Project Support Assistant

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FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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Application deadline 3 days ago: Thursday 18 Apr 2024 at 21:59 UTC

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Organizational Setting

The BESPA project, UNJP/SRL/076EC is an EU funded initiative implemented by FAO of the United Nations on supporting Sri Lanka's food control system to adopt better standard based practices in the agriculture and food sectors. The current food control system is not based on prevention of risks along the nodes of the food chains, but rather on the inspections of finished products. In addition, current food standards don’t take a risk-based food safety standards approach to quality and composition, which is considered to be a key quality specification to ensure products are safe for human consumption. This is reflected in Sri Lanka’s primary food law- the Food Act of 1980, which applies food control at the end of processing, manufacturing, and retailing, instead of the entire food chain. There are laws for animal, plant and fisheries sectors that largely apply to their primary production, however food safety along these respective food chains is not adequately covered. Institutional coordination between government institutions is important to enable comprehensive management of food control along the food chain. The statutory Food Advisory Board is a mechanism under the Food Act and is an important tool for cross-sectoral coordination and advice to the Minister of Health on food issues. However, this coordination needs to be reinforced through formal mechanisms and service level agreements so that each government institution plays an effective role in food control. For this purpose, the representation in the Food Advisory Committee must take into account all authorities responsible for food control and their technical and scientific capacities must be significantly strengthened.

In view of addressing challenges faced in the agri-food private sector, food control system and quality infrastructure system, FAO is supporting a component of these aspects through a larger EU funded four-year project, which entails upgrading the food safety and quality control system. The other component of this EU funded program is implemented by the Lead Agency UNIDO, which focuses on building capacities of producers, processors and food business operators and promoting linkages along the agri-food value chains. Both agencies through their respective components will engage in effective communication methods and campaigns for advocacy and behavior change, based on a market-driven approach and shaped by consumers. This has direct benefits for Sri Lanka's agribusiness and indirect benefits for the livestock and fisheries sectors in terms of increased competitiveness and long-term benefits. It will enhance consumer safety and product quality and lend to developing agriculture sustainably for economic development.

Overall objective of the project: To contribute to a more productive, sustainable, diversified, climate-resilient, market-oriented and inclusive agriculture and agri-food production sector in Sri Lanka.

Reporting Lines

The Project Support Assistant will work under the overall supervision of the Assistant FAO Representative (Programme) Sri Lanka and the Project Management Specialist. He/she will be work in close coordination and guidance of the Project Coordinator.

Technical Focus

To provide timely and efficient operation and administration support to the successful implementation of the project activities In accordance with FAO rules, procedures, and systems.

Tasks and responsibilities

• Support the Project Coordinator in the areas of logistics, coordination, administration, procurement of good and services, inventory, accounting, office operations and efficient implementation of project activities; • Assist the Project Coordinator in preparing inputs for project reports and budgeting, including in coordinating inputs from the project team; • Liaise with partner agency on logistics and operations of office facility and play a key role in ensuring smooth running of office facilities and services; • Assist in administrative work related to the technical team, which includes local and international consultants and support coordination and logistics related to their work; • Assist in coordinating recruitment of project personnel; • Interact with FAO HQ/Regional office, UNRC and the EU (internal/external services) in supporting the Project Coordinator; • Support the Project Management Unit in engaging with Government stakeholders in addressing logistical and coordination needs, especially for joint working modalities and actions; • Update stakeholder details as per stakeholder mapping format, maintain records of all meetings/workshops, etc. • Carryout tasks such as venue bookings, transport arrangements, following-up on invitee confirmations for meetings/workshops, updating invitee lists, writing correspondence, delivering project material, etc. • Follow FAO/EU/UN systems, procedures and protocols in procurement, project operations, accounting, etc., and ensure compliance with government guidelines; • Support in organizing and making logistical arrangements for project events, meetings, workshops and training sessions at internal and external venues in consultation with stakeholders and institutional focal points and draft minutes for approval; • Assist in coordinating monitoring missions, donor missions and project evaluators; • Use a database/system for archiving project files, including reports and correspondence for easy access and future reference and ensure uploads to the FAO Field Programme Management Information System (FPMIS) or other system; • Facilitate travel and transportation requirements and hotel stays of project personnel and project stakeholders; • Maintain an inventory of supplies and equipment and prepare guidelines for use of office equipment and properties; • Support the Communications and Outreach Specialist on visibility and communication activities and in relation to the above tasks; • Assist the Project Coordinator in managing the budget cycle and in maintaining project accounts (prepare payment vouchers, manage petty cash, maintain and monitor disbursements, validate disbursements and liaise with vendors, etc); • Assist in the tasks of awarding contracts and deploying agreements for project services/activities; • Undertake any other tasks assigned or relevant in supporting the efficient implementation of the project.


Minimum Requirements

• University degree in Project Management/Business Administration/Accountancy/Financial Management and /or any other related fields. • A minimum of 1 years’ experience in a supporting role in project management or administration/financial management • Working knowledge of the English Language and Sinhala / Tamil. • National of Sri Lanka.

FAO Core Competencies

• Results Focus • Teamwork • Communication • Building Effective Relationships • Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Technical/Functional Skills

• Experience in international development would be an added advantage. • Demonstrated experience in working with government structures at national level and wider stakeholders is an added advantage. • Knowledge of UN administration and related procedures is an advantage. • Proficiency in the use of office software packages and in handling web-based management systems.


  • FAO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing)
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be accepted
  • Please note that FAO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU) / United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed at
  • For additional employment opportunities visit the FAO employment website:
  • Appointment will be subject to certification that the candidate is medically fit for appointment, accreditation, any residency or visa requirements, and security clearances.
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