Co-Train Environmental Agency on Global Information Systems

Activity/project background

Partner: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Guyana (Government)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Guyana is empowered by the Protection Act to oversee the environmental activities of all persons. It is regulatory, with authority to grant or not grant permits for developmental projects that will have an impact on the environment. As a regulator, the Agency is also required to monitor activities of development and to enforce the provisions of the Act.

The EPA is developing robust techniques in Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) to boost its capabilities to screen developmental projects, conduct environmental baseline assessments, evaluate Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and monitor authorized projects to assess environmental compliance.

The agency currently has limited capacity to analyze the data in a timely manner. Therefore, the objective is to harness the power of GIS & RS and automate as many processes as possible through Machine Learning. This will enable the department to easily map satellite imagery and create a guiding methodology for the EPA to use in conducting its work on GIS.

The EPA in Guyana seeks a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to support the GIS team by reviewing its current mapping system and co-train members of the team ways to enhance their use of data.

The organization has 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:

• Collaborate with the EPA team to co-analyze GIS & RS Data
• Support the team to build models to address areas of concerns such as Land Use Land Cover Change and Sensitivity mapping
• Co-present and train team on presenting information using data visualization techniques
• Collaborate with team to propose solutions and strategies to business challenges
• Collaborate with engineering and product development teams

This engagement is expected to be approximately 15 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, Mondays to Fridays 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Guyana time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, email, and WhatsApp 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:

  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 science, engineering, GIS, or a related field

• 3 years of experience in Data Science or Data Analysis
• Demonstrated experience using one or more of the following: R, SQL and Python; familiarity with Scala, Java or C++ is an asset

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 computer science, engineering, GIS, or a related field

Technical Skills:
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication
• Certification in intelligence tools (e.g., Tableau) and data frameworks (e.g., Hadoop)

• 5 years of experience in Data Science or Data Analysis
• Experience with machine learning

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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