Develop Pharmacy Digital Library E-resources

Submit interest form      Reference: VSPP421

General Information

  • Virtual Service Description: Develop Pharmacy Digital Library E-resources
  • Reference Number: VSPP421
  • Country: Malawi
  • Host Country Partner: Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHES) – Public University under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology
  • Number of VSPPs Requested: 1
  • Engagement Start Date: November 2021
  • Engagement End Date: April 2022
  • Length of Engagement: The length of engagement may be up to 24 weeks, including onboarding and off-boarding
  • Sector: Health

Partner Background

Host Country Partner: Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS) is a public university. It has recently merged with two colleges which were College of Medicine and Kamuzu College of Nursing which were constituent colleges under University of Malawi. The VSPP will with with the Pharmacy Department of KUHeS (formerly College of Medicine-University of Malawi).

Type of Entity: Government

Host Country Partner’s Mission and Goals: Kamuzu University of Health Sciences is a comprehensive health and allied sciences university with a unique academic model. It has a program qualification mix that takes into consideration the local, national and international health care and training contexts. The university intends to train more health professionals that are globally competent but locally relevant. As a key government partner, the University will continue to serve the Malawi nation through provision of quality education and innovation through research as key to the health welfare of Malawi, the region and beyond. Through research the university will generate evidence that will inform government policies and practice in the health sector.

Activity/Project Background

The purpose of the position is to compile a comprehensive list of teaching and learning e-resources – video, books, research papers, journals and others – that will make up the pharmacy digital library. The digital library will provide an opportunity for lecturers and students to access up-to-date materials that are not available in hard copy from their library and/or can only be accessed with paid internet.

The VSPP will collaborate with colleagues at the pharmacy department and the college ICT department to put together a list of various resources that are useful for the lecturers and student learning. They will select materials that are commonly used but not readily available in hard copy or are inadequate for the number of students and also ensure that the resources are up to date.

The VSPP will be responsible for assisting in the coordination and provision of digital library resources including digital content such as e-books, e-audiobooks, e-magazines, e-articles and journals, e-music and information databases supported by the Solar Spell platform developed by the University of Arizona.

Virtual Service Engagement and Tasks

The purpose of developing a Pharmacy Digital Library is to enhance the training of pharmacy students through increased utilization and uptake of digital platform learning in the pharmacy department. This will involve partnering with international higher education institutes for easy access of digital learning materials.

Tasks include:

  • Determine pharmacy content needs of the college in collaboration with the pharmacy department team
  • Review SolarSPELL’s Nursing and Midwifery digital library to understand existing content and new pharmacy content needs, in collaboration with the pharmacy department team
  • Source a list and organize academically aligned, inclusive digital content and self-help learning materials (all materials must be open access or with permission to use and share)
  • Liaise with Malawi Ministry of Health contacts to source national health guidelines or other relevant local content
  • With the support of the pharmacy department faculty and college library staff, evaluate current technology and device access available at the school
  • Determine pharmacy-related content to be added to the Nursing and Midwifery offline training course (if necessary)
  • Participate in regular check-ins and virtual meetings with all team members in pharmacy department and college library to discuss progress of the work

Week 1 – Virtual Orientation; Meet with Pharmacy, ICT and Library team; Workplan development

Week 2 - 5 – Determining content needs

Week 6 – 9 and on-going – Curate content in collaboration with SolarSPELL team at ASU, Peace Corps Malawi, pharmacy faculty, and Ministry of Health, e.g.

Week 15 and ongoing – Trial test digital library with selected students and faculty

Week 22 – 24 – Finalize digital library for future implementation

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. A number of recommendations and tools for Goal 3 activities are outlined here.

Essential Qualifications:

Education and Experience:

  • Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from a recognized institution and at least two years’ work experience OR Bachelor’s degree in a related field with at least 5 years’ experience in a medical or health academic library and already practicing ICT in their work
  • Experience facilitating team interactions
  • Experience with a range of IT software and e-learning tools
  • Experience with library information technology, systems, products and delivery technologies
  • Experience with Microsoft software systems and tools, social media platforms and web-based communication, information and collaboration tools
  • Customer service experience
  • VSPP attributes (flexible, strong cross-cultural agility, high tolerance of ambiguity, able to work independently, etc.) Resourceful, creative, flexible and patient; and genuinely motivated to serve

Desired Qualifications:

Other desired qualifications include:

  • Experience working in the pharmaceutical and biological sciences and field research practices
  • Experience supporting faculty and student support services.
  • Experience in training others to produce their own digital materials
  • Specific experience in organizing and creating engaging online content for use in an academic setting

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. Their host country counterpart will need to have access to a computer and any research-platform and development tools need to complete the project, WhatsApp and an email account in order for regular communication and collaboration.

It is expected that the Virtual Service engagement will last 16 – 24 weeks, including one week each for onboarding, with a time commitment of 5-15 hours per week. The VSPP will have regular check-ins with their counterpart/PC staff via weekly WhatsApp calls and emails based upon initial discussions and preferences. 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.

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. For purposes of scheduling meetings, Malawi is on Central Africa Time Zone (GMT+2). Depending on location of the VSPP in the USA, meetings will be in conducted mostly in the mornings USA time and afternoon Malawi time (7:30 AM – 11:00 AM EST Monday –Thursday).

The Peace Corps is committed to providing access, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodations in its programs, activities, Volunteer service, and employment to individuals with disabilities. To request an accommodation for the Virtual Service Pilot (VSP), please contact [email protected]

Engagement Specific Safety and Security

The VSPP will receive a safety and security training on virtual engagement during orientation with Peace Corps. 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 also be expected to schedule regular check-ins with the designated counterpart within the partner organization.

Submit interest form      Reference: VSPP421