Strengthen Economic Empowerment Initiatives Post COVID-19


Open to all RPCVs

Activity/project background

The Government of Botswana introduced the Poverty Eradication Program around 2012/13 to economically empower beneficiaries (mostly able bodied destitute persons, women and other vulnerable groups). The program entailed assessment of beneficiaries and assisting them to identify an income-generating activity that they wanted to pursue from a list that was agreed (bakery, leather works, textile, catering, salon, chicken farming, goat farming, kiosk, etc). Beneficiaries were then trained on the management of their desired projects and thereafter given a grant between $1,300 - $4,300. Projects targeted both individuals and groups. Community Development Officers (CDOs) were responsible for the training of beneficiaries and providing the necessary support to ensure that the projects remained operational and viable. However, some projects were never successful for various reasons such as poor marketing, poor business management, and saturation of the market for some products. Since the advent of COVID-19, some projects collapsed because of the restrictions that were in place.

Therefore, the Department of Community Development seeks a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to engage with the Local Authorities to resuscitate/support economic empowerment initiatives that can be sustainable, particularly after the impact of COVID-19. Targeted districts will include: Gaborone, Kweneng, Southern, Kgatleng and South East.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

Engagement activities will involve the following tasks:

1. a) Co-facilitate a needs assessment to determine gaps in CDOs’ knowledge and skills
b) Review current projects to understand weaknesses in design, marketing, and business plans

Based on needs assessment results:
2. Co-facilitate the creation of an action plan for capacity development/addressing the identified gaps

3. Co-plan and co-facilitate training/coaching for CDOs on identified basic business management skills such as project management, marketing, and business planning.

4. Coordinate with CDOs to coach economic empowerment project beneficiary groups to apply basic business skills (e.g. project management, marketing and business plan development) to their new or existing economic initiatives.

Throughout the course of the engagement:

5. Weekly engagement to facilitate coaching of community development officers on:
• Project management
• Marketing and advertising (via social media)
• Development of business plans

6. Weekly engagement and co-coaching with economic empowerment projects beneficiaries (in groups) by type of projects on:
• Project management
• Marketing and advertising
• Development of business plans

This engagement is expected to be approximately 26 weeks. VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week.

All meetings with counterparts and/or beneficiaries will occur during normal office hours 7:30am-4:30pm Botswana time. The Host Country Counterpart will have access to a computer and a phone in order 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 of Arts in business management/administration, project management, marketing and advertising, finance management or related field or equivalent experience as noted below

Experience: 5+ years of working experience in business administration/management, marketing or related field

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 in business management/administration, project management, marketing and advertising, finance management or related field

Technical Skills:
• Advanced working knowledge and skills in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT)
• Excellent analytical and management skills
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

Partner background

Name: Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development – Department of Community Development

Type of entity: Government

Mission and goals:

The enhancement of quality of life of Botswana through the promotion of social justice, effective local governance structure, sustainable livelihoods strategies and economic empowerment initiatives. The Department of Community Development mobilizes the community for identification and implementation of community based developmental initiatives and deals with the empowerment of remote area communities for socio economic sustenance.

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.

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