Finance and Operations Associate, PROSA Guatemala - J-PAL LAC

  • Guatemala
Start Date (Earliest):

About J-PAL

J-PAL LAC is a non-profit research center that aims to reduce global poverty through the generation of rigorous scientific evidence on which social programs and policies can make a real difference in people's lives. Formed by a network of more than 750 academics around the world, J-PAL measures the impact of programs with randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and uses these results to influence the design of public policies. To date, the J-PAL network has carried out more than 1,700 evaluations in more than 90 countries, organized in 12 sectors. In Latin America, we currently count on 174 studies. As of 2023, J-PAL LAC is supporting 25 evaluations in 6 countries.

J-PAL organizes its work into three main areas:

  • Research: We partner with donors to create initiatives that provide funding for research. We also implement RCT from data collection to data analysis.
  • Public policy: We summarize the results of the investigation, create alliances and provide technical assistance to governments.
  • Training: We lead the executive training and develop a rigorous online education to build knowledge in the region.

The local grounding of J-PAL is essential for its success. The seven regional J-PAL offices are located at leading universities on five continents. In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, J-PAL LAC is headquartered at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC Chile). J-PAL LAC also has a Memoranda of Understanding with Insper, for work carried out in Brazil, and with the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, for work in Central America.

In 2019, the founders of J-PAL, Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, won the Nobel Prize in Economics "for their experimental approach to alleviating poverty." 

About the team, project, or initiative you would be working with:

PROSA or the -Screening and Launching Program- is the first collaboration between J-PAL LAC and Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG). PROSA seeks to lay the groundwork for encouraging the use and generation of evidence surrounding public policies and social programs in Guatemala. PROSA also promotes the use of evidence and evaluations to improve and create innovative programs that have a positive impact on Early Childhood Development (ECD). The team is made up of Constanza Alarcón, Policy Manager for ECD at J-PAL LAC, who coordinates the program’s implementation; J-PAL LAC and UVG staff, responsible for the implementation of the program; and Costas Meghir (Yale University), Scientific Advisor, who advises on partnership selection and fund allocation. He is an expert in ECD and has designed interventions related to cognitive and language development. 

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion:

Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential to address the complex causes and consequences of poverty. To advance our mission, J-PAL LAC must draw on diverse experiences from our staff and affiliated researchers in order to ask better questions and identify better solutions. We are working to increase the limited representation of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in the economics profession. We are committed to engaging in self-reflection, learning, and dialogue to nurture understanding across differences. Together, we will build an equitable, inclusive culture where everyone is respected, empowered, and heard.

Summary of the Role:

The PROSA project team is recruiting a Finance and Operations Associate to provide support to J-PAL LAC on two fronts: 

  • Coordinate with the Finance and Operations team based in Santiago Chile on the management of contracts and financial reports. 
  • Supporting in the implementation of projects in terms of administrative, logistical and procedural aspects.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:


  • Coordinate with the JPAL LAC and UVG financial teams regarding all financial aspects of PROSA. This includes: generating bank balances, monitoring budget expenses and income, executing cash transfers, and maintaining control of PROSA’s budget.
  • Coordinate contracts and budgets for PROSAS’s research projects with JPAL LAC and UVG’s financial teams. It is essential to monitor the financial information of active projects, verifying their adherence to budgets. 
  • Serve as the focal point to solve any problem related to Finance processes with UVG, maintaining permanent contact with JPAL LAC and UVG’s finance teams.
  • Prepare alongside PROSA manager and LAC's Operations & Finance team, financial reports to donors and other relevant stakeholders.

Operations - administration, legal, and human resources 

  • Manage, monitor, and control the processes for reimbursement of expenses and purchases and payments to people.
  • Keep a clear record of the documents that support each movement of money (contracts, purchases, salaries, donations, etc.)
  • Review and propose improvements to the organization's financial and administrative processes.
  • Be the focal point for any office staff requirement at UVG related to administrative issues (maintenance, purchasing supplies, access control, etc).
  • Coordinate the contracts and forms required at UVG to make purchases, transfers, per diems, etc. that are necessary.
  • In coordination with UVG, obtain the necessary signatures for the correct flow of contracts.
  • Support personnel management and manage processes related to human resources in UVG (vacation, leave, etc.). You will also coordinate staff travel requests and track travel expenses (including coordinating hotels and per diems of travelers).

Research operations support

  • Review the research projects contracts and in coordination with the research team, check adherence to the research protocols established. 

Application Requirements:

  • Education: A minimum of a Bachelor's Degree. We look for candidates with a demonstrated commitment to public policies and aligned with our mission.
  • Languages required: As this is a job that is based in Guatemala, full proficiency in Spanish is a must. As you would also interact frequently with the Global and regional teams, intermediate to advanced English is needed. Willingness to communicate with some J-PAL LAC team in Portuguese is welcome and valued, but it is not a must.
  • Type of contract: The selected person will be hired through an indefinite contract.
  • Salary: Remuneration will be compatible with the Guatemalan labor market. J-PAL LAC practices full transparency in its salary ranges. These will be informed to shortlisted candidates before the first interview.

-Application deadline: April 15, 2024

-Direct Reporting: J-PAL LAC's Finance and Operations Senior Manager, Francisca Sanchéz (based in Santiago, Chile)

-Who will be reporting to you: No direct reports


  • Education and Experience: Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and at least 2 years of professional experience. 
  • Skills: willingness to work in a team, be self-motivated, and learn. Familiarity with Microsoft Office (particularly Excel).
  • Autonomy and style of work: The ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously, meet deadlines, and work independently and purposefully is essential.
  • Experience with Statistical packages: not necessary
  • Mission alignment: We highly value experience in community organizing, activism, or engagements focused on bettering the lives of your community.

Work permissions:

This position is open to Guatemalan citizens or foreigners with visas and/or valid work permits in Guatemala at the time of applying for this vacancy.

How to Apply

What to expect from this application process?

As our team is mostly made up of people from outside Guatemala, questions in English can be asked during the interview process. In case you are not comfortable responding them in English, please speak in Spanish. We understand that most people in the region do not speak English and will take your personal history into consideration. 

If you are interested, please follow these steps:

Please fill the following application form Application form.

You will be asked to answer relevant questions and upload a CV and a short motivation letter (both in one single PDF). You can send your materials either in English or Spanish.

What is expected from your cover letter

One-page cover letter in the language you are most comfortable with, clearly stating your qualifications for the various responsibilities and the reasons for your interest in J-PAL. Feel free to share aspects of your life that might not be easy to spot on your CV but might make you a good candidate!

What is expected from your CV

Ideally in 1-2 pages, in the language you are most comfortable with.

Given the volume of applications received, only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.

Steps expected for shortlisted and final candidates

  • Screening interview - culture fit and alignment of mission: yes
  • Test: no
  • Round of interviews: yes
  • Final Interview: yes

We want to get to know you as a professional and as a human being. We also want you to succeed. You will be provided with all the necessary materials and information at each step of the way. We might also ask for additional information or add extra interviews. If that is the case, you will be informed as soon as possible, to be respectful of your time. 

The process exists because we believe that, in an unequal region like ours, not all people have the same chances, and, often, CVs are not enough to demonstrate talent and motivation. In addition, it is an opportunity for you to understand our work well. We believe that these two ingredients are the secret to a successful partnership.

The team is also happy to accommodate your needs, to make sure you feel at ease during the process. Just ask us!