5 tips that will help you be a successful Virtual Service Pilot Participant
Virtual Service Pilot Participants contribute to the mission of Peace Corps through short-term, part-time engagements using technology to support host country partner projects.
Virtual engagement comes with some unique opportunities and challenges. To set yourself up for success, check out our tips below.
1) Identify and maintain a consistent schedule.
It’s important that you and your counterpart mutually agree on a weekly meeting time. Along with other personal commitments, living in different time zones can make scheduling virtual meetings, classes, and online collaboration particularly challenging. That’s why we recommend discussing everyone’s availability the first time you and your counterpart meet. Then, set up a reoccurring meeting on a virtual platform, such as Zoom or Skype, to complete and review tasks.
Keep in mind that unexpected conflicts may occur, so it’s important to maintain regular communication with each other. Messaging through WhatsApp is often ideal for quick updates. Flexibility is also key for a successful engagement. You may need to wake up early to accommodate your counterpart’s time zone and schedule.
2) Provide valuable feedback to Peace Corps.
We’re constantly thinking of ways to improve the virtual engagement experience. For this reason, we ask participants to track their time and complete a quick survey. You will save yourself considerable time if you log your time on a weekly basis as opposed to retroactively trying to remember how and when you donated your time. Participants are encouraged to share suggestions with host country staff at any time.
3) Reach out to host country staff for support.
Peace Corps staff is invested in ensuring that your collaboration on the host country partner project is successful. We are available to guide you through unexpected challenges, nurture a healthy VSPP-counterpart relationship, and offer best practices.
4) Tell your unique story.
Storytelling is at the heart of the Peace Corps experience. After all, Peace Corps stories spark curiosity about the world and inspire the next generation of global leaders. In addition to taking notes on your experience, make sure to capture photos and even videos during your engagement—they will strengthen your story. Make sure to have your counterpart or other participants sign a media release form if you include their name, quotes, or photos.
Refer to our Ethical Storytelling Toolkit when crafting your story to ensure your story’s tone is equitable and inclusive.
5) Equip yourself with the right technological tools.
After attending orientation, you will be eligible to receive a $250 start-up stipend. This one-time allocation is our way of ensuring everyone has the means to participate.
You can use the stipend to upgrade your equipment – think headphones, microphone, and routers – for optimal connectivity. If the engagement requires you to use a special platform, you may also put the stipend towards purchasing the necessary membership or software.
Do you still have questions? Check out our Virtual Service Pilot FAQs.
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