Support the Development of Virtual Volunteering in Costa Rica


Open to all RPCVs

Activity/project background

Due to its positive international reputation, vigorous tourism industry, and density of social and environmental initiatives, Costa Rica attracts a large number of volunteers, so-called “voluntarists” and service learning students each year. Some nonprofit organizations in Costa Rica skillfully develop volunteer experiences that create real impact for the organization and/or convert the volunteers into long-term advocates for the organization; however, many others have demonstrated a clear need for support and guidance in this process.

The Costa Rica Corps, a virtual service initiative that started in April 2020 with the support of Peace Corps’ Virtual Service Pilot Participants, has quickly developed a highly- focused initiative related to best practices in virtual volunteer selection, training, assignment and support. During 2021, Costa Rica Corps carried out the pilot phase of their first two Virtual Volunteer Pathways, a program that trains and supports volunteers to serve virtually in Costa Rica. A Virtual Volunteering Toolkit was also developed that was shared with nonprofits and volunteers in October 2021. The organization now seeks support to raise awareness about the program and build partnerships with new virtual volunteers and volunteering communities (in Costa Rica and abroad), as well as new host country counterparts (nonprofits and educational institutions/projects in Costa Rica).

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will collaborate with Costa Rica Corps to complete the following tasks.

● Identify individuals, organizations and groups for Costa Rica Corps outreach within the following sectors: volunteer organizations and groups in Costa Rica including the RPCV community in Costa Rica; international (particularly U.S.-based) organizations and groups with an interest in volunteering, such as educational institutions, travel/exchange entities, RPCV-CR communities, and other groups with an interest in Costa Rica; nonprofits and other potential host counterparts in Costa Rica.
● Co-develop and implement an outreach/community-building strategy that includes online presence and communications, email and newsletter outreach, and virtual meetings/events with target sectors.
● Co-create and pilot-test with CRC counterpart procedures for reviewing volunteers and applicant information to pair and assign volunteers, in order to build capacity in Costa Rica Corps to take over this process in the future.
● Co-develop a set of volunteer support principles and processes and pilot-test them by providing support to current volunteers.
● Collaborate with counterparts and advisors to develop metrics to monitor and assess the impact of the program, and then use these metrics to gather and share information (and stories) to demonstrate the impact of the projects.
● Provide support to CR Corps in creating and beginning to implement a sustainability plan for the project.
● Develop additional tools/resources for the CR Corps and/or its Public Resources library as needed to support the above activities.

The VSPP will have regular check-ins with the counterpart through weekly phone calls and Zoom/telephone. Communication through calls or video calls will last approximately one hour during normal business hours: Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm Costa Rica time (GMT-6). The calls will be initiated by counterparts. Additionally, there may be frequent personal and group messaging via WhatsApp.

VSPPs will dedicate an average of 6-10 hours per week to completing tasks, independent work, and meeting with counterparts.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom and Google Docs 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 or technical degree in any field

Language: Intermediate Spanish

● Experience in the design and implementation of service learning and/or educational programs
● 1 year of Volunteer, employment, or academic experience in Latin America

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

Technical Skills: Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

Language: Advanced Spanish

● Volunteer experience, employment, or academic experience in Costa Rica
● Experience with the development of project frameworks
● Experience with outreach, and partnership-building.
● Experience with training facilitation and design
● Experience working with Community Based Organizations and/or non-profits

Partner background

Name: Costa Rica Corps

Type of entity: Local NGO

Mission and goals:

The Costa Rica Corps recruits, deploys and supports a talent pool of virtual volunteers who want to donate their skills and time to support Costa Rican entities. Our mission is to allow agents of change in Costa Rica - including educators, community leaders, nonprofits and entrepreneurs - to expand their positive impact by connecting with the human capital of Costa Rica’s national and international 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.

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