Mid-Level Project Design Specialist

  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Sep 06

Position description

Macfadden seeks a Project Design Specialist to support USAID’s Office Food for Peace (USAID/FFP). FFP’s Project Design Team (PDT) is responsible for translating Food For Pease (FFP)’s strategic goal and objectives into high quality, impactful and sustainable activities. This team helps identify priority countries for multi-year investments and supports the design of new activities in those countries. The PDT has the unique role of working across multiple teams and sectors to design integrated activities to address the complex underlying causes of food insecurity and malnutrition for the poorest and most vulnerable. The PDT is responsible for ensuring activity design builds on lessons learned and international evidence-based best practices, as well as translates from findings and recommendations from monitoring reports, assessments and evaluations into coherent and cohesive programming. The work of the Senior Project Design Officer requires teamwork and personal responsibility. In support of emergency and development food assistance activities through a wide variety of work tasks, the incumbent is results-oriented, data driven and a critical thinker that thrives on unpacking complex development issues. The incumbent must have an interdisciplinary background that will be able to collect, synthesize, and translate information and data into designs.

Essential Functions:

  • Provide design support to geographic divisions to promote efficient and effective design timelines and processes.
  • Support the gathering, analysis, and distillation of data and evidence related to the new activity designs.
  • Translate and utilize both qualitative and quantitative data and research to inform designs.
  • Facilitate meetings and workshops with multi-disciplinary stakeholders.
  • Provide support to geographic divisions, as requested, in implementing projects and activities in accordance with FFP guidance and international best practices.
  • Using organizational design principles, create design processes and procedures appropriate to the FFP’s strategy, goal, and organizational culture.
  • Ensure activity design quality, efficiency of design methodology, adequacy of technical design, and compliance with applicable Agency regulations and policies.
  • Streamline design workflow, procedures, structures, and systems to meet FFP goals.
  • Work with Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) and Learning staff to encourage review of program information and learning throughout the program cycle to improve program outcomes.
  • Integrate change management strategies into design work to ensure that approved processes are communicated, understood, and applied.
  • Socialize new ways of designing integrated activities using systems thinking tools and approaches.
  • Research new design concepts and tools to address identified challenges in program quality and implementation.
  • Work with other USAID activities and partners to amplify development impact through joint design and planning.
  • Identify new opportunities for collaboration with global non-profit, multilateral, bilateral, and private sector partners.
  • Provide FFP’s Senior Management Team with strategic and operational support.
  • Establish annual plans and timeline for country selection process and design and approval of new activities.
  • Develop communication tools to disseminate new and existing design tools and thinking to FFP and the partner community.
  • Create on-going channels to discuss design news to FFP staff in Washington and the field.



  • Bachelor’s degree with minimum 8 years’ experience in related field OR Master’s degree with minimum of 6 years’ experience in related field.
  • Minimum 6 years’ of progressively responsible, professional-level experience of which must be related to humanitarian assistance, international development, and or international food security. 


  • Demonstrated experience in strategic planning and project design in complex and dynamic environments, as well as the ability to develop program strategies and guidance related to the effective use of food assistance.
  • Ability to collect, synthesize, and translate data and evidence into coherent and cohesive project designs, as well as the ability to undertake cross cutting analysis, draw conclusions and make recommendations about FFP approaches across country operations.
  • Skills in leading multi-disciplinary teams to accomplish goals and objectives. Demonstrated experience in appropriately delegating responsibilities; ability to coordinate and communicate effectively, both or all and in writing, to peers, counterparts in other offices and bureaus and senior management on project scope, vision, impact and quality.
  • Knowledge of food security issues as well as current practices and new ideas in food assistance programming in the context of disasters, complex emergencies and development relief settings.

U.S. Citizenship is required; selected candidate must be able to qualify for a government sponsored clearance.

Application instructions

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