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Job of the Week: CDO, World Food Programme

The CDO will join new CIO Jay Mahanand in leading transformational work...

The World Food Programme (WFP) – the world’s largest humanitarian organisation – is seeking a Chief Data Officer (CDO) to “foster an anticipatory, forward-thinking culture that creates predictive applications for data.”

We’re making the World Food Programme CDO role The Stack’s latest Job of the Week.

The new CDO at the United Nations organisation will report to the CIO. The role is based in Rome.

The language requirements are English and “intermediate” knowledge of one of the official UN languages – Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish – and/or the WFP’s working language, Portuguese.

Chief Data Officer, World Food Programme: Responsibilities

The WFP CDO will be responsible for developing data strategy,  providing “leadership and strategic direction about data across the entire organization, ensuring creative and cost-effective use of business intelligence.”

The WFO wants someone with at least six years of international experience, as well as a background and interest in international humanitarian development and "extensive experience leading multicultural teams and improving performance" who can lead on "strategic opportunities and establish the vision for managing data... harness new technologies to extract maximum potential and insight from WFP’s varied data assets."

A snapshot of the WFP's digital estate.

The WFP was the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. In 2021 it supported over 128 million people in over 120 countries with food or cash distributions in emergencies, nutrition support programmes and other activities.

Its provision of logistics services, such as air transport and the pre-positioning and rapid dispatch of supplies, also makes it the service provider of choice for the humanitarian community: In 2021, more than 325,000 passengers were transported and more than 41,000 m³ of relief items were dispatched via its depots.

The organisation has been increasing its digital capabilities under new CIO Jay Mahanand, who was appointed in January 2022 after 14 years as CIO at USAID. A review of WFP’s digital activities spanning the period of 2014-2021 highlights some key digital challenges at the organisation, not least a “widespread perception that the development of digital technologies is top-down, with corporate solutions designed to meet specific needs without sufficient consultation with country offices and end users. This highlights the need for enhanced engagement and digital capacity and needs assessments prior to technology development and deployment.”

That report, published January 2022, also found that “WFP does not implement systematic processes to rigorously evaluate the costs and benefits of deploying digital technology, including its overall development and maintenance costs and implications for the protection (inclusion, safety, integrity and dignity) of people served by WFP. This affects the organization’s ability to learn, to make better-informed decisions and to share lessons learned about digital technologies.  While WFP has made significant progress in its use of digital technology, this evaluation concludes that significant opportunities remain. The main practical opportunity identified relates to the underutilization of the vast amount of data routinely collected…”

If that sounds like a challenge for you, applications close on January 8. Details are here.