Posted on November 13, 2012
Village Enterprise - Conservation Fellow
Summary: Project management & operations oversight including designing, refining and implementing innovative business development and conservation programs in rural East Africa.
Industry: Nonprofit/International Development/Social Entrepreneurship
Function: Special Project Management & Operations Support
Reports to: Senior Director of Programs and Operations
Job Location: Hoima, Uganda, with frequent trips to Soroti (UG) & Kakamega (KE)
Duration: Minimum of 1 year, opportunity to extend.
Start Date: January 16, 2013
We are seeking exceptional professionals with an interest in social entrepreneurship, international development, business development, microenterprise development, conservation and poverty reduction in Africa to become a Village Enterprise Fellow and play two main roles in the organization:
1) Design, implement and manage innovative pilot projects and as well as current Special Projects in a team effort with Village Enterprise staff.
2) Support our East African staff to implement and improve the organization’s core program.
Managing the Budongo Integrated Conservation and Micro enterprise Development Project
Overview: Since 2008, Village Enterprise has been operating a project in Western Uganda around the Budongo Forest in Uganda, promoting conservation awareness and education in addition to our core program of Business Training/Mentoring, seed capital and Business Savings Groups. Located in Africa’s important Albertine Rift region, the Budongo Forest Reserve is one of western Uganda’s critical chimpanzee habitats with roughly 800 chimpanzees. It is ranked within the set of 16 chimpanzee conservation units (CCU) in East/Central Africa that in total, if protected and well managed, would conserve about 96% of the current known population of eastern chimpanzees as well as capture much of the ecological variation found throughout the range of this subspecies. Threats include both illegal activities and local poverty which forces people to supplement their incomes with forest products. Often, programs that attempt to address both conservation and poverty alleviation fail to reach the poor on a large scale. In partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute and other local conservation organizations and government, we provide conservation and small business training to rural entrepreneurs, seed capital grants or non-cash assets, business savings program and long-term mentoring to start and sustain their small businesses. We are committed to integrating conservation thinking and sustainability practices into our microenterprise model in order to protect the biodiversity of the Budongo Forest and chimpanzees, and to lift the poverty burdens of the adjacent villages.
Fellow’s Operations Role: Assist in the implementation, monitoring and expansion of the Budongo Project. Provide management oversight and leadership in the Hoima office; promote a strong work ethic among the Regional Manager and Business Mentors and communicate regularly with the main Ugandan Office in Soroti. As the liaison between the Uganda staff and Field Operations team, submit reports to the Field Operations Team and Development Team in the US.
Fellow’s Conservation Role: Manage communication with all Conservation partners in the field, assisting the Regional Manager when appropriate. Continue to improve and develop Conservation Training material, working closely with field partners. Guide the Micro enterprise Development Plan (MED) in the Budongo region and train the Business Mentors on the appropriate businesses for Budongo.
In addition to working on the Budongo Project, Fellows will support our country staff to improve operations of our core program.
Assist with the implementation and evaluation of our Core Program. Gain insightful experience in how a field office operates while contributing to VE's Core Program developed over the last 20 years.
Help develop an evaluation schedule and standard assessment tool for the Core Program.
Assist the M&E Coordinator with the 5 year Monitoring & Evaluation Plan, implementing tasks specific to Budongo.
Due to the realities on the ground and the management responsibility for such projects, we require a minimum time commitment of one year. After 10 months, the Operations Team will conduct a Fellow Performance Review and assuming very good performance, we will explore future job opportunities within the organization beyond the one-year Fellowship.
We are looking for someone who can execute, can work both independently and as a member of a team, and can think big all at the same time. Ideally we are looking for:
Education: Masters degree is required with concentration in International Development, Economic Development, Environmental or Conservation Studies
2+ years of work experience:
- Experience in a management/leadership role is preferred
- Experience living/working/traveling in a developing country or emerging economy
- Experience in project design, business planning, product innovation or other entrepreneurial activities
Critical Thinking & Analysis Skills:
- Must be a very strong critical thinker able to identify potential solutions to challenges in new environments
- Must be able to use Excel to analyze data, budgets and financial reports
Work independently and as part of a team:
- Experience working effectively in a highly independent capacity – self-managing, taking ownership of goals, developing work plans and self-deadlines
- Experience working as part of a diverse team and willingness to work via email, skype and other Internet based communications
- Strong writing and oral communication skills required, as this role will involve report writing and training at times
- Dedication to producing and executing high quality projects, tasks and recommendations quickly, with a high level of accuracy and systematic attention to detail
- Passion for innovative approaches to poverty reduction around the world, including but not limited to social entrepreneurship and business development in Africa
Willingness to commit to living in rural areas of East Africa:
- This involves living in areas where there are few other foreigners/expats, few stores and restaurants, limited access to electricity at times, unpaved roads that lead to bumpy/uncomfortable car rides during field work
- We are asking for a minimum commitment of 1 year and we expect all candidates to be willing to commit to this time period even if the going gets tough
- All candidates must have the ability to be patient and adaptable in difficult work situations. There are many challenges to working in rural East Africa and patience is required to be effective in this environment. Must be able to adapt when required (which is often)
Language: Fluency in English required; Swahili is not required
Other skills/experience desired, but not required:
- Experience in curriculum development: this role will require curriculum development for VE's Training Program
- Strong IT skills preferred, including database management, network setup & troubleshooting
Compensation: In their first year, Fellows will receive a stipend of $8,000 paid over 12 months and the following benefits.
Career development: Project management experience on the ground in East Africa and significant investment in career development. This is a career-track role in international development and social business, offering significant opportunities for advancement at VE and other organizations working in the fields of poverty reduction, international development, microenterprise and Small to Mid-Sized Enterprise (SME) development, microfinance and social entrepreneurship.
- International flights to East Africa - one roundtrip
- Kenya & Uganda visas
- International travel insurance, Emergency evacuation insurance, Flying Doctors insurance coverage, stipend for local health clinic
- Accommodations provided for the whole year
- All in-country travel, phone, internet & accommodations related to work
- Stipend paid on a monthly basis dependent on experience and education of candidate
Email cover letter and resume to Anne Olson, email@example.com, cc: Philip Arscott, firstname.lastname@example.org (Subject line: Conservation Fellowship Application).
In your cover letter, make sure to answer the following questions:
- Why do you want to work in rural East Africa?
- What specific leadership or management experiences have you had that will prepare you for this role?
- What areas do you hope to develop/grow the most through this fellowship?
- What will be the biggest challenge for you in this role and how will you overcome it?
- If you had $1,000,000 what would you do to reduce poverty in East Africa?