Support Ministry of Education to Develop National Volunteer Program

Activity/project background

Partner: Ministry of Education (Government)

The Ministry of Education (MEDUCA) has determined that, to achieve a public policy on volunteering, they must first create and develop an Institutional Guide on Volunteering. This guide will allow MEDUCA to achieve two specific objectives – 1) to provide the educational community with guidelines for an organized and coordinated volunteering initiative at the local level and 2) to provide other government institutions with an example of the operationalization of the Volunteering law through institutional guidelines. By setting the example, MEDUCA hopes to create interest in national volunteering from all stakeholders –volunteers and beneficiaries, private citizens, and institutions, especially on the promotion of Youth Leadership and Environmental Conservation in school environments.

MEDUCA is interested in collaborating with a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to identify and develop the objectives, activities, execution strategy and monitoring plans of a National Volunteer Program at the institutional level. MEDUCA seeks to make volunteering a practice internally within the ministry, but also through their various external programs with Panamanian citizens. The guide should include communication strategies and monitoring and evaluation guidance to support the implementation of the program and the documentation of this.

MEDUCA has previously worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer and a 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:

• Co-design the objectives and activities of the MEDUCA National Volunteer Program, with the purpose to promote youth leadership and environmental conservation in school environments
• Co-design the monitoring and evaluation plans of the MEDUCA National Volunteer Program
• Collaborate to develop a guide for the National Volunteering Program, which includes dissemination and implementation plans
• Collaborate to develop a 2023-2030 strategic plan for MEDUCA’s National Volunteer Policy, to organize the internal and external practice of Volunteering at the institutional level
• Participate with the MEDUCA work team in meetings and/or workshops

Estimated time, per week:
• Collaborative meetings with MEDUCA team: 2 hours
• Check-in meetings with MEDUCA counterparts: 1 hour
• Document investigation, creation, planning (asynchronous): 1-2 hours

This engagement is expected to be approximately 27 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, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Panama time. Preferred date and time are Wednesday mornings, but specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, Microsoft Teams, 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 any field

Language: Intermediate Spanish

• Experience developing and/or managing volunteer programs
• Experience collaborating with NGOs or public institutions
• Experience developing policies and institutional processes

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

• Master’s degree in public administration (MPA) OR
• Certification in political science or public policy OR
• Postgrad or certification in social work or community development OR
• Certification in civil engagement or experiential learning

Technical Skills: Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

Language: Advanced Spanish

• Experience creating monitoring and evaluation plans
• Work, volunteer, or academic experience in Panama
• Experience with strategic planning

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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