Co-train an Intensive Online Business Training for Guatemalan Women

Activity/project background

Partner: Universidad Rafael Landivar, Entrepreneurship Center, AWE Program (Private Organization)

In 2020, Rafael Landivar University assumed executive responsibility for the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in Guatemala, a distinguished initiative promoted by the United States Department of State and offered to Guatemalan women through the University’s Entrepreneurship Center. Its primary objective is to promote prosperity, to counteract migration, and to fortify Guatemala’s economy. It is focused on empowering women that lead/own micro and small businesses through the provision of trainings that cover a wide array of essential business development topics including but not limited to the following: 1) business planning, 2) administration, 3) finance, 4) branding development, and 5) use of online commerce.

Peace Corps Guatemala has the opportunity to support AWE with this initiative. AWE is seeking a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to assist with providing education, training, and entrepreneurial skill development to approximately 40 women business owners. This initiative will further sustainable contributions to local communities.

AWE has not previously worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer or a Virtual Service Pilot Participant. 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:

• Co-implement an online learning course that includes synchronized and asynchronous components that include (but are not limited to) business planning, administration, finance, branding development, and use of online commerce
• Motivate active participation on the part of approximately 40 learners through WhatsApp
• Co-prepare and co-deliver a weekly 90-minute synchronous learning session that will be taught for a total of 12 weeks through a videoconference platform
• Monitor the progress of the participants in the training spaces (both their participation in videoconference spaces and fulfillment of tasks on the DreamBuilder platform) and provide individualized assistance
• Support the coordination of virtual marketing events, including online fairs of products and services if time allows
• Conduct continuous reflection throughout the process to document progress, challenges, mitigation measures considered and adopted, lessons learned, and best practices
• Prepare the final report for both Peace Corps Guatemala and the partners of the host country counterparts

This engagement is expected to be approximately 18 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 at varied hours to participate in regularly scheduled team meetings (Mondays, 8:00 a.m. Guatemala time), trainings with entrepreneurs (One 1.5 hours session per work week between 5:00-9:00 p.m., and one session on Saturdays 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.), individualized assistance to participating entrepreneurs (TBD), and planning sessions with co-facilitator (TBD). Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to WhatsApp and email for regular communication and Zoom and Google Drive for 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:

  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 any field

Language: Advanced Spanish

Experience:
• Experience in business coaching
• Experience in the development and implementation of business plans for micro and small businesses
• Experience with marketing concepts (both traditional and digital) in new micro and small businesses and/or income generation activities
• Experience working with vulnerable populations, especially women
• Use of the experiential learning cycle with adults

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 business, public administration, education, community development, or related field

Technical Skills: Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

Experience:
• 1 year of experience providing marketing specialist support to small and medium-sized companies
• 1 year of experience with business administration or managerial experience
• Previous experience working with rural women in Latin America

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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