Co-teach Agricultural Research at Liberian University
Partner: Lofa County University (Government)
The College of Agriculture is one of the new colleges within the Lofa County University, Liberia devoted to excellence in promoting cutting edge technology, knowledge, and providing academic leadership - equipping students with the competencies and confidence they need to solve agricultural problems while supporting them to work in a professional agricultural setting. The college of Agriculture Research is seeking the services of a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to train, mentor, and coach its faculty and senior students in agricultural research best practices, practical teaching, and agricultural innovations.
In the past, The Lofa County University worked with Peace Corps Volunteers to supplement their need for trained manpower. Peace Corps Volunteer service contributed to the promotion of the original community college to a full university. 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:
• Coach 2-3 faculty members of the College of Agriculture on how to prepare research proposals
• Co-mentor and teach the faculty of the College of Agriculture in the use of SAS, SPSS, and any other research software
• Co-mentor faculty in developing research instruments such as survey questionnaires
This engagement is expected to be approximately 12 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, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Liberian time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.
The Host Country Counterpart will have access to WhatsApp, Zoom, email, and other digital medium that is commonly used in post country 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:
- To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
- To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
- 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.
Education: Master of Science in Agriculture or related fields
• 2 years’ experience teaching, coaching, and mentoring in an academic environment
• 2 years’ experience conducting applied agricultural research
• Experience using SAS, SPSS, and other research software
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
Education: PhD. In Agriculture or related fields
Technical Skills: Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication
• 2 years’ experience working with SAS, SPSS, and other research software
• Prior publications cited in reputable agricultural research journal
• Mastery in teaching others research
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.
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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