Programme Officer

Programme Officer

Organization: Better Cotton Initiative

Apply By: 10 Feb 2020

Location: New Delhi(Delhi)

Starting date:    As soon as possible and no later than 01st March 2020

Contract Type:  Full time, open-ended contract

Location:             New Delhi, India

Application  closing date: 10th Feb 2020 


The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) — the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world — aims to reach 5 million farmers worldwide with more sustainable agricultural practices, and account for 30% of global cotton production by 2020. In less than 10 years, the Better Cotton Initiative and its Partners have supported over 1.6 million farmers in 23 countries in adopting more sustainable agricultural practices. Thanks to these efforts, Better Cotton accounts for around 15% of global cotton production. We are truly a joint effort, encompassing stakeholders all the way from farms to fashion brands and civil society organisations, driving the cotton sector toward sustainability. BCI aims to transform cotton production worldwide by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity.

BCI is looking for a qualified individual to serve as Programme Officer to contribute to two critical components within the Better Cotton Standards System that support continuous improvement of more sustainable practices at the farm level: Assurance and Capacity Building. The Assurance Programme involves farmers participating in a continuous cycle of learning and improvement, and is the central mechanism for assessing whether participating farmers meet the BCI Standard. The Programme Officer will implement agreed activities within the overall BCI Assurance Programme, including carrying out verification visits to participating farmers, data collection, cleaning, and analysis. Capacity Building focuses on training and development to ensure continuous improvement in farming practices. The successful candidate will support the capacity building programme for BCI India Implementing Partners and take on other relevant functions of BCI’s rapidly expanding India country programme.  The Programme Officer will function under the line management of the India Senior Implementation Coordinator and the supervision of the India Country Operations Manager. Frequent travel to cotton-growing states and regions will be required. Some international travel may be required.

This challenging role offers excellent opportunities for personal and professional development, together with a competitive benefits package.


Credibility checks

  • Conduct Credibility Checks on farmers to assess whether they comply with the BCI Standard around sustainable cotton production.
  • Develop clear, detailed and timely reports after Credibility Checks, including identification of non-conformities and supporting evidence.
  • Through Credibility Checks also identify areas for improvement and specific capacity needs of farmers participating in the BCI programme.
  • Carry out frequent travel to project locations during the growing and harvest season to conduct credibility checks.

Data management

  • Ensure timely flow of data from participating Producer Units (i.e. groups of farmers), and ensure that the data received is cleaned and verified.
  • Manage project information on farmers and Producer Units structure to ensure that the BCI project database is up-to-date and contains accurate information.
  • Manage large databases to ensure that the data used for analysis is of the best possible quality.
  • Support the analysis of agronomic and economic data, to ensure accurate referencing to regional contexts.
  • Share the results of data analysis with Producer Units to facilitate learning and encourage the continuous improvement of participating farmers.

Capacity building and support to Producer Units’ staff

  • Support the Programme Coordinator and Sr. Implementation Coordinator in India to develop and deliver training and capacity building activities around sustainable farming practices, in line with the capacity building strategy. This may include outreach to external experts and NGOs to run ‘train the trainer’ workshops on topics such as biodiversity and water management or building and coordinating a resource bank of guidance materials on key sustainability issues.
  • Support Programme Coordinator and Sr. Implementation Coordinator to conduct  capacity building trainings with Implementing Partner staff.
  • Support Programme Coordinator and Sr. Implementation Coordinator to identify the training needs of Producer Units’ staff. Collect feedback from Producer Units’ staff to ensure the continuous improvement of the BCI systems.

Information and Knowledge management

  • Collect project information on farmers and Producer Units structure and communicate to Sr. Implementation Coordinator so that the BCI project database is up-to-date and contains accurate information.
  • Contribute to the creation of communications material – case studies, stories from the field etc. – to be made available to members and partners, strengthening the story of Better Cotton.
  • Collect, review and organise National Guidance Materials developed by BCI and its Implementing Partners.
  • Communicate regularly with the Sr. Implementation Coordinator to ensure the workplan is up-to-date and revised as needed based on country-level changes or developments.

Beyond these specific responsibilities, the Programme Officer is expected to collaborate on activities agreed with the India Sr. Implementation Coordinator and Country Operations Manager.


The candidate will have the following Skills, Knowledge, and Experience:



  • Minimum of 2 years’ work experience, with at least 1 in a relevant field
  • Experience working as part of a team
  • Experience working with projects in rural settings
  • Experience in collecting, cleaning and verifying data and information


  • Experience in monitoring and evaluation and/or auditing and/or capacity building
  • Experience in cotton farming
  • Experience in agriculture

Skills and Knowledge


  • Master’s degree, or equivalent higher education qualification, in a relevant field
  • Demonstrated interest in sustainability and international development
  • Superior skills and aptitude to appraise arguments critically and logically, organise ideas in a clear and concise manner, and draw conclusions and formulate arguments in a way that is effective, concise, and precise
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, along with the ability to work independently and with initiative, and in a collaborative manner with a team.
  • Excellent written and communication skills with the ability to communicate clearly and concisely, and to assimilate and process information for wide-ranging audiences
  • Fluency in English and Hindi (spoken and written)
  • High proficiency in MS Office, particularly Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Outlook
  • Willingness to frequently travel domestically, and occasionally overseas
  • Good aptitude for statistics and data analysis


  • Objective and meticulous professional with the ability to multi-task
  • Academic background in rural/agricultural development and sustainability
  • Understanding of Decent Work principles in the context of India
  • Knowledge of cotton production
  • Knowledge of Punjabi / Gujarati / Marathi / Telugu

Working Arrangements

The successful candidate will report to the Sr. Implementation Coordinator – India.

The position is full-time (40 hours per week) and will be based in the BCI India office in Delhi (Jasola).Candidates based near cotton-growing regions of Maharashtra or Gujarat will also be considered.BCI offers flexible working, with core hours being 10am – 4pm and the option to work from home one day per week.

The successful candidate will receive an open-ended employment contract, with a 3-month initial trial period.

Frequent travel to cotton-growing states and regions will be required. Some international travel may be required.

How to apply


Interested applicants with the required attributes are asked to send, in English, a detailed CV and a brief motivation letter (2 pages maximum) to BCI by email at: recruitment.india@bettercotton.org  

We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only candidates short-listed for a telephone interview will be contacted.

BCI is currently unable to provide sponsorship for work permits, and candidates need to have a pre-existing right to work in the location where they will be based.

BCI is an equal opportunities employer, and is committed to good practice and transparency in the management of natural, human, and financial resources.




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