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GCS Product Development Fellowship

Arusha, Tanzania, United Republic of | Research and Development

Job Description

About Global Cycle Solutions

Global Cycle Solutions is a social enterprise that brings quality affordable technology to the rural poor. We currently market bicycle, hand, and solar powered devices designed to increase villagers’ productivity and access to technology. Our current product line includes maize shellers, cell phone chargers, and solar lights. We have plans to develop grinders, pumps, and other tools in the near future. For more information, visit our website 

Program Overview:

Global Cycle Solutions (GCS) is seeking applicants for its 2012/2013 GCS Fellows Program. These positions provide an excellent opportunity for an entrepreneurially minded professional to join a young, vibrant, social enterprise and make a positive impact in the East-African community.

  • The Fellowship is unpaid and will last 6 – 12 months, depending on the Fellow’s schedule and GCS’ needs
  • The Fellowship will be based in Arusha, Tanzania
  • GCS will provide fellows with a volunteer visa, accommodation (food and housing), 1 month of Swahili lessons, phone, 3G internet modem, and a stipend to cover work-related expenses (e.g., airtime, internet, travel) 
  • Each Fellow is responsible for his/her own transportation to/from Tanzania, health insurance, and necessary vaccinations
  • Upon completion of a 12 month commitment, Fellows will be fully reimbursed for personal transportation expenses
  • Fellows will be granted 28 days leave (prorated over 12 months)
  • Fellows are independent members of GCS Tanzania Limited (“GCS”)

Product Development Fellowship

Description: GCS seeks exceptional, analytical, and entrepreneurial Product Development Fellows with technical expertise to serve in a 6 month - 1 year Fellowship role. The ideal candidate will have a bachelor's or graduate degree in mechanical engineering, and at least 2 years of full-time work experience with product design/development or a related field. The Product Development Fellow will be responsible for improving our current bicycle maize-sheller product and developing one new bicycle peripheral. The fellow would receive support from the GCS team but would be responsible for leading the R&D and product testing.

Example Responsibilities

  • Assessing mechanical challenges with GCS Maize Sheller and making improvements
  • Product testing, troubleshooting, CAD modeling, and prototyping
  • Conducting regular testing in the field to assess effectiveness and sturdiness
  • Monitoring and streamlining manufacturing process (including quality control)
  • Conducting needs assessment surveys on targe population to identify key product priority
  • Planning for production scale-up
  • Designing and developing new products
  • Providing advice on choice of material and contraints for manufacturing

Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate will possess the following characteristics:

  • Educated: bachelor's or graduate degree in mechanical engineering
  • Experienced: at least 2 years full-time work experience with product design/development, CAD software, or related fields
  • Flexible: comfortable living in developing country conditions (frequent power outages, cold showers, mosquito nets…)
  • Driven: takes initiative to do what needs to be done, not just what you are told to do
  • Resourceful: able to innovate with limited resources and direction
  • Entrepreneurial: thrives in a young, small, and fast-paced company
  • Sociable: able to engage with people of diverse cultures and personalities
  • Compassionate: desires to make Africa a better place for “the bottom of the pyramid”
  • Lingual: fluent in English and proficient in (or have a desire to learn) Kiswahili

Working Conditions

  • The GCS office/workshop is located in Njiro: an urban area of Arusha a short walk away from a shopping complex and a 15 minute drive from town center
  • Fellows will be expected to work Monday – Friday and half days Saturday (~45 hrs/week)
  • Fellows will be expected to blog about their experiences and observations at least once per month
  • Fellows will report to the Business Development Manager at the end of each week regarding progress made thus far and upcoming plans
  • Fellows will report to the Managing Director at the end of each month regarding progress made thus far and upcoming plans
  • Fellows will be initially tasked with utilizing the systems currently in place and be expected to improve upon these systems to streamline GCS’ operations
  • Each Fellows’ specific responsibilities will be determined his or her background and GCS’ needs at the time of the Fellowship
  • Fellows may gain additional duties as determined by the Managing Director or Business Development Manager

Living Conditions                                          

  • Fellows will be housed in an urban setting a short distance from the office (~15 minute walk)
  • Fellows’ accommodations will include running water, electricity, food, and an inside shower/toilet
  • Fellows will live away from the hustle and bustle of the center of town and in a setting that will allow them to experience Tanzanian lifestyle


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