Fellowship Number: 
Field Location: 
Kampala, Uganda
Policy Location: 
Washington, DC
General Scope of Work: 
Financial services for smallholder farmers
Description of Organization: 

The National Cooperative Business Association(NCBA) is the nation’s oldest and largest national membership association, representing cooperatives of all types and in all industries. We are democratically organized and operate according to internationally recognized cooperative principles. Our comprehensive programs help co-ops strengthen their businesses so they can better serve their members and transform the global economy. NCBAprovides a strong, unified voice on Capitol Hill, and diligently works with lawmakers to enact cooperative-friendly legislation.

NCBA/CLUSA Internationalbecame involved in the promotion of the spirit of cooperation internationally, through its CLUSA International Program. NCBA’s CLUSA International Program’s history includes work on hundreds of projects in more than 100 countries. Early in our history, NCBA’s CLUSA International Program focused primarily on creating and strengthening cooperative businesses overseas, but in recent decades, we have broadened our focus to work with groups and group-enterprises in many different sectors to utilize their newly found strength as a group to improve its members’ lives.

The CLUSA International Program works in the following sectors: Cooperative Development, Agriculture and Food Security, Democracy and Governance, Natural Resource Management (NRM), Community-Based Health. 

Project Description: 

During the field year the fellow will work with the three-year CLUSA International Food for Progress Uganda Conservation Farming (CF) Initiative (UCFI) funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. The program will be completing its second year of implementation when the fellow arrives. The program will work with 60,000 smallholder farmers in adopting minimum tillage conservation farming techniques as well as strengthening the entire maize, pulses and soybeans value chains including interventions in production, input supply, farmer group strengthening, marketing, as well as financial linkages. This three-year initiative will assist smallholder farmers in 13 districts in 4 sub regions in northern Uganda.

CLUSA Uganda will partner with commercial buyers and work through their extension staff/agents to train 60,000 smallholder farmers in CF technology transfer as well as additional training in post-harvest handling. CLUSA Uganda will be responsible for the field based business advisors who will provide back-up support to the company’s extension staff and be charged with providing business and marketing assistance to farmer groups that have been trained in CF as well as agro-input suppliers.

CLUSA Uganda will partner with the following stakeholders:

  • Ministry of Agriculture Extension staff willing to assist with training farmer groups;
  • Private Sector Companies working in the maize, pulse, and soybean value chains;
  • NGOs including National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO);
  • Producer organizations (POs) and Depot Committees (DCs) supporting farmers maize, pulse, and soybean production and marketing;
  • Tillage Service Providers (TSPs) that are willing and able to switch from offering fee paying ploughing services to cheaper and more productive CF mechanized ripping services;
  • Agro-input dealers willing to make fair-priced and appropriate products and services accessible to smallholder farmers; and
  • CF equipment manufacturers willing to develop appropriate and affordable CF equipment for the beneficiaries and/or TSPs for purchase.

The following are the goals over the duration of the project:

  • 60,000 farmers trained in CF technologies;
  • 60,000 farmers trained in post-harvest handling, storage and bulk marketing
  • 5,000 lead farmers trained in CF practices
  • 100 agro-input suppliers trained in CF farming systems, product knowledge for CF, and business management skills;
  • 500 tiller service providers access training in CF tilling practices and business knowledge
  • 30% yield increase on CF plots;
  • 100 MoA extension staff trained as certified CF technical trainers;
  • 11 DCs created and/or strengthened with business plans and marketing plans; and
  • 2 tool manufacturers making CF tools for sale to farmers through agro-input suppliers.

The success of the program is based on full integration of the value chain from “farm to fork.” The increase in yields as a result of the conservation farming technology adoption will both increase food security for the smallholder farming families who participate in the program, as well as generate surplus commodities which when bulked will reap an increase in income for farmers to provide a better quality of life for their families and communities. 

Field Placement: 

The fellow would be an integral member of the technical team based in Kampala. The Kampala staff includes a Field Operations Manager, Agribusiness and Marketing Specialist and Financial Services Specialist. The fellow would make the fourth member of this team as the Financial Services Advisor.

The Kampala team leads the field team comprising of 2 Field Coordinators and 13 Agribusiness Advisors who are based at the district levels. The Financial Services Advisor will work closely with the Financial Services Specialist to design program interventions that will reduce financial bottlenecks for actors along the entire value chain allowing more sustainable program results.

The following are key deliverables for the fellow during the field year:

  • Complete a field study of the maize, bean, and soybean value chains to determine the bottlenecks and/or issues in accessing financing that is hindering value chain growth and sustainability (value chain meaning farmers, farmer groups, input suppliers, buyers, transporters, conservation farming tool manufacturers)
  • Document the implementation strategies and/or linkages that have already been created in the first 2 years of the program and the results to date;
  • Isolate those strategies and/or linkages that have not been successful and design new approaches;
  • Pilot new approaches with the CLUSA team;
  • For those bottlenecks and/or gap areas that the program has not worked on yet, develop approaches through working with CLUSA team members, talking to financial institutions and other potential partners and/or stakeholders;
  • Implement new approaches/ideas with the CLUSA team;
  • Document which approaches work in which situations;
  • Finalize the field year with a rough draft of a Financial Services Guide or a How to Manage Financial Bottlenecks using a Value Chain Approach – with guidance and templates for field practitioners in CLUSA to use in any country where we work;
  • Contribute directly to the program indicators including 12,000 farmers open bank accounts, 300 agro-input suppliers and/or tiller service providers linked to financial services, 44 savings and credit schemes created and/or enhances at farmer marketing committees, 66 farmer marketing committees linked to financial services, and 2 tool manufacturers linked to financial services by working closely with the CLUSA technical team to assist with program implementation activities.

The policy year will provide an opportunity to collect additional information from other NCBA/CLUSA programs and prior work conducted in field programs in order to complete the Guide. The National Cooperative Business Association has wide-reaching resources and contacts in the United States that the fellow will be able to leverage and incorporate into the Guide for an even more effective approach and rich implementation tools. 

Policy Placement: 

CLUSA International manages all field programs based on cooperative business principles while working with the entire agricultural value chains. CLUSA will be working on a Cooperative Development Manual as part of documenting the organizational policy that is implemented abroad throughout the many programs that CLUSA manages worldwide. The Financial Services Guide will be incorporated as part of the Cooperative Development Manual, and this will be institutionalized as a working document for all CLUSA programs into the future.

The following are key deliverables for the fellow during the policy year:

  • Work closely with the Program Manager to assist with various key tasks to support field operations including but not limited to budgeting and projections, program reporting, proposal development, and donor compliance;
  • Gather and review information on the historical institutional approach to financial services throughout the CLUSA field programs by reviewing previous reports and/or success stories, holding interviews with current CLUSA staff in DC and/or abroad;
  • Identify what has and what has not worked, including the use of technology and non-traditional financing mechanisms that are best suited for the type of groups that CLUSA works with;
  • Combine the knowledge gained in the field and the information gathered from other CLUSA sources to complete a Financial Services Guide draft that can then be shared with various CLUSA staff and feedback solicited;
  • Propose a framework to guide the design of financing-related activities within new projects as well as develop a list of key considerations for implementation of these activities;
  • Develop a tool to help monitor the effect of these activities on projects;
  • Take lead role in holding feedback meetings and facilitating decision making meetings as to what should and should not be included in the Guide;
  • Complete a final Financial Services Guide that can be incorporated organization-wide. 
Education/Experience Required: 
  • MBA or equivalent degree with business management emphasis
  • Research skills for field level surveys and analysis
  • Ability to be self-managed and work effectively as part of a team
  • High level English language skills both verbal and written
  • Advanced skills in excel and Microsoft office suite


  • Knowledge and/or work experience with cooperatives
  • Experience developing training curriculum for group-owned business using a grass roots approach
  • Some agriculture/agribusiness experience