Business Development Advisor
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Peace Corps domestically and internationally.
The information provided for each assignment is subject to change, including the tentative departure date.
Agribusiness & Economic Development Volunteers assist Ugandan households in achieving economic security and improved food and nutrition 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 strengthening of 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 a 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.
COVID-19 Volunteer Activities
In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.
Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any business discipline
• 5 years professional experience in business management
The most competitive candidates will have one or more of the following:
• Demonstrated interest in business development, entrepreneurship, business planning and supporting startup businesses
• Experience working with microfinance institutions, youth entrepreneurship, small business development.
• Interest in working with women, farmers and/or youth
• 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
• 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. Trainees must attain an Intermediate-Low rating on the Language Proficiency Index (LPI) before swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Support, such as extended tutoring or other accommodations, are in place to help each trainee achieve the language proficiency needed for community integration and effective work.
Volunteers usually live in a rural or semi-urban community in accommodations provided by the host organization or in 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 11 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 homestay 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 (about 6 miles), 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 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. Please refer to the Local Laws and Special Circumstances of the U.S. Department of State's travel page for more information on Ugandan laws (https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/uganda.html).
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 teachers, build meaningful friendships with host country nationals, and feel rewarded by their service.
Serving in Uganda
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Uganda: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
Peace Corps Uganda accepts couples. Your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions:
• Community Health Specialist
• Community Health Educator
• Early Childhood Literacy Teacher
Couples will live within the same host family and community during Pre-Service Training (PST), but can be separated for certain technical training's throughout PST.
During service, couples can expect to periodically attend project-specific trainings, medical appointments, committee meetings, and other programming meetings separately as needed.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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