Strengthen Skills in Using Communication & Virtual Training Tools


Open to all RPCVs

Activity/project background

The SEMARNAT representative office in Querétaro has collaborated with the Peace Corps for more than 13 years in environmental education and natural resource conservation activities. This has contributed to increasing communities' resilience to the effects of climate change through various efforts that promote conservation of natural resources and environmentally friendly practices. Due to COVID -19, face-to-face dissemination, training, and promotion activities have been minimized or suspended, so it has been necessary to do this work through digital platforms. It is expected that virtual engagement will become an important alternative for the achievement of objectives inherent to the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

Thus, it is important to train SEMARNAT’s personnel in the use of electronic tools or applications for communication and virtual training. The Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) will contribute to strengthening the team's capacities so they can continue fulfilling their responsibilities. Training in these tools will help develop the activities of conservation and sustainable use of wildlife that the office is scheduled to carry out during 2022. This will contribute towards the objectives and fulfillment of goals, allowing better development in activities, meetings, trainings, and workshops. A VSPP is requested to collaborate with the institution's counterpart to improve management of virtual communication tools. SEMARNAT uses online tools such as Zoom, Meet, Telmex, and WebEx. It will be as important that the VSPP identifies and trains personnel of other online or digital media that could help make virtual activities or trainings more dynamic, interactive and engaging.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with Host Country Partner:
• Co-conduct an initial assessment to evaluate personnel’s knowledge and experience, and needs regarding the use of virtual engagement tools
• Co-plan, prepare, and facilitate workshops to train personnel on at least four virtual training and /or virtual communication tools based on the initial assessment
• Develop a written guide with the description of each of the tools, including advantages and disadvantages, uses or applications, restrictions, ease of use, among other aspects

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 during normal office hours, Mexico time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, WhatsApp and e-mail 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 any field

Language: Advanced Spanish

• One year of experience in remote training design and delivery
• Experience with communication platforms

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: Bachelor's degree in communications, computer science or related field

Technical Skills:
• Information technology knowledge
• Basic knowledge of climate change, biology, environmental science, ecology or related area

• Experience creating guides on how to use virtual platforms for training
• 2 years of experience in remote training design and performance

Partner background

Name: Delegación Federal de la SEMARNAT en el Estado de Querétaro

Type of entity: Government

Mission and goals:

Incorporate in the different areas of society and the public function, criteria and instruments that ensure the optimal protection, conservation and use of the country's natural resources, thus forming a comprehensive and inclusive environmental policy that allows achieving sustainable development. To comply with the above, SEMARNAT, its three under secretariats and the various decentralized bodies that are part of the federal environmental sector, work on four priority aspects:
• The conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems and their biodiversity
• Pollution prevention and control
• The integral management of water resources
• The fight against climate change
SEMARNAT is committed to maintaining open and effective communication with citizens to promote the protection of ecosystems, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

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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