Support a Reading Club for Students from Internally Displaced Families

Activity/project background

Partner: Abkhazia Public School N 5 (located in Kutaisi) (Government)

Abkhazia Public School students in Georgia have always had an interest in learning English. However, due to the suburban location of the school and the community’s economic situation, the school faces an overall lack of resources, including access to age-appropriate books in English. Another challenge is that children don't chose to read books because they don't know that reading books can be fun and interesting. There is a preconceived notion among them that books are meant to be boring like their textbooks and cannot be entertaining.

To encourage students to read, Abkhazia Public School is requesting the support of a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to co-facilitate a book club for students in grades 6 – 8 and who range in age from 11-14 years old. The goal of the club is to improve student’s English reading comprehension, and their analytical and critical thinking skills. In addition to sparking their joy for reading, the club will enhance their vocabulary skills, communication and thought processes and enhance their creativity and writing skills.

The school has previously worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer on secondary projects but not with 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:

• Participate in initial planning meetings to develop a syllabus and list of books for the reading club
• Co-plan the 18-20 session outlines to support one club meeting per week,
• Co-facilitate one hour-long club meeting per week
• Review students’ assignments and reflections on the reading sections
• Support the creation of a club portfolio or repository of presentations, worksheets and assignments used during the club meetings
• Prepare and present information to club members on typical after-school programs and activities in American schools

This engagement is expected to be approximately 22 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, Georgia time, 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, Google Meet, Teams, WhatsApp, Email, Messenger 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

Experience: Experience teaching or leading an after-school club or book club

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 English

Technical Skills: Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

Language: Basic Georgian language

Experience: Experience in co-planning and co-facilitating online English non-formal education activities

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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