Strengthen Advocacy Capacity of Indigenous Community on Human Rights


Open to all RPCVs

Activity/project background

Partner: San Vision Foundation (Local NGO)

The San Vision Foundation (TSVF) was founded by indigenous youth to address challenges that young people face in the !Xun and Khwe communities from the Indigenous Khoi and San tribes in Northern Cape, South Africa. TSVF will host a National Workshop for Indigenous People in South Africa in July 2023. The Workshop will bring diverse implementing partners together to share ideas about the impact of climate change, environmental justice, and human rights for Indigenous communities. Outcomes from the workshop will prepare the TSVF to participate at this year’s UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates in December 2023.

During the National Workshop for Indigenous People in South Africa, South African Indigenous Khoisan, Khomani San, !Xun, Khwe, Nama, Griekwa, and Korana communities will present case studies about the first-hand effects of climate change, and its impact on Indigenous communities that have been socially and culturally dependent on the environment and its resources for thousands of years. Climate change exacerbates the challenges already faced by indigenous communities which include political and economic marginalization, loss of land and resources, human rights violations, discrimination, and unemployment. Indigenous communities have an intimate and complex relationship with their environment which influences their identity, culture, livelihood, and economic sustainability.

To address these challenges, TSVF seeks the support of a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to develop their capacity for academic research and understanding the context of regional and international human rights mechanisms for indigenous communities. The VSPP will work with the organization and prepare them to advocate for the rights and dignity of Indigenous communities in South Africa and at the COP meeting in December 2023.

The organization has not previously worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer or a Virtual Service Pilot Participant. They understand that the role of a VSPP is very different than a two-year Volunteer.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:
• Strengthen the capacity of counterparts to understand and promote the rights and dignity of indigenous communities in South Africa through research and training on current trends and global best practices for indigenous communities
• Co-train counterparts on regional and international human rights mechanisms for indigenous communities
• Co-develop an advocacy strategy that will deepen TSVF’s engagement in indigenous human rights
• Co-develop a draft narrative report for human rights advocacy of Indigenous San community in South Africa in preparation for COP 28

This engagement is expected to be approximately 12 weeks. VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week.

Meetings between VSPPs and Host Country Counterparts will take place weekly during normal office hours 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. South African time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to WhatsApp, MS Teams, Zoom, and email for regular communication and collaboration.

Per the Child Protection Code of Conduct, when engaging online with minors (0-18), two adults must be present.

Optional additional activities

The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Goal 1 will be achieved through the VSPP's engagement and completion of the above tasks. The counterpart and VSPP may also choose to identify an activity that aligns with Goal 2. Additionally, the VSPP may identify a Goal 3 activity to implement during their engagement. See recommendations and tools for Goal 3 activities.

Essential qualifications

Education: Bachelor’s degree in social sciences, anthropology, international development, or a related field

• Experience in working on human rights
• Experience in developing public affairs, campaigns, or advocacy

Intercultural skills and motivation: Flexible, strong cross-cultural agility, high tolerance for ambiguity, able to work independently, resourceful, creative, and genuinely motivated and capable to serve virtually

Desired qualifications

Education: Master’s degree in social sciences, anthropology or a related field

Technical Skills: Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

• 3 years’ experience working with human rights for indigenous communities
• 3 years’ experience drafting academic papers on human rights for indigenous communities

Terms and conditions of engagement

VSPPs will be engaging with the host country partner, in coordination with Peace Corps post staff, remotely from the US. They should have access to a computer, internet, and telephone in order to enable direct engagement with the Peace Corps overseas office and the Host Country Counterpart assigned by the host country partner.

Orientation with the host country partner will be provided, within the designated virtual service hours, during the first week of virtual service via an online presentation and discussion. The host country partner will provide an overview of its organization, the local context, and how they envision collaborating with the VSPP.

The VSPP will have regular check-ins with their counterpart and bi-weekly check-ins with Peace Corps staff. Spending unstructured time with counterparts can be critical to relationship-building and is encouraged through activities such as coffee chats and informal calls within the weekly 5-15 hours.

Engagement-specific safety and security

The VSPP will receive an orientation on Peace Corps’ Child Protection Policy and how it relates to online engagement along with IT security best practices. The VSPP will be expected to follow safety and security guidelines for online engagement to ensure their safety and that of the Host Country Partner and their counterpart, and any beneficiaries of the engagement.

Supervision requirements

The VSPP will report to a designated Peace Corps staff member. The VSPP will be expected to abide by the Virtual Service Pilot Participant and Donation Agreement and Participant Principles of Engagement. The VSPP will also be expected to check in with the designated host country counterpart as assigned by the host county partner.

Does this sound like the virtual engagement for you?
Get started on your journey.

Submit interest