Business Development Advisor

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Business Development Advisor contributes to Peace Corps Uganda’s Community Agribusiness Project by assisting Ugandan households in achieving economic security and upward economic mobility. Volunteers most frequently work with local leaders, community based organizations (both for profit and non-profit), and non-governmental organizations to improve individuals’ capacity to identify and pursue local economic opportunities. Given Uganda’s highly agricultural-based economy, many—but not all—of the income-generating activities and small-scale economic opportunities Volunteers support relate in some way to agricultural production, harvesting, processing, value addition, marketing, distribution or sales. Volunteers’ capacity building activities, however, specifically focus on increasing individuals’ access to savings and credit; promoting the adoption of personal money management skills; application of basic business skills; and entrepreneurial development.

The Community Agribusiness project also prioritizes capacity building activities that contribute to priority development goals in Uganda, including: food security, improved nutrition, gender equity, and positive youth development. Volunteers receive specific training on the aforementioned topics, including hands-on learning of proven practices and culturally appropriate approaches for implementing activities that support these development goals. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.

Volunteers collaborate with community members and their local organizations to identify existing community assets, prioritize local development goals, and implement appropriate interventions. As such, Volunteers will play the role of catalyst for a wide range of activities, limited only by the creativity of the community and the Volunteers, and guided by the project framework.
Activities may include but are not limited to:
• Training community groups on basic business skills (i.e. business planning, bookkeeping, marketing), financial literacy, nutrition and food security
• Supporting the creation, operation, and strengthening of village savings and loans associations
• Training and mentoring youth entrepreneurship activities (e.g. camps, clubs, business plan competitions)
• Supporting individuals in identifying and implementing agricultural-based income generating activities
• Supporting the development of community organizations’ capacity to contribute to community economic development efforts
• Demonstrating and assisting community members in preparing household gardens to grow variety of fruits and vegetables

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.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in business development and one or more of the following
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any business discipline OR
• 5 years of professional experience in business management

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following:
• Demonstrated interest and/or experience in one or more of the following areas: small- and medium-sized enterprise development, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, microfinance (including community-based savings groups)
• Expressed interest in working with the following target populations: women, youth (15-24), and small scale-farmers
• Organizational capacity building experience, especially with community-based organizations
• Knowledge or experience in economic development, business management, business consulting, or small- and medium-sized enterprise development
• Knowledge and/or experience in small-scale farming practices
• At least 3 years of experience in farm management, and/or agribusiness
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Economics or a degree combining agriculture and management, including agribusiness, agricultural management, farm management.
• Master of Arts/Master of Science degree in any business or economics discipline (including Master of Business Administration)

Required Language Skills

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

Trainees will receive 5 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.

Living Conditions

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

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 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 after PST.

Volunteers could be a 2-3 hours’ drive from another Volunteer, 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, 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 and unreliable. Volunteers are provided funds to buy a local bicycle. Due to safety risks, Peace Corps Uganda prohibits the use of public motorcycle taxis by Volunteers.

Although polite, warm and welcoming, Ugandans have a conservative culture compared to what many Americans may be used to. As outsiders and leaders in their communities, Volunteers are often heavily scrutinized and held to high standards. Living and working productively in Uganda means being able to adjust to different cultural norms which will impact community integration and credibility.

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. Staff and currently serving Volunteers 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.

Uganda can be a challenging cultural and physical environment but the majority of Volunteers are able to adjust and find great satisfaction in their work as Business Development Advisors, build meaningful friendships with host country nationals, and feel rewarded by their service.

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 Educator
• Business Development Advisor
• Community Health Specialist
• Agribusiness Advisor

An ideal match will be where one person has strong business/finance skills, and the other with strong Agriculture or nutrition skills.

During training couples may be separated for one week, but during service couples will live together in housing similar to other volunteers.

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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