Job vacancy: Operations Lead in Rwamwanja (Uganda)

We're recruiting for a Operations Lead to join Xavier Project's Agricultural Social Enterprise in Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement, Uganda.

Location: Kampala, Uganda (with regular travel to Rwamwanja, Kamwenge District)
Salary: 5,000,000-6,000,000 Uganda Shillings per month gross (experience dependent)
Answers to: Xavier Project CEO
Open to: All applicants

About Xavier Project:

Xavier Project is an international NGO registered in Kenya, Uganda and the UK which specialises in building holistic partnerships with Refugee-Led Organisations (RLO) in refugee hosting areas. Xavier Project is a facilitator ensuring greater community ownership and self-reliance over humanitarian and development projects. We strengthen the RLOs’ capacity to design multi-year strategic plans to implement and manage pioneering community-led interventions which address core problems in their own communities.

Job description:

Xavier Project is looking to recruit for the position of ‘Operations Lead’ to be based in Kampala. We are currently setting the foundation for a maize milling and aggregation business starting in Rwamwanja, Kamwenge District, which aims to tackle market inefficiencies in the maize value-chain to support both Xavier Project’s charitable activities whilst maximising benefits to local smallholder farmers. We have raised the capital needed to launch the first phase of the social enterprise. Now we are seeking an especially experienced, skilled and visionary individual to creatively utilise our resources and connections already attained and lead on the development and scaling of this enterprise in Kamwenge and beyond.

The successful candidate is expected to use their entrepreneurial skills to sustain and develop the enterprise in alignment with Xavier Project’s vision to help refugee’s lead fulfilled and dignified lives. The candidate shall be supported by Xavier Project staff, but will work fairly independently. The candidate will run the first phase of the business which is already fully funded, and investors are looking to the long-term. The investors are keen for someone with initiative to help present plans on how best to develop and scale-out the profit and non-profit elements of the social enterprise, with guidance from Xavier Project staff and partner organisations. This is an exciting opportunity for anyone full of ideas on how to address inefficiencies within the Ugandan agricultural sector and generate profits which can be reinvested into activities to support smallholder farmers and refugee-led organisations.

Xavier Project’s Agricultural Social Enterprise:

In 2018, we developed a 20-acre commercial mixed farm to support our on-going work towards the localisation of development. Currently, the farm has been developing as a demonstration site to host a farmer training programme for the local refugee and host community. We are now launching the next phase of the agricultural social enterprise; centred around the aggregation and value-addition (milling) of maize grain. The enterprise is being designed to benefit the livelihoods of local smallholder farmers by improving access to market information and linkages, and with profits supporting farmer trainings and Xavier Project’s work with refugee-led organisations.

Xavier Project is setting up an electric-powered maize mill to mill 45 tonnes of maize per month in year one, increasing to 90 tonnes per month in year three. We will purchase maize grain at favourable rates from trainee farmers or trusted farmers and farmer groups within our network. We will then sell milled flour through a retail out-let in Rwamwanja, also at favourable prices for consumers, or store flour and sell in bulk outside of the sub-district when prices are higher. The mill will also be open for rental at favourable rates for smallholders to mill their grain for household consumption or sale. Tracking the market, we will guarantee in advance a more favourable minimum purchase price for grain close to the point of harvest so farmers can still obtain an income soon after harvest which is often necessary to meet immediate household needs. Our buying prices will then rise according to the market through the season. Through training we will also encourage farmers to store more grain to create a more balanced grain supply throughout the year. We will also encourage collective marketing to ease our collection and enable farmers to benefit from economies of scale.

Market prices can be monitored through the use of user-friendly technologies on basic mobile handsets. Using in-house technology, we will gather market data from farmers on all aspects of the value chain which will be packaged and shared back to them via SMS. This information will help us to decide our more favourable buying prices which can be communicated with suppliers in advance. Such information will help farmers as well as other buyers experience more financial security and make more informed business decisions and investments that will tackle current inefficiencies in the agriculture and food security sector in this region.

In return for better prices and market predictability, our suppliers will provide quality produce. Grain quality will be secured through training suppliers on best practice harvest and post-harvest handling and directly supporting farmer saving groups. Additional support could be provided to farmers including access to podcasts on financial literacy which could be tailored to include more technical information for farmers.

Essential Requirements:
Tertiary education in a relevant field
Highly entrepreneurial with proven experience of leading on business development, preferably in the agricultural/environment sector
Strong interpersonal skills and empathy, particularly with regards to working with vulnerable people including refugees
Proven experience in financial management
Strong skills in monitoring, evaluation and accountability
Experience in value-chain analysis
Experience in design thinking, high creativity and ability to be proactive in developing strategic plans and partnerships
Ability to work in a team and demonstrates strong leadership skills
Fluency in both spoken and written English language
Willingness to regularly travel within Uganda

Desired Features:
Access to a wide range of contacts to support the existing enterprise’s development
A strong understanding of the challenges faced by smallholder farmers, refugees and other marginalised communities in East Africa
A strong understanding of organic agricultural principles and the risks associated with the industrialization of agriculture on ecological and cultural diversity
Experience in the application of tech to agricultural value-chains and how this can benefit smallholder farmers, as well as related risks
A good understanding of key trends in the refugee and/or development situation in East Africa, and the meaning of localisation in development
Fieldwork experience in challenging contexts
Experience working with a diverse team of people from different backgrounds

How To Apply:
To apply for this position, we would like to ask you to complete and submit this online form. In addition, please submit your CV to and use your name and the job title “Chief Operating Officer for Xavier Project’s Agricultural Social Enterprise” in the email subject. Please note that only the CVs of long-listed candidates will be read so include the most relevant information from your CV in the application form.

The deadline for submitting the online form and sending your CV is midnight on the 16th May 2021. Kindly note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted. For more information about our work please visit

Xavier Project is an equal opportunity employer and therefore does not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, colour, origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability. This is a secure form and your application will only be read by Xavier Project’s selection panel for this position and the Xavier Project Human Resources department.

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