Chief of Party USAID ProMaize Program

Semilla Nueva

Semilla Nueva

Administration, Operations
Guatemala City, Guatemala · Guatemala · United States
Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2024

In 2011, 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. With a strong commitment to reaching the most vulnerable farmer households in Guatemala, Semilla Nueva is taking its efforts to scale through an ambitious, 3-year USAID-funded activity, ProMaize. The ProMaize project aims to scale a public-private partnership that creates and strengthens the market for high-yield biofortified maize seeds. Based on Semilla Nueva’s experience, key results from this effort include increased maize yields and rural incomes and reduced under-nutrition in Guatemala. Semilla Nueva is seeking a motivated, experienced individual to lead this project and to build the partnerships, systems and capacities needed to:

1) Continue improvement of the biofortified maize breeding program to sustain high yields.

2) Expand availability of high-performing, affordable bio-fortified maize seed to the Western Highlands of Guatemala and

3) Establish an appropriate (government-supported) subsidy that enables seed companies to sell biofortified seed at prices accessible to farmers normally not reached by the market.

The ProMaize Chief of Party will also manage a talented team that is committed to creating evidence for future expansion, specifically: evaluating the impact of biofortified corn consumption on the biological nutrition status of women and children under five years of age, as well as the economic impacts of new seeds on farmers’ incomes.

This position reports to Semilla Nueva’s Senior Operations Director and will collaborate with key technical partners, Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Agricolas (ICTA), Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura (IICA) and Instituto de Nutrición de Centro América y Panamá INCAP, as well as key Government of Guatemala ministries and Congressional members. The COP will have< both supervisory and strategic responsibilities and the ideal candidate will have experience leading USAID-funded projects and implementing programs that result in measureable improvements for poverty and nutrition in Guatemala.

Summary of the Organization

Semilla Nueva develops high-yielding, climate-resilient maize seeds that have been conventionally
bred (non-GMO) to have higher levels of the most important missing nutrients: zinc, iron, and quality
protein. Our approach to large-scale adoption of these seeds relies on three strategies:

  1. Breeding commercially competitive biofortified seeds, which can increase incomes and
    prevent crop losses for farmers who currently use older hybrid seeds or recycled OpenPollinated Varieties (OPVs);
  2. Piloting subsidies to seed companies to profitably sell new, higher-yielding, climate resilient,
    biofortified seeds at prices the poorest of the poor can afford.
  3. Working with governments to institutionalize these subsidies through paying for new subsidy
    mechanisms or modifying their existing subsidy mechanisms to focus on new, high-yielding,
    climate resilient, biofortified maize seeds.

Our goal is for a minimal amount of subsidy to lead hundreds of thousands or millions of farming
families to use biofortified seeds, consume biofortified maize, and sell biofortified maize into the market, while improving their incomes. The biofortified maize sold in the market will be purchased and eaten by millions of poor consumers, improving the nutrition of these populations.


Education: Masters degree or higher in agriculture, public health/nutrition, economics, development studies or related field.

Experience: At least 10 years of progressive responsibility working in agriculture, marketing,
nutrition or related fields. Prior experience working in Guatemala and at least 5 years’
experience in a senior management role leading complex agricultural or nutrition development

Required Skills/Experience:

  • Experience managing or leading USAID funded programs.
  • Demonstrated experience successfully managing professional relationships with U.S. and local government agencies, ministries, donors, and civil society.
  • Demonstrated success in project management, including; strategic program planning, work planning and budgeting, financial and administrative compliance, contract management and oversight, program monitoring and evaluation, report writing and documentation of program results.
  • Superior leadership, management, and communication skills.
  • Proven partnership management experience and ability to build and motivate teams/collaborations.
  • Ability to work independently, proactively, and prioritize/coordinate a variety of activities.
  • Ability to represent organizational values and develop strategy in a senior leadership role.
  • Ability to work effectively in a multicultural team.
  • Comfortable working in a fast-paced, constantly evolving work environment.


  • Strong time management, delegation, and prioritization skills.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Experience developing and implementing innovative nutrition programing.

Languages: English and Spanish fluency required.

Travel: Ability to undertake field travel (up to 25%).

Specific Tasks

The Chief of Party will be an experienced manager whose responsibilities include:

  • Primary liaison with USAID Guatemala on all strategic, technical, and management matters associated with the ProMaize project and is responsible for all implementation tasks.
  • Primary liaison with the Government of Guatemala; ensures successful client relationship and fosters strategic opportunities sustaining a government-supported biofortified maize seed subsidy.
  • Responsible for ensuring quality control and the overall responsiveness of technical assistance, as appropriate.
  • Responsible for all aspects of program leadership and implementation, including: development and management of annual work plans; annual reporting and compliance requirements; overall budget management; and quality and timeliness of technical deliverables.
  • Collaborates with the Breeding and R&D teams, the Finance and Administration teams and the M&E team to ensure high-quality, evidence-based results.
  • Supervises at least one direct reports, Deputy Chief of Party, and coordinate project activities: Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning officer. Ensures positive work environment and effective teamwork resulting a high-quality implementation and deliverables.
  • Ensures that all project activities are implemented in compliance with the USAID ProMaize FAA, USAID Guatemala expectations, Semilla Nueva policies, and Guatemalan law.
  • Manages financial resources to ensure compliant and effective distribution of project funds.
  • Travels domestically to project sites.
  • Performs other duties as needed.

How to apply

To apply please send your CV and a brief, 2-4 bullet point explanation of why you think you may be a
good fit for us, and why we may be a good fit for you. Please send to contact@semillanueva.org with
the subject, Chief of Party, ProMaize, and your last name.

Semilla Nueva is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to sustaining a diverse community with a work environment that is welcoming, respectful, and encouraging to all. We foster a culture of inclusion that celebrates and cultivates diversity along multiple dimensions, including race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, out of home care, age, national origin, socioeconomic status, religion, ability, culture, and experience.