Project Technical Support Manager

GVEP International
Deadline for Applications
Where to Apply

Background and context

GVEP International (Global Village Energy Partnership) is a UK charity seeking to reduce poverty in Africa through accelerated access to modern energy products and services. To do this we support the development of a broad range of micro and small businesses and project companies in the energy economy, by providing them with high-quality financial, technical and business management support services so that they can grow and deliver access to energy in off grid areas.

In Rwanda, GVEP is about to start a new programme which goal is to support the growth of a sustained market for off-grid renewable energy by helping the private sector to deliver access to energy to 120.000 people in rural areas, in a way that is inclusive of people living in poverty called Scaling up Off-Grid Energy in Rwanda (SOGER)

This programme will comprise of three project components, designed and developed to respond to the country’s challenges and the government’s priorities with regards to poverty reduction and energy access in rural areas:

  • Component 1: Renewable Energy Small Projects (RESP) Development Facility: to accelerate the development of small grid-connected or isolated mini-grid RESP projects,
  • Component 2: Pico-hydro project development: to support the development of pico-hydro micro-utilities
  • Component 3: Energy and Farming: to increase productivity for small farmers through access to appropriate solar powered irrigation systems.

The programme implementation is expected to start in July 2016 and in this context GVEP is seeking a Project Technical Support (PTS) Manager to provide the expertise required to deliver the technical aspect of each component. The PTS manager will work under the supervision of the Programme Technical Manager and in close collacoration with other team members to ensure coordination and integration of the different expertise to succesfully deliver the programme.

The programme will be based on an integrated approach, with a comprehensive package of services to address barriers to development and growth of businesses trying to deliver off-grid energy access in rural areas. This is in particular targeting small, medium and micro enterprises (MSMEs) as well as project developers, where the range of challenges faced by these businesses is so big and diverse, that a tailored and wholistc package of interventions is generally required for each enterprise. Our business model is based on the idea that, with the right technical and business support and opportunities, a private sector delivery model based on market mechanisms is the most effective and efficient way to deliver energy services which are appropriate to the needs of poor communities.

The Role

The Technical Support Manager is an energy technical specialist that provides day to day operation support to each programme component. The Technical Support Manager will also provide support to the programme with regards to administrative matters. In particular he will provide support in three particular fields:

  • Evaluation of technical specifications and technology options for the pico-hydro and solar irrigation project
  • Irrigation systems supplier survey and assessment

Support in programme manager in administrative tasks and liaison with programme counterparts

Key responsibilities

Overall responsibilities:

  • Provide technical support to the Programme technical  Manager across all the programme components  by working in close collaboration with all the different teams and expert in the programme
  • Support and lead on the evaluation of technical specifications and technology options across the programme  components
  • Support the programme monitoring and evaluation team by providing the required technical data and inputs , in particular for baseline surveys
  • Support the Programme Manager in administrative tasks and liaison with programme counterparts

Technical support responsibilities:

  • Component 1:
    • Support initial identification of pipeline of projects  and production of needs assessments.
    • Support in the design of a call for proposals and selection process  for RESP projects.
    • Support in designing a detailed approach to support the developers.
    • Provide support to develop a productive use support strategy/methodology to support enterprises in newly electrified villages by the project, including an approach to undertaking technical needs assessment of micro- businesses. This will be a cross component methodology.
    • When required provide technical support to project developers
  • Component 2
    • Assist the process of identifying and recruitment of Pico Hydro developers into the program.
    • Support in finalizing pico-hydro site assessment and selection and produce a review report
    • Provide inputs to the development of the Climate Change Impact Analysis to inform the selection of the sites and advice to developers
    • Organize and Deliver Technical development training to selected pico hydro developers
    • Building relationship with local Government, Health centres and schools in the development process of pico- hydro power sites and engage Sector and District though awareness Campaign
    • Provide Technical support to developers throughout the implementation of the projects
    • Support Pico Hydro Developers during the site assessment and development of feasibility and business plans and ensure the businesses use their business plans to help them in planning and fundraising.
    • Provide technical advise during the inception and implementation of pico hydro project component
    • Support the acces to finance team to develop a  plan and approach to help access sources of finance for all 30 target projects
  • Component 3:
    • During the incepton phase support support in dentifying and selecting local agricultrue partner
    • Support the development of an irrigation systems supplier survey and assessment study
    • Providing support to the Agriculture Project Manager in determining the types of, and ranges of specifications for solar irrigation systems required to meet smallholders’ irrigation needs.
    • Supporting the identification of potential technology suppliers either active or potentially active in Rwanda, and develop an initial catalogue of applicable products, specifications and prices.
    • Understand different suppliers’ attitudes and approaches to “extras” such as credit sales, after sales service, provision of agronomy advice.
    • Support in identifying the likely financing needs of both farmers and irrigation system suppliers, considering both parties’ working capital cycles, procurement processes, etc.
    • Provide support in desiging  the implementation phase based on the findings and recommendation of the inception phase including:  Mapping of related initiatives and design options for distribution arrangements
    • Provide contunuous technial assistance and technical support to suppliers and local agri-partners during project implementation phase

Project management support and administration:

  • Assist in Programme reporting and provide feedback to the Programme technical Manager  on all development around the entreprises and activities on the field.
  • Building relationship with partners involved in the programme inception phase and implementation phase.
  • Provide effective linkages between the projects, between partners, and developers and identify new partners where possible.

Required skills and experience

  • University degree in Electrical Engineering or other related field with 5 years experience in Hydro Power Sector  and off-grid systems and electricity distribution in Rwanda and East Africa
  • Expertise in renewable energy and/or agriculture and other cross cutting theme such as climate change
  • Knowledge of the energy sector in Rwanda, its regulation and Local Government structure.
  • Knowledge of renewable energy project financing a plus
  • Experience of  implementing donor-funded  and/or  technical projects
  • Comfort with the entrepreneurial culture of a fast growing organization in an ever-changing industry
  • Experience of working with  small businesses, and/or energy SMEs, and/or  an understanding of renewable energy technologies and business models and/or of infrastructure management commercial arrangements is required.
  • High level of inter-personal and presentation skills and an ability to communicate clearly and collaborate at a senior level with colleagues, SMEs, public agencies and other stakeholders;
  • A can-do and collaborative mind set – comfort with the ambiguities and demands of a rapidly evolving environment.
  • Excellent written and analytical skills is crucial
  • Excellent problem solving skills
  • Excellent written and spoken English; Knowledge of French is a plus.
  • Ability to travel frequently in remote areas of the country and at short notice

Additional Information

Please send your CV plus a cover letter (in English) outlining how your knowledge, skills and experience match the job specification to to reach us by latest 4th July 2016.

GVEP International is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages applications from qualified individuals regardless of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability