Support Capacity of Community Libraries’ Counterparts

Activity/project background

Partner: Community Libraries Leaders (Government)

The Community Library Project (CLP) is a childhood literacy project that uses afterschool literacy activities and library services to both improve early grade reading outcomes and strengthen parental and community engagement in Mozambique. It is implemented through a partnership between Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) and local counterparts, and serves local children of all ages, with primary school students from grades 1-3 as the main target group. The activities undertaken in CLPs include establishing community libraries, creating and training local CLP teams, stocking and distributing books and other teaching and learning materials, and afterschool reading, tutoring, and mentoring programs.

Since 2013, approximately 54 community libraries have been established in rural and semi-rural areas, as well as district towns, in nearly every province of Mozambique. The impact of COVID-19 was felt intensely by CLPs as all in-person programming was paused for two years. 26 community libraries have re-opened in 2022 and resumed programming. Peace Corps works to support these libraries as well as others who are yet to resume in-person operations.

Without the presence of PCVs in Mozambique yet, there is an opportunity for Virtual Service Pilot Participants (VSPPs) to provide more targeted hands-on support, including the development of tools and resources to assist the local counterparts who volunteer their time and energy to providing CLP programming in the Maputo, Gaza, and Manica provinces.

The Community Library Project leaders have not previously worked with a Peace Corps Virtual Service Pilot Participant. They understand that the role of the VSPP is very different from the two-year Volunteers.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

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

• Encourage, empower, and support the local CLP leaders and community volunteer facilitators with regular weekly WhatsApp check-ins to build the relationship and continually discern the needs and opportunities
• Assist with the creation of resources, reference materials, and lessons to help local CLP leaders and community volunteer facilitators to be more effective in early grade reading coaching and techniques
• Co-develop and support the implementation of a learning assessment tool to determine the learning progress of the participating children
• Mentor CLP leaders through positive feedback of their CLP facilitation skills

This engagement is expected to be approximately 16 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, Mozambique time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to remote communication platforms such as Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, WhatsApp, and email for regular communication and collaboration, with WhatsApp being the most preferable.

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: Intermediate level in Portuguese

Experience: Experience in education settings

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: Bachelor’s degree in education, teaching, or related field

Technical Skills:
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication
• Knowledge in early grade reading teaching and coaching techniques

Language: Advanced level in Portuguese

Experience: Experience in training, coaching, or mentoring

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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