Facilitate Soft Skills Training at English Language Improvement Center

Activity/project background

Partner: Hawassa University ELIC (Government)

Hawassa University (HU) is one of the largest universities in Ethiopia hosting over 30,000 students and 7,000 employees working in different colleges and departments. In response to the enormous priority to improve English language skills in such institutions, the Ministry of Education has established the platform of the English Language Improvement Center (ELIC). ELIC is a space where practice opportunities can be created and hosted for both students and teachers at university, college, and school levels.

Thus, HU ELIC requests the support of a Virtual Service Pilot Participant to enhance the ability of the instructors by providing them with soft skills training on selected topics, such as public speaking, communication, creativity, problem-solving, time management, coaching, teamwork, leadership, and interpersonal skills. The hope is that as instructors become more motivated, they will develop a positive mindset to better plan and facilitate sessions and run activities for students.

The University has previously worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer, though it was some time ago, but not a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP). They understand that the role of a VSPP is very different than that of a two-year Volunteer.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

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

• Build a good working relationship with the team of ELIC coordinators and help them identify their soft skill instructional priorities, among topics such as public speaking, communication, creativity, problem-solving, time management, coaching, teamwork, leadership, and interpersonal skills
• Co-design activities, based on the identified priorities, to facilitate soft skill trainings
• Co-facilitate the training sessions (up to two one-hour sessions per week)
• Co-create practice opportunities whereby participants will act and demonstrate components of soft skills they were trained on
• Track the progress of participants in the areas of training
• Compile and hand over activities and materials developed for the sessions for future use

This engagement is expected to be approximately 26 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, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. local Ethiopia time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, Google Meet, or 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 any field

• 1 year of teaching in schools OR
• 1 year of training on any of the proposed skills OR
• Experience working with teachers or staff overseas or with training adult learners

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 field

Technical Skills:
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication
• Training and session plan development
• Facilitation skills

• Experience in facilitating similar trainings to other groups
• Experience in training session planning and facilitation

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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