Program Associate - Just Rural Transition

April 2021 Position Announcement — accepting applications through May 3, 2021


In partnership with Meridian Institute, the JRT Secretariat is looking for a Program Associate with relevant academic experience in topics such as sustainable agriculture, food systems, climate change, sustainable development, equity, and social justice. The Just Rural Transition (JRT) initiative was launched at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019 to address one of this decade’s critical challenges – feeding 9 billion people by 2030 while protecting the vital natural systems which sustain life.

While Meridian Institute is based in the United States, this role will report to the UK-based Program Manager and work closely with the UK-based Executive Director and other JRT team members (located in London, Geneva and the United States) to develop and deliver the JRT’s international engagement strategy through 2021.  Areas of responsibility include, event management, communications, stakeholder engagement, program administration, and support for donor reporting and fundraising.

This is an excellent two-year opportunity to gain experience working on a global, multi-stakeholder initiative and to be part of a dynamic virtual team that collaborates with a growing network of governments, knowledge and implementation partners, donors and philanthropies, farmer organisations and other community organisations.

Successful candidates will be self-starters with professional and exceptionally strong written and verbal communications. They will have a high level of organization, strong attention to detail and the ability to excel in a team environment while juggling multiple deadlines. Is it also important that candidates are able to work with people from culturally diverse backgrounds and have a passion for the work of the JRT.  All candidates must be legally able to work in the United Kingdom without visa sponsorship. Other locations may be considered for the right candidate from within European time zones.  Experience working virtually is preferred.

All full-time employees are eligible to enroll in Employer Sponsored Private Medical Insurance, Global Travel Insurance, Life Assurance, 3% contribution to UK pension scheme, 28 days combined vacation and bank holidays per year, 15 paid sick days per year (carryover allowed up to 25 days), and home office internet allowance.

How to Apply:

The deadline to submit is 9am BST on Monday, May 3, 2021.  

Please submit your application, including cover letter, resume, writing sample (1 page), and two references using our online submission form. We thank all applicants for their interest but only those chosen for an interview will be contacted.

Position Description

Team: Practice

Reports to: JRT Program Manager

Work Status: Full Time – 2 Year Fixed Term

Hiring Range: £31,455.00 – 36,643.00

Areas of Responsibility:

  • Event Management: support the JRT team with preparation and logistical needs for JRT-convened events (virtual, hybrid, and in-person) and relevant global meetings.  Key tasks include: liaison with key team members to prepare draft agendas and background materials, liaising with key speakers, preparing invitations, managing invite lists and promoting events through communications channels, note-taking and preparing meeting summaries, and any relevant communications.
  • Communications: develop a range of communications products to amplify key messages in coordination with the JRT’s strategic communications partner, JRT team members and the broader community. Represent JRT within relevant communications networks.  Key tasks include: drafting of blogposts, tweets, updating of key comms materials including PowerPoint slide decks and web content.
  • Stakeholder engagement: in coordination with JRT’s Senior Project Coordinator, proactively manage the JRT stakeholder database to track accurate information regarding the JRT community.  Support outreach and engagement with the JRT community through participation in partner-organized events and bilateral exchanges to identify collaboration opportunities. Key tasks include: stakeholder database management, scheduling and attending meetings with JRT community members, tracking and responding to any follow up/actions.
  • Program Administration: support the Program Manager to ensure effective monitoring and coordination of JRT activities including agenda preparation, meeting summary reports, updating program management tools.
  • Donor Reporting and Fundraising Support: supports effective budget management and prepares information for grant reporting in coordination with the Program Manager and Meridian Institute’s finance team. Support the development of fund-raising proposals, as needed.


  • Master’s degree or equivalent education and experience in one or more of the following fields: sustainable agriculture, food systems, climate change, sustainable development, equity and social justice.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, including experience researching, synthesizing, and communicating complex information across an array of audiences.
  • Strong attention to detail, copy-editing, and note-taking skills.
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks at once, manage time effectively, and receive and balance direction from multiple Project Directors.
  • Passion for the issues and work that Meridian is involved in, ability and willingness to learn, and ability to work independently and be self-motivated.
  • Experience and enthusiasm for effectively working as part of a team. Ability to work with people from culturally diverse backgrounds.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft O365 (Word, Excel, Outlook, Teams, SharePoint, OneNote, PowerPoint) and other commonly used computer programs and technology, such as social media, as well as the ability to learn and deploy new technology tools.
  • Full professional proficiency or higher in English.
  • Legally able to work in the United Kingdom without visa support/sponsorship.

Additional Requirements 

  • Required to attend to business related to projects outside of normal working hours, due to the location and nature of the project, as needed.
  • Required to travel domestically or internationally dependent upon the project, as needed.
  • Must be able to conduct themselves in a courteous and professional manner at all times

About Just Rural Transition and Meridian Institute:

The Just Rural Transition is a platform through which key food system stakeholders can collaborate and innovate, disseminating knowledge and best practice.  We work with associations (representing farmers, indigenous people, women and other vulnerable communities), governments, agri-food business, investors, knowledge and implementation partners. We are focused on two key opportunities: repurposing agricultural subsidies and trade distortions and promoting sustainable investments that deliver measurable outcomes for climate, biodiversity, nutrition and livelihoods.  The intended impact is to accelerate a transformation to resilient, sustainable land use and agri-food systems, reducing climate risk and providing jobs and healthy diets for a growing population, contributing to the Paris Agreement the SDGs.

Meridian Institute is the host of the JRT Secretariat.  Meridian Institute is a mission-driven, non-profit organization that has helped our clients and partners develop and implement solutions to complicated, often controversial problems—big and small, global and local—for over two decades.

We do this with an innovative approach that brings together three elements: our deep understanding of the issues at hand, as well as the people, politics, and power dynamics that surround them; our dedicated, expert team; and our ability to foster constructive discussions, manage decisions, and support actions that shape the world for the better. We work not only to shape meaningful consensus and action in the near term, but also to build our partners’ capacity for cooperation that often continues for years, even decades.

We focus on five key services: collaboration, implementation, strategy, research, and philanthropic support. We bring our skills to bear on a diverse range of issues, including environment & natural resources, climate change, agriculture & food systems, forests, health, oceans & coasts, resilience, science & technology, water, and the application of “big data” and machine learning to solve societal challenges. Across issues, boundaries, and systems, our work is a catalyst for powerful impact.

Effective collaborative decision-making requires inclusion of different perspectives and involves bringing together participants with diverse backgrounds. As an organization, we seek staff that reflects and values that same diversity and has experience working in multicultural settings.