Co-Create Academic Research Journal Website

Activity/project background

Partner: FREE Liberia (Foundation for Research, Education & Empowerment) (Local NGO)

FREE Liberia is a local non-governmental organization with the vision to build and operate the Liberian International Journals for Academic Research (LIJAR) that is intended to explore the possibility of bridging the research gap in the country. FREE Liberia believes this can be achieved by establishing think-tanks and academic journals to promote and make scholarly literature available. Liberia is grappling with research and knowledge sharing gaps; accessing the much-needed knowledge and information to facilitate informed planning, policy formulation, decision-making and learning remains a serious challenge across various sectors of the country. Consequently, this has prompted many policymakers and stakeholders to revert to regularly relying on public opinion and sentiments to create and implement policies and programs for the country, contrary to international best practices.

In response to this national challenge, Free Liberia is interested in collaborating with Peace Corps Liberia to engage a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) who can build staff capacity in developing, managing, and maintaining its website.

FREE Liberia has not previously worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer. They understand that the role of a VSPP is very different than a two-year Volunteer.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:

• Provide training and technical support in website development and management
• Co-develop FREE Liberia website
• Mentor FREE Liberia staff for best practices in website development and management
• Support the creation of a guide for ongoing website management

This engagement is expected to be approximately 13 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, from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Liberia standard time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to WhatsApp and Zoom for regular communication and collaboration.

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 computer programming, graphic design, website development or relevant experience

• 1 year of experience in website development and management with search engines
• 1 year of experience mentoring others in developing and managing website

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: Master’s degree in any of the following: computer programming, graphic design or website development

Technical Skills:
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication
• Research knowledge and professional writing skills
• Advanced knowledge in graphic designs, website development, and publications
• Experience with academic research

• 2 years’ experience in developing and managing a website
• 2 years’ experience in mentoring others in the development and management of a website
• Expertise in research foundations, quality assurance and review, ethical principles, etc.

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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