Support Start-up of a Youth Training Institute

Activity/project background

Partner: Sheila Brown Institute (Private Organization)

The Sheila Brown Institute (the institute) is an organization dedicated to building leadership skills in youth from all backgrounds in Ecuador. Ecuador has taken great steps forward to provide people from all backgrounds a voice and access to their rights. To reach its full potential as a country whose leadership embraces the environment, social justice, and diversity, the institute believes the country’s next cadre of leaders would greatly benefit from training in inclusive leadership skills and training to facilitate conflict resolution and meaningful dialogue between people of different backgrounds. The institute aims to intentionally engage youth of all backgrounds in dialogue about building a future with environmental harmony and social peace.

All high schools and most universities have set requirements for a certain number of hours for their students to complete community service activities. However, their community service programs are not structured to build leadership skills or to foster a commitment to volunteerism. The institute aims to provide training and support for program organizers to maximize the benefits to both the community and youth involved in these programs.

The institute requests the support of a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) with training and experience in youth development to support the institute to work with youth, ages 16-25, from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds, training them in leadership and communication skills; and supporting local volunteerism and service-learning initiatives. The VSPP will collaborate with the interim institute director and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) in establishing this new youth training institute. The interim institute director will be responsible for leading the establishment of the institute on the ground, including coordination of the core group meetings, meetings with local youth leaders in high schools and other organizations, recruitment of members of the board of directors, and coordination of meetings, workshops, and training events. The initial core group will include the interim institute director, the founding RPCV, and local youth leaders.

The Sheila Brown Institute 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:

• Co-design and implement an initial needs assessment to determine motivators and deterrents of potential participants (both adult trainers and youth leaders) in events and activities.
• Based on that assessment, co-develop a leadership and volunteerism training plan and curriculum
• Support the design of at least one event; most likely, this would be a kick-off event with key local collaborators and youth leaders to confirm the mission and commitments for the first year of activities. If possible, it will also include a guest speaker
• Meet with the core group weekly to discuss progress and next steps
This engagement is expected to be approximately 15 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 am - 5:00 pm Ecuador time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, Teams, Skype, Discord, 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 social work, education, psychology, or a related field

Language: Intermediate Spanish

• Experience in training trainers in themes related to communication, leadership, and/or youth development
• Experience designing and implementing youth development programs and/or related activities

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 social work, education, psychology, or a related field

Technical Skills: Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

Language: Advanced Spanish

• Experience living or working in Latin-America
• Experience designing and implementing training trainers working with youth and/or diverse groups

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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