Support Creation of Sustainability Plans for Indigenous Communities

Activity/project background

Partner: National Toshaos Council (Community-based Organization)

Guyana has the largest population of Indigenous Peoples in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Approximately 10% of the population of Guyana are Indigenous peoples - one of the fastest-growing population groups in the country. However, owing to the remoteness of the locations in which they live and the comparatively higher costs of providing integrated services to the hinterland regions, indigenous communities in Guyana tend to experience higher levels of poverty and lower levels of multi-dimensional well-being.

In recent years, the Government of Guyana has been investing in the development and advancement of indigenous communities across Guyana, particularly under the new Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). In 2022, Guyana became the first country to get special carbon credits issued by the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART), paving the way for the country to get payments to continue protecting its rainforest. The government has allocated the proceeds from 15% of carbon credit sales to indigenous communities. Through the LCDS, the government will be increasingly supporting indigenous communities as the peoples continue the stewardship of their lands, the rainforest, and environmental and biodiversity protection.

Under the LCDS, the National Toshaos Council (NTC) will be supporting over 200 Amerindian (indigenous) Village Councils and community groups across Guyana to develop village sustainability plans and implement programs and projects, particularly those aimed at protecting the environment.

The National Toshaos Council is requesting a VSPP to support its initiative to incorporate climate change policy in its programming that affects the lives of the indigenous population of Guyana.

The National Toshaos Council has not previously worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer or a VSPP. 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:

• Provide strategic advice and support the NTC to use a climate adaptation lens to review their guidance on climate-related development issues impacting indigenous communities
• Co-develop the Amerindian villages and Village Sustainability Plans, ensuring the guidance on climate actions and adaptation is included
• Support the policy guidance by collaborating in the creation of policies submitted to the NCT Executive Committee

This engagement is expected to be approximately 20 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, 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 climate or environmental sciences, or related fields

• Strong knowledge of climate change and global climate actions
• At least 3 years’ experience and proven expertise in providing policy guidance and support on climate change and environmental protection

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 climate or environmental sciences, or related fields

Technical Skills:
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication
• Skilled in project management

• Knowledge of the international framework, policies, and global debate on climate change
• Experience in multilateral environmental debates, dialogues, and processes
• Experience working with Indigenous peoples and on indigenous issues

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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