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Sustainability Fellowship - Rural Development in Nepal

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Recruiting Organization: Oda Foundation

Type: 8 Month Fellowship (start August 2022)

Experience: Undergraduate Degree or 2 years of equivalent experience with business focus preferable

Division: Social Entrepreneurship and Rural Development (Non-Profit Sector)

Positions Available: 1

This is a full-time, unpaid fellowship, with room and board provided.

Co-founded by a native of the village where we are based, we build local leadership and support health and education for those who need it most. Since being founded in 2013, we have taken a long-term approach to building relationships, hiring a 95% local, Nepali team. In 2016, the Kalikot District Development Committee recognized Oda Foundation as Kalikot’s most effective health and education organization.

The Oda Foundation is located in the region of Kalikot. Nepal’s Kalikot District is a remote patchwork of villages. Difficult topography impacts of Nepal’s civil war, and meagre economic opportunity make it one of the most impoverished and forgotten regions in all of Nepal. Kalikot District and the village of Oda are located in Nepal’s Karnali Zone, an area enduring a "Silent Emergency" (UNICEF). The mountainous region is accessible by only one road, with many villages like Oda only accessible by hours on foot. Nepal is the 12th poorest country in the world, and on many measures, Kalikot is its most deprived region. Our communities struggle with malnutrition and extreme poverty, and they have difficulty accessing professional health care and education. Gender and caste discrimination block women’s access to economic opportunity, education, and equal healthcare.

The Oda Foundation began its social enterprise, Karnali Ratna (KR), in 2019 through agricultural initiatives and a transportation service on the Karnali Highway. The social enterprise currently supports 5 vulnerable women and their families through a stable economic income. The Oda Foundation is working on progressing to being a self-reliant organisation through KR.. KR’s focus is to bring in revenue that supports the Foundation’s operations and local community member livelihoods while also addressing challenges such as untouchability, patriarchy, menstrual taboos, domestic violence, illiteracy and food scarcity. Karnali Ratna seeks to mitigate these adversities through a sense of empowerment within the community through permaculture philosophies, job opportunities and stable incomes. The future goals of KR are, create a profitable revenue stream, which in-turn reduces The Oda Foundation’s reliance on government subsidies, donations and foreign interventions.

A critical part of the Sustainability Fellow’s role will be engaging in strategic discussions that will dictate the trajectory of the Oda Foundation’s approach to funding, livelihood development and more. Because of this, Sustainability Fellow should have, or should be ready to obtain prior to the Fellowship, a strong understanding of business in low income communities and an understanding of human centered design for implementation.

Much of this job entails working with and communicating effectively among marginalized Nepali communities with little to no English comprehension. Thus, the Sustainability and Social Enterprise Fellow will arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal in early August and will take an intensive Nepali language course before traveling out to the Oda Foundation’s site in Kalikot. The intensive language course will be taken in a group setting with all Fellows participating.

While livelihood and business initiatives will be the this role’s primary focus, it is a strength of the Oda Foundation Fellowship program that Fellows understand the integrative nature of Oda’s work and their role within it. Maintaining their immediate responsibilities, the Education Fellow is strongly encouraged to pursue any interests they have outside of the social enterprise that may align with ongoing Oda Foundation programming. In previous cohorts, Fellows have also supported in an operational fashion through: social media management, media content generation, report and grant writing support, participation in quarterly board meetings, strategic partnership generation and more!

Key Responsibilities:

  • Be part of a multi-disciplinary design team that is designing and launching a new product, service or customer experience.
  • Bring creative ideas and insight: Think holistically, with human-centered design of a new project and the implications related to both the community’s experiences as well as a partner organization’s ability to implement and scale.
  • Support a volunteer agricultural program: Support short-term volunteers participating in the program, as well as creating marketing materials and developing a strategic approach to the business venture.
  • Work closely with the KR manager to develop strategies, timelines, and operational models that appropriately consider the organizational needs, aspirations, and business realities including day-to-day data reporting and financial management.
  • Needs assessment: Spend time assessing the needs of the Karnali Ratna department and find solutions to fill those gaps
  • Conduct research and assess project progress: Develop a process to measure results and gather feedback to continuously improve solutions as they scale. Asses product demand in the local market and conduct research to support the development of new business ideas.

Required Qualifications and Experience

  • Strong written and spoken English language
  • University degree in one of the following or a related field: Business, Economics, International Development, marketing, communication, Finance and Social Entrepreneurship.
  • Interest in Entrepreneurship and for-profit for non-profit
  • A desire to work on sustainable community development approaches
  • Interest in developing social enterprises that lead economic sustainability and community development.
  • Strong ability to be self-driven and coordinate your own projects
  • Enthusiasm and a connection with Oda values as listed below
  • Comfortable collaborating with others, working in multidisciplinary teams, and translating business principles to non-business audiences

Desired Qualifications and Experience

  • Experience designing and/or implementing monitoring and evaluation methods
  • 1-2 years of professional experience minimum
  • Experience living in a rural community
  • Knowledge of finance modeling for small businesses
  • Knowledge of human-centered design
  • Experience launching new businesses, designing new offerings, or business models

Oda Foundation Values

Before sending in your application please review our team values listed below. Oda’s values were created with the purpose of cultivating a positive working environment for all team members. In order to do so, when hiring, we look for candidates who represent these values.

Care and Compassion

  • We will demonstrate our compassion and caring through our action and words
  • We will take time to ensure each person feels listened to, secure, understood and is treated compassionately
  • We will be approachable and contribute to creating a calm and friendly atmosphere
  • We will provide a safe and caring setting for patients and staff, and an efficient, effective experience
  • We will meet people's needs for information and involvement
  • We will be considerate, calm and proactive in solving problems
  • We will not be aggressive or passive aggressive to anyone

Respect, Dignity & Justice

  • We will demonstrate respect for all staff through our words and actions
  • We will all follow Oda rules, policies and procedures
  • We will accept fair and equitable punishment for all
  • We will be polite and courteous in our communications and actions
  • We will demonstrate respect for dignity, choice, privacy and confidentiality
  • We will recognize and value uniqueness, diversity and different cultures
  • We will be sincere, honest and constructive in giving, and open to receiving, feedback
  • We will maintain a professional attitude and appearance.


  • We will demonstrate a commitment to doing our best
  • We will be proactive in problem solving and above all, our work commitments.
  • We will be responsible and reflect on our actions
  • We will be accountable for our actions
  • We will focus on our work and practice time management by meeting all proposed deadlines.
  • We will encourage and explore ideas for improvement, innovation and creativity.
  • We will seek out opportunities to enhance our skills and expertise
  • We will work together to achieve high quality services
  • We will use our knowledge and enthusiasm to implement positive change and overcome challenges

Teamwork & Communication

  • We will understand and value each other's role and contribution
  • We will be fair, thoughtful, welcoming and kind to colleagues, fellows and guests.
  • We will communicate with each other and express our successes and our concerns.
  • We will offer support and encouragement to others
  • We will maximize each other's potential and contribution through shared learning and development
  • We will recognize, share and celebrate our successes, big and small
  • We will practice coordination and collaboration interdepartmentally
  • We will have a positive outlook and motivation
  • We will demonstrate commitment to the Oda foundation, patients, staff and our guests.

Honesty and Responsibility

  • We will build trust by displaying transparency and doing what we say we will do
  • We will commit to doing what is right
  • We will welcome feedback as a means of informing improvements
  • We will use our resources and each other's time efficiently and wisely
  • We will maintain and enhance public confidence in our service
  • We will be a positive role model


  • Learn a new language including language classes in Kathmandu at the start of the fellowship
  • Expand your knowledge of rural development through first hand experience
  • Collaborate on research projects
  • Have the autonomy to decide where you make impact
  • Explore your passions within the field of rural community development
  • Work with an energetic and inspiring team of Nepali professionals

What previous fellows went on to achieve:

  • Admission into top graduate programs at Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Institute of Development Studies
  • Promotion to full-time work with the Oda Foundation
  • Entering the education sector within the US

How To Apply

For more information about our organization please follow us on Instagram, @odafoundation. You can also look around our website - blog posts from many previous Fellows are a helpful resource that show the breadth of work possible, and the impact of this once-in-a-lifetime Fellowship! Please contact Oda Foundation Fellowship Coordinator, Lucy Martin-Patrick with any questions or comments during the application process at

Applicants should send a resume and cover letter outlining how they meet the specific requirements of the position to by May 15, 2022. Application materials will be viewed and interviews will be determined on a rolling basis.

While we sincerely appreciate all applications, only those candidates selected for interview will be contacted. Please note the selected candidate will be required to submit a liability waiver and proof of international travel insurance.

Stipend ProvidedFalse

Training ProvidedFalse

Housing AvailableFalse

Language/Cultral Support AvailableFalse

Wheelchair AccessibleFalse

Fee RequiredFalse

Fee Amount: None

This opportunity is recurringFalse

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389 5th Ave, 9th Floor, New York, NY 11109, US

Mission Statement

To bridge the gap between intention and action in order to bring about social impact.


Idealist is a leading online global resource for finding jobs in the nonprofit sector, as well as volunteer opportunities and graduate school programs for social impact.


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Children & Youth, Community, Education & Literacy


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Kalikot, Nepal, 21300Nepal







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