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Value Chain Specialist


12 Months | Start Date between Jul - Sep 2018


Location Kingston, Jamaica

Start Date Jul - Sep 2018(flexible)

Length of Placement 12 Months

Language Requirements English

English Reading: Level 5, Writing: Level 5, Speaking: Level 5

Language Scale: http://www.cusointernational.org/languageratingscale

Open to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada only

The Volunteer’s Role


The overall purpose of the placement is to support the Cuso International Country Program Office (CPO)-Jamaica in building out its value chain program area. Cuso Jamaica is looking to expand its work, develop partnerships, implement initiatives and broad its scope of work in sustainable livelihoods.   Working in value chains is an exciting and emerging field in Jamaica. The opportunity to work with partners in developing aspects of the value chain is critical at this time as Jamaica looks to increase its focus on food resiliency and climate change. The Value Chain Specialist will be integral in identifying partners working in value chains, identifying what elements of the value chain to develop and to provide support in carrying out workshops and training for partners and beneficiaries on key value chain concepts.

As a volunteer, you will:

-Review value chain research conducted in 2017 and support in implementing recommendations relating to developing value chain initiatives with partner organizations

- Conduct value chain training with key stakeholders, using Cuso International Value Chain Manual

-Support CPO in identifying areas of funding/access to funding for value chain initiatives to benefit both Cuso and partners

-Work with selected partner organizations to develop specific aspects of the value chain in their agro-businesses

-Support CPO in conducting research into feasibility to pursue urban agriculture as new area of work for Cuso Jamaica

Essential Academic Qualifications:

Combination of courses or training in value chain development, sustainable development or related discipline

Essential Professional Background:

-Experience developing and implementing value chain initiatives

-Experience working with agro-processors

-Experience working with rural agricultural groups

-Experience or ability to conduct research

-Good experience working with teams   

-Experience conducting training and developing resource materials


About Our Partner


Cuso International Jamaica Office

Cuso International Jamaica is part of the Caribbean Region of Cuso International. The region has a new strategy (2015-2020) focusing on inclusive sustainable economic growth and gender equality and social inclusion.


The expected outcomes of the Caribbean strategy are:

  1. Improved employment status of poor and marginalized people, particularly women and youth.
  2. Micro-, small- and medium-size private enterprises – with high potential to generate incomes for poor and marginalized women and men – are more viable, more responsive to market opportunities and more socially / environmentally responsible.
  3. Communities, governments and private businesses use natural resources more inclusively, equitably and sustainably and are less vulnerable to extreme weather.
  4. Improved food security for poor and marginalized people, particularly women, children and youth, with increased food production and improved climate resilience in agriculture, livestock, horticulture and fisheries production.

Increased stakeholder recognition of the capacities and rights of women and marginalized groups to participate in and benefit from natural resources management and income-generating activities.

  1. Increased security from violence, both inside and outside the home, for poor and marginalized women and girls.
  2. Increased capacity of women and men from excluded groups to shape decisions that affect their day-to-day lives.
  3. Poor and marginalized men and boys achieve more positive masculine identities that reject discrimination against women and excluded groups.


Program strategy/ background information :


Youth Social and Economic Inclusion

Young women and men in the Caribbean are disproportionately affected by unemployment, crime, poverty and inequality. The rate of youth unemployment is at least twice that of national averages and youth are overly represented as victims of, or perpetrators to crime – a significant development challenge considering that young people under the age of 30 comprise 60% of the Caribbean region and more than a quarter of the Region’s unemployed is between 25 and 34 years of age (CARICOM 2010).


World Bank statistics show that unemployment rates in most countries in the region tend to be high. For instance, Barbados recorded 10.3% unemployment, Belize, 10% and Jamaica, 15.1%. High levels of open urban unemployment prevail in the larger countries while rural unemployment and underemployment exist in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Overall the trends indicate higher female unemployment amongst youth (except in Trinidad & Tobago); the most extreme case of this being in the case of Jamaica where there is almost twice the number of unemployed women to men – (14.8% women vs 8.6% men, UNFPA). Many countries are encouraging a shift to focus on entrepreneurship as a means to fuel economic growth, however, women have a more difficult time starting businesses. Additional mentorship & support services for them are needed. In LAC, Jamaica is ranked last based on principal factors influencing the environment for women entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses.

Extracts from the Cuso International, Caribbean National Volunteering Strategy Document, 2014

In an effort to address these developmental challenges, Cuso International works with its partners to identify opportunities in emerging industries and sector to alleviate the problems faced by women and youth. In recent years, development actors in the Caribbean have increased their efforts in supporting women and youth in establishing entrepreneurial ventures, and now more inclined to pursue “green businesses and green funding.

Cuso International’s approach to support our partners over the years has been to work alongside local organizations working to provide access to new opportunities for employment, whether through entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, vocational skills training or other strategies that allow for youth economic inclusion and community participation. In light of this Cuso International will work to support its partners in identifying opportunities and supporting the development of “green businesses” across the region


Terms and Conditions


Cuso International terms and conditions allow you to lead a modest and healthy lifestyle while being effective in your placement. This support package will cover basic living expenses for one volunteer and is not intended to cover home-based expenses (ex. loans, support payments, etc.) or luxury items such as imported items in placement or international personal travel.


Support Package

- Modest monthly living allowance (varies depending country)

- Accommodation while in placement

- Return airfare and visa/work permit costs

- Cost of required vaccinations, antimalarial medication and health insurance

- Pre-departure training and in-country orientation

- Travel and accommodation for reintegration debriefing weekend

- Modest support for accompanying partners and dependents going on placement with you for 12 months or longer

- Access to Employee Assistance Program while in placement and upon return

- Cuso International assessment day (Candidates must cover the first $200 of the most cost-effective travel expenses and all accommodation costs).

- Travel and accommodation for the five-day pre-departure training course and for in-country orientation



We ask each volunteer, regardless of placement length, to raise $2,000. All volunteers receive support from Cuso International to help achieve the goal through fundraising. If the volunteer chooses not to fundraise or is unable to achieve the fundraising goal, he/she can make a one-time donation or become a monthly donor to support our work.



Depending on the nature of the placement, volunteers are encouraged to provide e-volunteering support to the local partner or Cuso International before or after the field placement. Volunteers also have the option of requesting support from an e-volunteer to help them with their work while they are in placement.


Residency and Citizenship  



The majority of Cuso International volunteer applicants are residing in Canada at the time of application and during the pre-departure process. Occasionally we received applications from volunteer applicants who are residing outside of Canada at the time of application. In both instances, between your application date and placement start date, we must be able to contact you and you must be able to contact us easily and promptly throughout the process.

We may require your passport and would need to be aware of your current place of residence and any travel plans you may have during this time. You will also require unrestricted access to Canada during this time for assessment and training, as applicable.



Leaving your country of residence can have significant effects on your citizenship status in that country. It is your responsibility to research the consequences of travelling to Canada during the pre-departure process if you are living outside of Canada and of leaving your country of residence for a placement with the immigration authority where you live.

By applying to this placement, you accept full responsibility for any consequences related to your citizenship, residency and immigration status or penalties as a result of travel to an assessment day, training course, international placement or other Cuso International related travel.

You  must  check the implications that apply to you, but examples include:

  • Canadian permanent residents may need to make arrangements with immigration authorities before travelling. These arrangements allow them to travel without risk to their status in Canada. Without them, residency status may be withdrawn.
  • Citizens of other countries, including those visiting Canada on a visa, may have travel restrictions.