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Peace Corps Volunteer
2 years, 3 months
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Up to 12 months
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3-6 months

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Business Development Advisor

Project description

Business Development Advising 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, implement income-generating activities and increase households’ adoption of nutritious diets. 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 household nutrition.

Volunteers collaborate with community members to strengthen the skills 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 budgeting, bookkeeping, recordkeeping and financial literacy.
• Support the formation and strengthening of village savings and loans associations.
• Train youth and women on entrepreneurship and economic empowerment skills and use of digital tools to promote entrepreneurship.
• Train youth, farmers and women on the selection and implementation of viable income-generating activities.
• Advise farmers on post-harvest handling and value addition to reduce waste and increase profitability through income-generating activities.
• Assist community members in preparing household gardens.
• Train households to prepare nutrient-rich foods to improve women’s and children’s diets.
• Create awareness and train community members on the effects of climate change and mitigation measures to create climate resilient and food secure communities.

Volunteers work with an array of groups and host-organizations, including farmers, women and youth groups, and coffee cooperatives as well as non-governmental, community-based, and faith-based organizations. Each host organization and community is unique in its needs, opportunities, and challenges. Many Ugandans are small business owners, and budgeting and recordkeeping skills are critical for their success. Many women cannot access loans because 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. Volunteers do not serve in communities to “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 resources that are locally available.

Peace Corps Uganda promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers receive training on gender challenges and can 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.

Following the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Business Development Advising Volunteers shall contribute to the global fight against COVID-19 by leveraging its unique structure and reach to complement interagency and host country efforts to enable communities impacted by COVID-19 to return to recover from and return to normal livelihood activities within the communities.

Required skills

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

Desired skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Experience working with microfinance institutions, youth entrepreneurship, small business development.
• Small-scale farming and experience with agricultural value addition and post-harvest handling.

Required language skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. Trainees will receive 120 hours of training in the local language used in their assigned community. Trainees must attain an Intermediate-Low rating on the Language Proficiency Index before swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Structured instruction and extended tutoring or other accommodations are in place to support each Trainee achieve the language proficiency needed for community integration and effective work. Each of the identified activities will require some level of language, Volunteers are therefore required to continue to improve their language skills throughout the course of their service. The set language benchmark at Close of Service is Advanced Low rating, and the benchmark at Mid-Service Training will be established and communicated accordingly.

Living conditions

Volunteers usually live in a rural or semi-urban community in accommodations provided by the host organization or a homestay. Housing conditions vary according to organization resources, though it meets Peace Corps’ housing standards with basic furnishings that may be supplemented with a modest settling-in allowance provided by Peace Corps. Most Volunteers living in rural areas are likely to have no running water and electricity, use a lantern or solar lamp for lighting and a stove for cooking. Outdoor bathing areas and pit latrines are likely in rural areas.

In addition to staying at the training center, trainees will also stay with host families for four weeks during Pre-Service Training (PST). Trainees will be provided with a room in the host family accommodation. The homestay accommodation provides an opportunity for Volunteers learn about the cultural norms in Uganda. The last week of PST will be spent in a designated hotel attending supervisor workshop, final PST assessment and preparation for swearing in ceremony. In addition, some Volunteers will also live with homestay families during their two years in their community.

Cell phone service is available across the country. Wi-Fi and internet are not common in rural areas and 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 offline and upload them later. Please note that tablets and smart phones are not an effective alternative.

Volunteers could be a 2-3 hours’ drive from another Volunteer in some areas, while others are much closer to each other. In their communities, Volunteers will get around by walking, riding a bicycle for about 10 kilometers (about 6 miles) round trip, 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. Volunteers are provided funds to buy a local bicycle. Many of the community members also use this mode of transportation. Due to safety risks, Peace Corps Uganda prohibits the use of public motorcycle taxis by Volunteers.

Uganda is a very conservative culture and 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 successful community integration and credibility. Ugandans 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, etc. 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

Peace Corps supports Volunteers as they adjust and adapt to their new cultural and physical environment. Volunteers find great satisfaction in their work, build meaningful friendships with host country nationals, and feel rewarded by their service.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in country: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and health/crime statistics in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Medical considerations

Before you apply, please review medical clearance and legal clearance to learn about the process.

Couples information

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 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.

The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process Recruiters and Placement Officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities. For more information please visit: https://www.peacecorps.gov/faqs/lgbtq/.

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