Program Associate

One Acre Fund, Zomba, Malawi

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
21st October, 2018

Job Description

The Malawi programme is currently a growth country, transitioning from a pilot environment to a mature country. Hence we are seeking a mid-career professional with demonstrated operations management ability to help us build the team and systems we need to deliver impact to farmers efficiently. We are looking to bring on an additional leader, Program Associate, to our Field Operations team in Malawi.

As a member of the Field Operations leadership team, your responsibilities will include:

Strategy & Implementation

  • You will lead part of the team to directly implement the Malawi core program, including key activities such as marketing and farmer enrollment (sales), input delivery, farmer training, and credit collection.
  • You will measure progress against goals, regularly report on progress, and hold the team accountable for prioritizing and delivering results in key strategic areas, such as program impact, efficiency, and density (inward growth).
  • You will help to lead the team through change, guide the team in troubleshooting challenges and provide strategic focus and direction.
  • You are detailed-oriented and will continuously find new ways to streamline documentation processing and knowledge management for an operation that is rapidly growing.
  • Together with country leadership, you will help set and steer the course for One Acre Fund Malawi's 5 to 15-year vision.
  • You will support the annual goal setting and planning processes for the Field Operations Division. Helping to ensure annual plans align with the long-term vision and targets.
  • You will be the gatekeeper of the Field Calendar and ensure excellent execution throughout the season.

Transformation & Innovation

  • You will be tasked with recommending efficiency plays to senior leadership and identifying areas for cost savings and programme improvements.
  • Crafting new business models to transform Malawi Field Operations into a leaner, more efficient, and less complex model.
  • You will develop key initiatives that will enable One Acre Fund to generate higher impact/farmer at reduced cost and thus unlock future outward growth for the program.
  • You will be creating and supporting ideas that will help One Acre Fund reach its goal of serving hundreds of thousands of farmers in the coming years. Among other things, this will entail providing regular feedback on trial ideas and practical support to our innovations teams as they work to integrate new products and new program design ideas into our core operations.

Lead People

  • You will be in one of the leadership positions for our largest department, including a 120+ field team, and around 6 HQ staff.
  • You'll establish and cultivate strong relationships to ensure that all staff on the Field Operations team can maximize their career performance and job satisfaction as part of the One Acre Fund family.
  • You'll epitomize One Acre Fund's value of being a family of leaders by developing and maintaining processes ensuring that everyone - from those directly reporting to you to the newest Field Officer in our program - is continually mentored, challenged, and supported by the organization.

On a day-to-day basis, your role will involve a mix of activities, similar to the below:

  • Understanding and solving problems: observing field operations, meeting with leaders of our field staff, running surveys, conducting desk research, analyzing KPIs, etc. Then creating simple and lasting solutions to complex problems.
  • Planning and executing large projects: identifying clear goals, creating project calendars, designing workflows, creating field tools and talking points, designing incentive systems and understanding stakeholders, following up and monitoring project execution in the field, etc.
  • Building teams: hiring staff using One Acre Fund’s unique “experiential hiring” system, mentoring key deputies, and steadily handing off responsibility to your team as you build it.
  • Communicating with other teams: working in coordination with One Acre Fund’s other teams on the ground to execute a smooth customer experience in the simplest way possible.

Career Growth and Development

One Acre Fund invests in building management and leadership skills. Your manager will invest significant time in your career development. We provide constant, actionable feedback delivered through mentorship and through regular management consulting-style career reviews. We also have regular one-on-one meetings, where we listen to and discuss career goals, and work collaboratively to craft roles that each person can be passionate about. Because of our rapid growth, we constantly have new high-level roles opening up and opportunities in many functions. This results in fast career growth for our staff.


We are seeking a talented professional with solid experience in leading large teams and executing at scale. Most importantly, the successful candidate will have solid strategic thinking skills, as well as enjoy problem-solving and working in a fast-paced and high-stakes environment. In addition, a solid track record for developing talent and fostering professional growth in others is strongly desired. Other criteria:

  • Mission-driven individual that can align 100% with OAF's values in putting farmers first.
  • 5+ years of professional experience - ideally with experience implementing operational efficiency measures.
  • Minimum 3 years direct management experience with strong examples of people development.
  • Strong leadership experience and ability to lead a team in setting a vision, annual strategy and goals and hold everyone accountable to it.
  • Humility. We are looking for passionate professionals who combine strong leadership skills with good humor, patience, and a humble approach to service to join our growing family of leaders.
  • Experience with microfinance or field-based sales team preferred.
  • Language: English required.


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