphasis on taking into account women and vulnerable populations. The Advisor is also responsible for providing content leadership on economic opportunities as they relate to nature-based solutions for the project and its partners.

Private sector Investment

▪ Prepare the private sector engagement strategy for the project.

▪ In close collaboration with country teams and the global market systems technical advisor, identify existing and potential opportunities for collaborating with private sector actors on investments that support nature-based solutions and gender equality within local markets.

▪ Using a gender sensitive lens, design and test innovative pilot schemes that mobilise private sector funds for co-investments in entrepreneurial activities with co-benefits for local populations (especially women), the environment and biodiversity.

▪ In collaboration with the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Advisor, design gender responsive and nature-based market systems research and facilitation tools

Business Competitions

▪ Prepare a framework for establishing a grant to support nature-based solutions to climate change, gender equality and business innovation within local businesses.

▪ In close collaboration with the country teams, develop systems to attract additional capital to the innovation fund from private and public sector actors.

▪ Identify an appropriate firm or organization to manage the innovation grant partnership framework with a grant management organisation within the three countries

▪ Work with the grant management organisation to establish the challenge grant competition criteria

▪ Coordinate innovation grant administration to ensure efficiency, transparency and compliance with donor requirements

Technical support to Livelihoods, Markets and Gender Equality

▪ Lead the design and implementation of market systems approaches, strategies, and guidelines.

▪ In close collaboration with the country teams, identify market based initiatives that can generate important economic benefits for women in the project landscapes

▪ Advise project partners on restoration efforts that could be leveraged to generate important livelihoods and economic opportunities for communities in the landscapes targeted by the project.

▪ Work with partners and project team members to ensure the development and adaptation of tools and approaches that are not only technically sound but suitable to the context of forest restoration as well, particularly as they relate to gender and livelihoods (and market systems).

▪ Advise on value chain methodologies (where possible including market systems approaches) particularly on approaches for making forest restoration efforts work for women through economic opportunities.

Capacity development, monitoring and reporting

▪ Conduct periodic monitoring visits domestically, regionally and internationally as needed.

▪ Prepare and deliver training to project stakeholder and NBS team members of relevance to gender transformative market systems development and climate adaptation within the context of forest restoration and BD conservation.

▪ Conduct an assessment of support functions, including Business Development Service Providers and technical firms that could be leveraged by the project to contribute to market systems change for climate adaptation and gender equality in the landscapes where the project operates.

▪ Prepare periodic progress reports, case studies, lesson learned documents, and other technical project communications materials

▪ Represent the organisation in events to share experiences and knowledge in the areas of livelihoods and investments.

▪ Carry out any other activity as needed to support the achievement of the project results.


▪ Master’s degree in Business, International Development or Economics (or other relevant degree). Additional years of experience may be substituted for a Master’s degree.

▪ Minimum of 8 years of experience in the field of rural livelihoods, value chain development, and market system development

▪ Professional training on Market Systems Development will be considered an advantage.

▪ Experience developing linkages with the private sector

▪ Experience in capacity building and training.

▪ Experience in conducting cost-benefit analysis particularly for investments in environment and interventions, green business, non-timber forest products, would be considered a strong advantage.

▪ Knowledge of working with stakeholders for the implementation of innovation grants is highly desirable.

▪ Previous experience with the culture and context of West Africa Is strongly preferred.

▪ Strong analytical and reporting skills in both English and French required.

▪ Excellent oral and written communication skills in English and French; excellent demonstrated interpersonal and negotiation skills.


WUSC’s activities seek to balance inequities and create sustainable development around the globe; the work ethic of our staff, volunteers, representatives and partners shall correspond to the values and mission of the organization. WUSC promotes responsibility, respect, honesty, and professional excellence and we will not tolerate harassment, coercion, sexual exploitation or abuse of any form.

WUSC is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome and encourage applications from individuals of all backgrounds and abilities. Accommodations are available upon request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. Please note that only the candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

Know someone who would be perfect for this opportunity? Please share!