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Chief Operations Officer

Skoll World Forum

Skoll World Forum

Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2024

About Onja

Onja is a social enterprise training underprivileged youth into world-class software developers.

We find the brightest students in Madagascar who can’t afford to continue their education, and train them in English language and software development. After just two-and-a-half years they are ready to work as remote front-end software developers in international tech teams.

Once in a job, our developers earn a good salary that helps them support their families and pay forward the opportunity to a new wave of students. They unlock exciting careers that fulfil their potential, and accelerate the development of their nation (see ‘How Onja Works’ below).

Our first cohort, ‘Wave 1’, consists of nineteen talented and committed graduates who are now working remotely for our partner companies in Europe and the US. With this immensely successful first cohort, and a proven social model, our goal is now to scale our impact: we aim to take on 360 new students over the next four years.

Our fast-growing team is very united, committed to the mission, and hardworking, but we also maintain a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere that you’ll find everywhere in Madagascar.

Onja is located in Toamasina, a lively city with beautiful beaches, nice restaurants, and with plenty to do and see. Toamasina is Madagascar’s second largest city (population 300,000) yet is surrounded by plenty of natural beauty, and even has a national park nearby.

About the Role

For now, our leadership team, consisting of a CEO and several Managers, is working well. However we are growing fast and realise that the Chief Operations Officer position will become more and more pressing. We are not in a hurry and are not expecting this position to be filled quickly but when the right person applies we will be ready to invite them onto the team with open arms!

You will work closely with our founder/CEO to share the responsibility of leading the organisation. We currently have about 40 team members but this is likely to become hundreds in the coming years. Depending on your skill set you may provide oversight for the following departments

  • Our School
  • English Course Design
  • Software Course Design
  • International expansion (setting up Onja in an additional country)
  • Fundraising
  • Operations

And/or potentially

  • Our Enterprise
  • Hiring
  • Marketing


  • A high achiever – with a history of impressive accomplishments
    Leadership ability
  • Management experience – preferably private sector
  • An understanding of software development would be helpful
  • Analytical and logical
  • Desire to serve
  • Long term vision and commitment – 5 years
  • Excellent English communication skills

What you can expect

  • You’ll join our tight-knit, committed team in Toamasina, Madagascar.
  • We know it’s a big move so we will look after you and make sure you are secure and settled.
  • Secure, comfortable accommodation is provided
  • Food is provided
  • We are able to offer a good local salary – enough to live comfortably and have plenty left over for holidays travels.
  • Unlimited annual leave. We recommend between 30 and 35 days as a guide to give you time to explore the wonders of Madagascar
  • We also offer 25% remote work
  • We’ll provide optional weekly lessons to bring you up to speed with the language.
  • Your visa will be sponsored.
  • Sponsored flights

How Onja Works

Onja is a social enterprise with a sustainable model:

  • Search for brilliant minds who would otherwise be limited to low-paid, unfulfilling careers.
  • Students receive two years of English and software development instruction. Meet a developer here: https://onja.org/blog/
  • Graduates earn (and continue learning) at our outsourcing enterprise.
  • All profits are used to train the next wave of students and the cycle begins again.

Application process

  • Please apply here.
  • Introductory call – We’ll provide you with a list of FAQs and a photo gallery and invite you to a call to learn about Onja and Madagascar in general. It’s a chance for us to learn more about you and for you to ask all the questions you might have.
  • Formal Interview – This is where we have questions for you. We try to determine whether you will be a nice fit for the position and our team. There may be one or two interviews.
  • We offer conversations with past and present staff members, Onja developers.
  • We make a formal offer to successful applicants.

If you like what we are doing, but don’t think you are suitable for this position, please reach out to us nonetheless – we may just have something for you. Also, feel free to check out other open positions on our careers page.