Business Development Volunteer

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Peace Corps began its program in Ukraine in 1992. Initially, the project was called Business Development. At that time, the project aimed to support Ukraine’s transition to a free market economy. As the country changed, so did the project priorities.

The current challenge for local governments and civil society organizations is the lack of capacity, especially the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to facilitate sustainable community development that is rooted in civic engagement, cross sector cooperation, use of local resources, transparency and accountability and the sense of ownership of their community.
The project’s goal is to help Ukrainian communities become more socially and economically vibrant through a stronger civil society and business environment. Volunteers help establish new partnerships and strengthen existing cooperation between community members and groups in order to enable the community to more effectively assess, plan, and implement community, social, and economic development.

The Project Objectives are:
1. Citizen Participation and Service Learning
2. Organizational Development
3. Economic Opportunities

Volunteers help their Ukrainian counterparts develop leadership skills, promote volunteerism, civic engagement, service learning, advocate for positive changes, and strengthen civil society. Volunteers also assist in organizational capacity building of the partner organizations in the areas of planning, internal management, programming, service delivery, and financial sustainability.

In the realm of small business and economic development, Volunteers improve the business skills of their Ukrainian counterparts and help them cultivate new economic opportunities to benefit their communities. In the current environment, Volunteers may be involved in activities like sustaining volunteerism, facilitating fundraising, developing charity and philanthropy, as well as assisting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), veterans and local government reform on decentralization.

Decentralization is the most significant reform that aligns with the Peace Corps niche in Ukraine. This reform is aimed at strengthening civil society and encouraging civic engagement at local levels. The legislation transfers powers from the national-level Office of the President and Cabinet of Ministers to local governments, empowering them to be more effective in delivering services to the community. It also gives local governments more budgetary powers in the delivery of their community services. As promising as the reforms may sound, they also presents a set of challenges, such as lack of experience in local government, skills, and human and financial resources. This is where the Community Development Volunteers’ diverse cultural and professional background will be an asset.

SPECIAL NOTICE ABOUT CITIZENSHIP: Ukraine does not recognize dual nationality. Candidates who were born in Ukraine are not eligible to serve in Peace Corps Ukraine. Volunteer safety is of paramount importance, and the protections of U.S. citizenship promote Volunteer safety. Under Ukrainian law, anyone born in Ukraine who became a U.S. citizen or holds a Ukrainian passport is considered a citizen of Ukraine, and not of the United States. If such an individual faced a legal, safety or other emergency situation in Ukraine, the Peace Corps' ability to intervene would be limited. If you fit either of these categories, please look at other assignments.

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will meet or exceed the following criteria:
• BA/BS in any business field (Economics, Business Administration, Management, Accounting, Banking, Finance, Marketing);
OR
• 5 years business experience
• Flexibility, adaptability, emotional maturity, ability to overcome challenges, cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity, creativity, and a sincere commitment to Peace Corps service.

Desired Skills

Skills that make Business Development candidates more competitive include:
• Strong presentation and training facilitation skills;
• Fundraising and grant writing experience;
• IT skills.

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

The Ukrainian language is considered to be a difficult – but not impossible – language to learn. The key to success is attitude.
Peace Corps Ukraine offers a strong, 11-week, pre-service language learning program to get you started with your language learning journey. Ukrainian is the national language, and every Volunteer is advantaged by having a language foundation in Ukrainian. Volunteers should be prepared to serve in Ukrainian-speaking communities even if they bring Russian language skills. However, many communities also speak Russian outside of formal settings, because Ukraine is a bilingual country. Volunteers may elect to switch to Russian after training, but their training in Ukrainian will remain an asset.
Trainees must demonstrate a minimum novice-mid oral proficiency in Ukrainian by the end of pre-service training.
Prior experience of studying a foreign language will be of use.

Living Conditions

Host Family
Host family stays are required during the 11 week pre-service training (PST) and initial 6 months of service. The Ukrainian diet is bread-based with fruits and vegetables, and pork and dairy prepared daily. Host family accommodation provides a safe, private room with basic furniture, a shared bathroom and kitchen. Volunteers will be expected to keep their living space neat and clean and according to the standard of their host family.

After the first 6 months of service, Volunteers may move into separate housing, which may include a room in a dormitory, a private apartment or house, or a part of a family house. Volunteers often choose to live with their host families for their entire service, as the experience yields close relationships and deeper cultural integration.

Diversity Challenges
As an American abroad, you will be a minority and may invite unwanted attention. Peace Corps Ukraine’s pre-service training will address these types of issues to prepare you for service. Despite limited exposure to American minorities, Ukrainian society is gradually becoming more tolerant with regards to ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.

Ukraine has strictly defined conservative gender roles, especially for women. While homosexual relationships are not considered a crime, sexual orientation and gender identities are considered taboo topics in Ukraine. Most LGBTQ Volunteers choose to be discreet about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity within their host communities. Volunteers of a diverse range of backgrounds have successfully been able to serve in Ukraine.

Transportation
Like most Ukrainians, Volunteers will use public transportation. The country is well-served by trains. Volunteers use mini-buses for inter-city transportation. Volunteers usually walk from home to the first available transportation; this could take between 10 to 45 minutes. In most small villages walking is the main way of getting around or to the main road. High car accident rates and pickpocketing are main Safety and Security threats for travelers. PCVs are provided training on how to mitigate the risks during Pre-Service Training.

Climate
The climate in Ukraine includes four distinct seasons. Winter lasts from November to March and can be cold with heavy snowfalls and ice. Volunteers should come prepared with warm winter clothes since many public buildings are not heated or poorly heated.

Dress
You have been invited to serve in Ukraine in a professional capacity and therefore we expect that you will bring with you professional attire. This attire will be appropriate for your work setting and for walking about town. How you are dressed will greatly impact how you are perceived and your credibility in your community.

Physical requirements
Assignments in Ukraine are physically challenging and will require volunteers to be physically fit to walk up and down stairs, ride public transportation, and sometimes use a Turkish squat toilet. Volunteers must be able to walk on uneven terrain/pavement and carry at least 20 pounds.

Working conditions/hours
Volunteer service is a full-time job. You will work a full day based on the schedule of your school, center, or organization. The usual schedule is Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and at times you will need to work on weekends. While in the school environment you will be expected to work during class time, much of your work with students will occur after class time or in the latter part of the day. You will be expected to set a good example by being punctual and by being available at the workplace during business or school hours.

Internet Access
Internet is available in most places, though connection speed and consistency can often be lower than what is customary in the USA. At times, Internet access will be limited due to irregular power supply, poor telephone lines, or limited Wi-Fi capabilities. 3G internet via cellular network is available in all big cities, most towns and

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ukraine: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Couples are separated during pre-service training. In the event they are placed in different communities, a couple can meet during weekends at one of the communities. Before placing a Trainee in the family, the option of visiting a spouse is discussed with the host family.
When couples are assigned to their sites, they will live together, and the mandatory 6 month host family stay also applies to couples. There are sites available for couples. Couples have separate work assignments within the same community and are placed in schools.

Medical Considerations in Ukraine

  • Ukraine may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified.
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: gluten, peanuts.
  • After arrival in Ukraine, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot and mandatory immunizations.

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.


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