Supporting Staff Capacity Building and Development of Department of Forestry Communications Plan and Materials

Submit interest form      Reference: VSPP420

General Information

  • Virtual Service Description: Supporting staff capacity building and development of Department of Forestry communications plan and materials
  • Reference Number: VSPP420
  • Country: Malawi
  • Host Country Partner: Department of Forestry, Nkhalango House, City Center, Lilongwe City
  • 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: Environment

Partner Background

Host Country Partner : Ministry of Natural Resources and Mining (Department of Forestry)

Type of Entity: Government Department

Host Country Partner’s Mission and Goals:

Mission: To guide, plan, coordinate, facilitate and promote active participation of all stakeholders in the sustainable development and utilization of forest resources, goods and services for socio-economic development.

Vision: To become a dynamic, high-performing, consultative and client-focused authority which promotes, builds and ensures sustainable development, utilization, protection and management of forests to reduce poverty.

Goal: Conservation, establishment, protection and management of trees and forests for the sustainable development of Malawi


Activity/Project Background

Peace Corps Malawi has been in partnership with Malawi’s Department of Forestry since 1999. They have been assigning two-year Volunteers to protected forestry and parks areas in different parts of the country to assist community members in understanding the importance of environmental conservation in improving their livelihoods. Projects have included: tree nursery establishment and out-planting different tree species for fruit production, timber, and fuel wood. Additionally, Volunteers have worked with youth through wildlife clubs. To conserve the dwindling tree population, Volunteers have worked with community members on constructing and using fuel-efficient cook stoves.

The Environment Program has also placed third year and Response Volunteers with the Department based at its Headquarters office in Nkhalango House. They assist in various assignments including carbon sequestration, information technology, and trainings.

The Director of the Department of Forestry is looking for a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to specifically assist in publication, print media, and social media. There have been many technological changes globally since the two-year Volunteers were placed there over five years ago and they would like to be in sync with new technologies.

For more information on the Department of Forestry activities in Malawi refer to their website which has reference materials https://www.dof.gov.mw/. This will give the VSPP an opportunity to learn more about the Department before embarking on the assignment.

Virtual Service Engagement and Tasks

The VSPP will collaborate with the Director of Forestry and Information Technology Specialist to create and deliver content across various media platforms to tell the Department of Forestry’s story.

Tasks include:

  • Coordinate with the Director of Forestry to develop a comprehensive and strategic communications strategy with an emphasis on digital, social and print media, and website promotion
  • Co-plan, design and publish printed documents
  • Develop social media components of the communications strategy or plan
  • Provide support to Forestry Department staff to design and write internal and external reports, presentations, or print materials
  • Support the coordination of the electronic documentation of all published or printed materials
  • Train staff on how to effectively use social and print media platforms to enhance their work

Timelines for delivery of these activities will be discussed and decided upon mutually by the VSPP and the IT Specialist during the preliminary meetings preparing for the assignment.

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:

  • BA or BS degree in any field
  • Experience working with communications, media, marketing, social media, or journalism to create and deliver compelling content to a diverse, international audience
  • English proficiency (written and verbal) required
  • Resourceful, creative, flexible and patient; and genuinely motivated to serve.
  • Experience working with social media (such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc), basic publishing tools/applications, and basic photography and video tools/practices
  • 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:

  • BA or BS degree in English, communications, photography, journalism, art, or related field
  • Experience speaking the Malawian language and culture an added advantage but not necessary
  • Experience with computer systems and programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher
  • Experience with various media tools to communicate important information to a different audiences
  • Experience in facilitation and training
  • Experience with researching, writing, developing and publishing content across different media platforms
  • Experience with social media communication design

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 internet and computers in order for regular communication and collaboration.

It is expected that the Virtual Service engagement will last 27 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 via weekly calls and emails, and bi-weekly check-ins outline what these will look like as agreed by team whether phone calls on WhatsApp and Zoom meetings 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.

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. Most meetings will be during business hours local time. The IT Specialist at the Department is aware of the time differences and willing to have meetings or communications only in the afternoon hours to suit both parties.

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: VSPP420