Virtual Service Pilot

What is the Peace Corps Virtual Service Pilot?

The Peace Corps Virtual Service Pilot (VSP) is a virtual service opportunity whereby Virtual Service Pilot Participants (VSPPs), as private citizens and if they so choose, are able to donate time and voluntary services to the agency to engage virtually and contribute to the requests of interested Host Country Partners for support. The multi-phase pilot began in October 2020 and is currently being tested in a number of Peace Corps host countries. View current engagements.

What is the expected time commitment for VSPPs?

Virtual service engagements are between 12-27 weeks long, depending on the request of the Host Country Partner. VSPPs engage synchronously and asynchronously for approximately 5-15 hours per week on tasks outlined in their engagement. VSPPs and Host Country Counterparts identify mutually agreeable meeting times given the difference in their respective time zones and schedules.

Is the Virtual Service Pilot the same as Peace Corps Volunteer service?

No. Virtual service is distinct from Peace Corps Volunteer service and Peace Corps Response service. Virtual Service Pilot Participants contribute to the mission of the Peace Corps as private citizens while maintaining their other commitments such as work and school.

How do VSPPs engage with their Host Country Counterparts?

In developing virtual service engagements, Peace Corps staff confirm that Host Country Partners have consistent access to a computer, internet, and/or a mobile phone and are comfortable engaging in a virtual setting. Navigating time zones and schedules can be a challenge. Past participants exercised flexibility and found creative ways to connect with their Host Country Counterparts. This includes using messaging and video platforms, email, and phone calls. Discussing these potential challenges and establishing regular check-in times with Host Country Counterparts at the beginning of the engagement were identified as best practices..

What activities do VSPPs engage in?

VSPPs engage in activities that span the agency's six program areas: agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health, and youth in development. VSPPs and Host Country Partners may also choose to celebrate local holidays and exchange cultural traditions which contribute to deepening relationships and fostering important parts of the Peace Corps mission.

What are the benefits for VSPPs?

Participating in the pilot is a unique opportunity. VSPPs may potentially pave the way for future participants. Through virtual service, VSPPs will gain more experience with overseas organizations and continue as private citizens to support the mission and goals of the Peace Corps.

Are VSPPs provided with an allowance?

VSPPs can request to receive a one-time amount of $250 during their engagement to cover start-up costs (such as internet connectivity, phone charges) directly associated with virtual engagement.

Are there hardware or software requirements for VSPPs?

VSPPs are responsible for access to and availability of a computer, internet, and/or telephone in order to enable direct virtual engagement with the Peace Corps office overseas and their Host Country Counterpart.

Will the VSPPs receive supervision?

Each VSPP will be assigned to a specific Peace Corps post staff point of contact who will conduct check-ins with the VSPP on a regular basis.

How will this virtual service be documented?

VSPPs will be provided with an official “Description of Engagement” document which will describe the tasks accomplished during the period of engagement.

Will the VSP pilot count toward months of Volunteer service or NCE?

VSPPs are donating their time as private citizens, which is distinct from Peace Corps Volunteer service. Pilot participation does not count toward months of Volunteer service or NCE.

Will VSPPs engage with the former counterparts, organizations, or communities?

It is possible that some VSPPs may engage with the same organization or community to which they were previously assigned as Peace Corps Volunteers. Other VSP engagements have been developed specifically for the pilot.

Can prospective participants engage in virtual service with any country?

Each VSP engagement is unique. Several engagements are open to all RPCVs while others are only open to RPCVs who previously served in that country.

Are RPCVs from another country or friends and family eligible to participate?

At this time the pilot is only open to RPCVs and returned Peace Corps Response Volunteers (RPCRVs).

Will VSPPs receive orientation?

Yes, orientation to the VSP will be provided during the first week of the engagement by Peace Corps post staff. An overview with the Host Country Partner, and introductions and expectation setting with the Host Country Counterpart and other staff will also be provided.

How do I submit an expression of interest?

Current engagements can be viewed on the Peace Corps website. The expression of interest form will take 10-20 minutes to complete. Interested individuals should be prepared to upload a current resume, a reference, and answer short essay questions.

How many expressions of interest can I submit?

Interested individuals can submit up to three expressions interest.

What will happen after the pilot?

We will be using the pilot to evaluate Host Country Partner and RPCV interest and experience with virtual service and use these outcomes to determine if or how we might move forward with a more comprehensive virtual service program in the future.