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. Phase One of the pilot ran from early October to mid-December 2020. Phase Two ran from February to April 2021. Phase Three is scheduled for late June through December 2021.

What is the expected time commitment for VSPPs?

Virtual service engagements will occur between June and December 2021 and are between three months and six months long, depending on the request of the Host Country Partner. Your engagement will be approximately 5-15 hours per week. VSPPs and Host Country Counterparts will 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. Participants in VSP (VSPPs) 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 included using messaging and video platforms, email, and phone calls. Discussing these potential challenges and establishing regular check-in times with your Host Country Counterpart 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: education, health, youth development, agriculture, environment, and community economic 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?

The Peace Corps will provide a one-time amount of $250 per twelve weeks of engagement to VSPPs to cover costs (such as internet connectivity, phone charges) directly associated with engaging virtually.

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?

Each VSP pilot engagement is unique. 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?

No, VSPPs may only engage in virtual service with their former country of service and only if the post is participating in the pilot.

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

The pilot is only open to RPCVs who served in participating posts. In a few posts, the pilot is being extended to Peace Corps Response invitees who have a specific technical expertise.

Will VSPPs receive orientation?

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

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.