Support the Establishment of a Library and Reading Club at School

Activity/project background

Partner: LEAP 2 Science and Maths School - Crossroads (Community-based Organization)

LEAP 2 Science and Maths School – Crossroads (LEAP 2), located in Cape Town, South Africa, is committed to positive community transformation through impactful, learner-centric education. LEAP 2 mission and goals revolve around the overarching objective of empowering learners to excel in their academic pursuits by enhancing their proficiency in English comprehension.

LEAP 2 requests the support of a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to enhance their educational initiatives, particularly to improve English literacy for its learners. LEAP 2 requests VSPP support in three critical areas: (1) support school leadership to establish and maintain a vibrant library and reading club to foster a love for reading and improve English proficiency; (2) co-train and mentor dedicated tutors in offering literacy programs in English to bridge language gaps effectively; and (3) co-develop a comprehensive classroom and digital materials that support English instruction across all subjects, ensuring learners can excel academically and achieve their full potential.

With the support in these areas from the VSPP, LEAP 2 will continue to make a lasting impact with its educational mission.

The organization has not previously worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer or a VSPP. The partners understand that the role of a VSPP is 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:

• Conduct a community needs assessment with the school to identify the gaps in access to educational resources and determine how a library or reading club would best address those gaps
• Co-develop a sustainable library/reading club model by co-creating a membership system, offering workshops or classes for a nominal fee, or generating revenue for resources through partnerships and services
• Support staff in creating an inviting and functional library/reading club space with brainstorming ideas for reading, study, and group activities, and on organizing arrangement of books and materials
• Train assigned teacher/assistant on library/reading club management, and any technical skills required for maintaining the library/reading club
• Support in promoting a literacy, learning, and reading culture in the school by co-generating ideas for literacy programs, reading challenges, book clubs, and educational workshops that encourage school engagement

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, South Africa time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to 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 any field

• Experience developing and maintaining a library/reading club
• Experience supporting library and reading projects in under-resourced communities

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 education or a related field

Technical Skills: Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication

Experience: Experience supporting literacy programs for students with English as a second language

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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