Program & Development Manager

Semilla Nueva
  • Location
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Jun 19

Position description

Malnutrition is one of the greatest barriers to the world’s poorest escaping poverty. The 900 million people in Africa and Central America who eat corn daily are some of the most affected, with nearly half of Guatemala’s children suffering from stunted growth. Semilla Nueva launched the world’s first social enterprise dedicated to the development, production, and sale of more nutritious, biofortified corn seed directly to small farming families. Farmers buying our seed increase their yields and incomes, while improving the diets of hundreds of thousands - and someday millions - of the world’s poorest consumers. It’s a scalable, sustainable way to give farming families what they most want, while providing malnourished children with what they most need. Our goal is to prove this model in Guatemala while improving the incomes of tens of thousands of families and the diets of millions of Guatemala’s poorest, before expanding the model through Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. At Semilla Nueva, we’re obsessed with impact at scale.

In 2018, our first year of sales, our seed took 1.3% of the Guatemalan seed market with nearly 2,000 families purchasing. We are hoping to grow that number nearly three-fold in 2019, and continue expanding rapidly - covering more of our organization’s costs through sales, while we deeply invest in impact evaluation, new seed development, and collaborations to scale our seeds internationally.

We’re a hybrid social enterprise (non-profit owns a for-profit company) of 23, mostly Guatemalan, staff. We work with some of the world’s leading scientists at organizations such as CIMMYT, Harvest Plus, and universities like Purdue, Iowa State, Tufts, and Harvard. Our donors include some of the most prestigious in the space of impact philanthropy, including Cartier Philanthropy, Mulago and the U.S. Government. Our seeds are based on conventional breeding (non-GMO), although we are not opposed to well-tested biotechnology. Our work has led to rapid growth and international recognition, including an Ashoka fellowship, Mulago fellowship, and Forbes 30 under 30 for our founder.

Our team shares a common background. Whether from the private sector or NGO world, we have seen that most international development projects fail because they don’t focus on finding the intersection of what the world’s poorest want and what they most need. We’re looking for new team members who are smart, hungry, and humble - and who are just as obsessed with innovative ways to end world poverty as we are.

Summary of the Position

We are hiring a program and development manager to manage project reporting and administration, lead relationship building and proposal development with new donors, and manage Semilla Nueva’s development department. This role will be responsible for understanding and following rules of large donors such as USAID, collaborating with Semilla Nueva’s finance and operations teams to build systems for compliance, and leading Semilla Nueva’s general and project specific reporting processes. The Program and Development Manager will also collaborate closely with the executive director to develop relationships with both existing and new donors, oversee proposal writing, and oversee Semilla Nueva’s communication strategy and full-time communication coordinator. The program and development manager will be a senior leader on Semilla Nueva’s team, with the ability to participate in high level strategy development and the overall direction of the organization. Depending on experience, this position will be either invited directly to Semilla Nueva’s senior leadership team, or will have a path to grow as a leader into that role.

We are looking for a passionate, creative, and outgoing leader with a strong mind for problem solving, systems, and collaboration. We are also looking for a very strong writer and communicator.

The position will be based primarily in the SN main office in Guatemala City. While a majority of the work is officebased, the position will require field travel to understand Semilla Nueva’s programs and beneficiaries and keep our donors connected to the local farmers and the communities that we serve. Additional travel may include attending conferences, workshops, other events in Guatemala or internationally. The position will report to the executive director.



  • Bachelor’s degree in business, international development, global health, or related field required;
  • Minimum 3-5 years’ professional experience in international development programs. Experience in Latin America or Guatemala preferred;
  • Excellent writing/communications skills, with an ability to communicate complicated ideas simply and concisely;
  • Minimum two years of grant writing, fundraising or business experience;
  • Fluent in English – the majority of the applications, reports and communications with partners will be in English. Proficient Spanish for internal and external communications;
  • High attention to detail;
  • Demonstrated interest in rural agriculture and food security, and a passion to see change in Guatemala;
  • Demonstrated leadership, stress-management and flexibility in the work environment.


  • Graduate study in business, international development or a related field;
  • Experience with client management and CRM software, preferably Salesforce;
  • Experience with grant writing and reports;
  • Leadership experience in an international development organization or business;
  • Ability to drive a manual transmission vehicle or willingness to learn;
  • Experience with fundraising and relationship management.


  • Full-time position based in Guatemala City;
  • Minimum commitment of two years;
  • Ability to work independently, proactively, and prioritize/coordinate a variety of activities;
  • Ability to creatively problem-solve in challenging work environments;
  • Comfortable traveling to and staying in rural parts of Guatemala with difficult living conditions;
  • Comfortable driving in Guatemala, with a valid driver’s license.

Specific Tasks

1. Compliance, Design, and Reporting – This position will be Semilla Nueva’s primary focal point for understanding the requirements of Semilla Nueva’s current institutional donors such as USAID. This position will work with the operations team to develop systems to ensure compliance, provide data, and create efficient systems for reporting. The program and development manager will need to efficiently maintain a system to track reporting deadlines and supervise report creation and submission. Reporting compliance and performance will be measured through donor surveys conducted by the program and development manager to evaluate donor satisfaction and feedback from the operations and finance teams.

2. Relationship Development and Management – The program and development manager will be responsible for maintaining and developing relationships with both new and existing foundations and large donors. The position will oversee tracking of all relationships using a CRM. The position will also manage our communications coordinator’s efforts to create decks, one-pagers, graphics, investor calls, and strategically use social media to provide critical information to donors. The program and development manager will also be responsible for planning and organizing field visits with partners and donors out in the field, showcasing our programs to generate interest. Finally, the position will need to answer difficult questions on Semilla Nueva’s strategic plan, proposals, and financials—using relevant details to clear up or redirect inquiries while also being open about when we don’t have answers.

3. Research and Proposal Writing – The program and development manager is responsible for the continuous research of and outreach to grant-making institutions and project partners. This will include developing and maintaining systems such as a database of potential opportunities and calendars to track calls for proposals. Working with the executive director and potentially sub-contracted writing services, this position will manage the process of reaching out to new organizations, organizing meetings, writing LOIs and full proposals. Proposal design will require ongoing communication with our finance and operations teams to ensure that project budgets and communicated target goals meet organizational needs.

4. Management and Leadership – The program and development manager will need to integrate systems for managing compliance and reporting, funder development, leadership within Semilla Nueva and management of their department and report. This position will require someone who is both highly organized, a good problem solver, and also flexible to negotiating between the needs and issues of different stakeholders both internally and externally. Semilla Nueva is a quickly growing and maturing start-up and requires strong candor, communication abilities, and grit.

Salary: Competitive local salary, dependent on experience Before applying, please review our website:, including videos and annual reports.

Application instructions

To apply please send your cover letter and CV to [email protected]. Please note “program and development manager” in the subject line of your email and copy [email protected] and [email protected]. Be sure to specify your available start date.

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