Agribusiness Specialist

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Agribusiness & Economic Development Volunteers assist Ugandan households in achieving economic security and improved food security. Volunteers work with community members to build the capacity of women, youth and farmers to apply improved money management practices, develop their entrepreneurial potential, support the communities to implement income generating activities and increase households’ adoption of nutritious diets and food choices. Volunteers work in rural communities where people have a higher need for food security and economic development opportunities especially in areas not reached by other organizations. Volunteers also work with schools, health centers and other stakeholders to promote the adoption of nutritious diets and food choices among households.

In communities where Volunteers work, household members often lack the skills to pursue available employment opportunities, the capacity to create their own employment and economic opportunities and the critical money management skills needed to manage household income and expenses. Volunteers work to strengthen the skills and capacity individuals need to contribute to the economic security and upward economic mobility of their households.

Activities may include but are not limited to:
• Train community groups on money management best practices which include: budgeting, bookkeeping, record keeping and financial literacy.
• Support the formation and strengthen village savings and loans associations.
• Train youth on entrepreneurship and livelihoods.
• Train the youth, farmers and women on the selection and implementation of viable income generating activities.
• Advise farmers on post-harvest handling to reduce waste and increase profitability through value-addition and income generating activities as a form of achieving food security.
• Demonstrate and assist community members in preparing household gardens to grow variety of nutritious diets.
• Train households on how to cook recipes that incorporate nutrient rich foods to improve women’s and children’s diets.

Volunteers work with an array of unstructured and semi-structured groups and host-organizations, including Farmer Groups, Women and Youth Groups, Coffee Cooperatives, non-governmental, community-based, and faith-based organizations. Each host-organization and community is unique in its needs, opportunities, and challenges. One opportunity that will present itself across the board is the need for financial literacy and saving training. Many Ugandans are small business owners, yet there is a lack of basic budgeting and recordkeeping skills. Many women cannot access loans as a result of conditions attached by banks and other lending institutions which hinder their financial inclusion process. Village saving and loans associations present a great opportunity for Volunteers to serve.

Your ability to cope with these challenges will depend on your flexibility, patience, humility, and good humor to the point of not to come to Uganda and “fix” things. Rather, you will be most successful when you work with your community and host organization to collaboratively and creatively find ways to address issues with the limited resources that are locally available.

Peace Corps Uganda promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers receive training on gender challenges and have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During service, Volunteers look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of their work, Volunteers will also report on these efforts and their impact. Volunteers invited to this project are expected to work as professionals and will be periodically evaluated as such.

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Economics or a degree combining agriculture and management, including agribusiness, agricultural management, farm management
• At least 3 years of experience in farm management and/or agribusiness
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any business or economics discipline with 1 year experience in farming or agribusiness

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have the following relevant qualifications and qualities:

• Small-scale farming and experience with agricultural value addition and post-harvest handling
• Expressed interest working with small-scale farmers and youth in various capacities including entrepreneurship training
• Expressed interest working in micro-finance and small business development
• Flexibility living in another culture and/or working in an unstructured environment

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

Trainees will receive 4 weeks of training in the local language used in their assigned community and must attain intermediate proficiency in said language before swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Support, such as extended tutoring or accommodations for learners with special needs are in place to help each trainee achieve the language proficiency needed for community integration and effective work. Volunteers are required to continue to improve their language skills throughout the course of their service.

Living Conditions

Volunteers usually live in a rural or semi-urban community in accommodations provided by the host organization or a homestay. While housing seems modest by US standards, it is often provided at great expense to the host agency or community, given their limited means. Housing conditions vary in terms of resources, though they meet basic Peace Corps housing standards. Most rural Volunteers are likely to have no running water and some will not have electricity, use a lantern or solar lamp for lighting and a stove for cooking. Volunteers in rural communities will likely use outdoor bathing areas and pit latrines. The situation is often different in urban communities.

Cell phone service is available across the country especially where Volunteers are placed. Wi-Fi and internet is not common in rural areas and usually unreliable if available. Cyber cafes and internet connectivity are available within urban areas. USB modems and smart phones are available for purchase and can be used for internet access in some places. Mail and post generally take a long time, but Volunteers can readily communicate through smart phones. Volunteers are encouraged to bring a laptop which will enable them to complete assignments off-line and upload them at a later date. Please note that tablets and smart phones are not an effective alternative.

Trainees stay with host families for four weeks during Pre-Service Training (PST). A private, lockable room will be provided within the host family accommodation. Trainees will, however, share common areas with the family. The homestay accommodation provides an opportunity for Volunteers to be familiar with cultural norms in Uganda. In addition, some Volunteers will also live with home-stay families during their two years of service at site.

Volunteers could be a 2-3 hours’ drive from another Volunteer in some areas, while others are much closer to each other. The site placement process will enable staff to determine whether Volunteers prefer to be clustered or more distantly placed from other Volunteers. Getting around will be by walking, riding a bicycle for a distance of about 10 kilometers, or using local transportation. Public transportation is available near most communities and allows for transit to and from the nearest urban areas or trading centers, though it is likely to be crowded, uncomfortable, and unreliable. Volunteers are provided funds to buy a local bicycle. Many of the community members use this mode of transportation, too. Due to safety risks, Peace Corps Uganda prohibits the use of public motorcycle taxis by Volunteers.

Uganda is a very conservative culture. As outsiders, Volunteers are often heavily scrutinized. Living and working productively in Uganda means being able to adjust to different cultural norms, as that can deeply impact community integration and credibility. Ugandans are interested in visitors and are welcoming and open when they feel mutual respect and understanding.

Peace Corps Uganda provides support to a diverse group of Volunteers of various faiths, identities, and sexual orientations. It is important to note that Uganda has restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms and country-specific laws, and use their best judgment to determine how to approach topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and host country. Many Volunteers in Uganda keep their sexual orientation private during the course of their service. Staff will address how to navigate this aspect of identity during pre-service training, and what support mechanisms are available for incoming trainees. Please refer to the Local Laws and Special Circumstances of the U.S. Department of State's travel page for more information (https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/uganda.html). Prospective Volunteers are encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns during the interview.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Uganda: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions:

• Community Health Specialist
• Community Health Educator

Couples will live within the same host family and community during Pre-Service Training (PST), but can be separated for certain technical trainings throughout PST.

During service, couples can expect to periodically attend project-specific trainings, medical appointments, committee meetings, and other programming meetings separately as needed.

Medical Considerations in Uganda

  • Uganda may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; insulin-dependent diabetes; gastroenterology; some types of gynecologic support; seizure disorder; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified.  
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified.
  • After arrival in Uganda, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and to receive mandatory immunizations.

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.


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