Support in Off-Season Vegetable Cultivation & Project Management

Activity/project background

Partner: Panini Rural Municipality, Arghakhanchi district, Lumbini Province, Nepal (Government)

The Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) will partner with the Agriculture Coordinator, Panini Rural Municipality, in Nepal to engage rural communities to identify, strengthen, and mobilize available resources to further positive agriculture outcomes through the cultivation of off-season vegetables.

Nepal has the potential to enhance production, productivity, and consumption of nutrient dense crops by reducing the farm level yield gaps via increased use of improved technologies. This will reduce the workload of women and enhance diversification in agriculture. Nepal has articulated its policy guidelines in the Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS). The ADS explicitly mentions the need to develop the vegetable value chain through production, marketing, and policy/institutional support. The ADS envisions to increase vegetable productivity for smallholder farmers through providing technological guidelines for off-season vegetable production, farmer production training, the expansion of poly-house and micro-irrigation technologies, and the development of off-season vegetable production blocks. To compliment these government initiatives, Peace Corps Nepal and other development partners are prioritizing their efforts to support Agriculture Coordinators so they can provide effective agriculture extension services that improve agricultural practices in local communities. The VSPP will partner with an Agriculture Coordinator to co-develop activities and materials that help increase the number of people who produce off-season vegetables in the region.

Meghraj Poudel, an Agriculture Coordinator from one of the most food insecure communities of Nepal, demonstrates high interest and commitment to collaborate with Peace Corps. He has worked with more than 2 generations of Volunteers and is excited to partner with a VSPP to further positive agriculture outcomes in his municipality. As an Agriculture Coordinator, Meghraj Poudel plans and implements agriculture activities together with leader farmer groups, organizations, and cooperatives.

The Rural Municipality 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:

• Coach the Agriculture Coordinator to identify and utilize locally available resources such as soil, water, inputs, and labor for off-season vegetable cultivation
• Co-analyze characteristics of effective community projects in rural Nepal, and identify and map assets of counterpart’s community related to off-season vegetable production
• Explore and appreciate intercultural aspects of cultivation practices, holidays, and priorities of the United States and Nepal

This engagement is expected to be approximately 12 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, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Nepal time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Internet, WhatsApp, and email 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 agriculture, horticulture, or a related field

Language: Intermediate Intermediate performance on Nepali Language Proficiency Interview (LPI) at any point in service

• 1 year of experience working in year-round vegetable cultivation in Nepal
• Experience in off-season vegetable cultivation

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 horticulture focusing on vegetable production

Technical Skills: Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

Language: Intermediate Intermediate Mid or high performance on Nepali Language Proficiency Interview (LPI) at any point in service

Experience: 1 year of experience working in off-season vegetable cultivation in Nepal

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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