Community Development Facilitator

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Peace Corps domestically and internationally.

The information provided for each assignment is subject to change, including the tentative departure date.

Project Description

Moldova is a small and charming country, tucked away between Romania and Ukraine in the furthest reaches of Eastern Europe. On the map it looks like a bunch of ripe grapes, which is no coincidence: Moldova has the highest percentage of land dedicated to vineyards in the world. Moldova will surprise and intrigue you at every turn, leaving you with unforgettable memories and unique stories.

Community Development Facilitator Volunteers provide assistance to community institutions and non-profit organizations to improve their organizational capacity in order to make a significant impact on sustainable community development. The project aims to strengthen Moldovan civil society organizations and local public institutions (like NGOs, youth community centers, mayor’s offices, and public libraries) by improving their internal processes, designing short and long-term projects, and supporting organizational leaders’ development to help achieve the mission. The project focuses on partnerships with organizations and communities with limited access to external resources and expertise. Assignments are in both rural locations and regional centers (similar to large towns in the US). In both cases, Volunteers work with host organizations that tend to routinely have more informal work plans/schedules, and may only have basic facilities and minimal staff.

Volunteers in the Community Development Facilitator position have a unique opportunity to experience the challenges and rewards of grassroots civil society and community development in close partnership with Moldovan colleagues. Most of the partner organizations are at a very basic level of organizational development. Volunteers collaborate with local partners to assess organizations together, contribute to the improvement of project planning and management skills, initiate and/or develop internal systems and processes, advance organizational planning, while simultaneously engaging in improving day-to-day operations. Volunteers are involved in working with partners to develop and implement projects in support of community change and improve institutional practices. This can include helping local leaders assess community assets and needs, refine their vision, and design practical approaches to addressing problems and identifying achievable outcomes. The Volunteer’s role is often to bring optimism and a fresh perspective to communities that have struggled with systemic obstacles. To this end, Volunteers support local counterparts in establishing partnerships with other community institutions and in increasing their visibility in the community. They also assist local organizations to better target and address the needs of their beneficiaries.

Another major task for the Community Development Facilitator is to facilitate youth clubs and camps that build youth leadership, skills and increase civic engagement. This may involve service-learning programs, initiatives focusing on coding/computer skills and leadership skills, as well as local clubs to foster increased volunteerism, environmental awareness, and practical English language usage.

Volunteer assignments are defined by their service in a particular community. Activities in the community must be carried out with a local partner(s), be directed to local beneficiaries, and include element(s) of capacity building.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

More competitive candidates demonstrate one or more of the following desired skills:
• Skill/experience in aspects of organizational capacity assessment and development (including, for example, strategic planning, SWOT analyses, monitoring and evaluation processes, etc.)
• Experience working in non-profit organizations or community institutions (including, for example, libraries and organizations focused on community services and/or vulnerable populations);
• Skill/experience in facilitation of trainings and workshops for youth and adults;
• Experience as a mentor to youth and/or professional colleagues;
• Skill/experience in public relations, and/or methods for promotion of nonprofits and community institutions;
• Knowledge of community organization and needs-assessment techniques;
• Experience working with diverse segments of community population such as youth, elderly, parents, teachers, public administrators, and local community workers.

Required Language Skills

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

This position does not require language background as a prerequisite to service. Experience with romance languages is, however, beneficial for learning Romanian, the primary language that Volunteers are required to learn during Pre-Service Training. As Volunteers need to work closely with professional partners and other community members with limited or no English skills, it is critical for Volunteers to have good Romanian language skills. Trainees must demonstrate, at a minimum, an oral proficiency of Intermediate Low in Romanian at the end of the 11-week training period. They are also encouraged to develop their language proficiency further throughout their service.

A limited number of Volunteers may be placed in communities where Russian is the primary language. Those in this situation receive training in Russian language but this is in addition to, rather than instead of, Romanian language instruction. Trainees selected for these sites must demonstrate Novice High oral proficiency in Russian Language at the end of the 11-week training period and continue to develop this ability throughout their service. Priority for placement in Russian speaking communities is be given to applicants with some background in Russian language. Those not selected to serve in this environment are expected to develop Romanian language, as described above.

Living Conditions

Housing:
Host family accommodations provide a safe private room, food, access to laundry, access to transportation and sometimes internet (for an additional fee). Host family stays are required during the 11-week Pre-Service Training period and at least six months in the community of service. A majority of Volunteers live with a host family for the full duration of their service, but they may also seek private accommodations after the required six-month period if alternate arrangements are available. Regardless of housing options, Volunteers usually form close relationships with their host families.

Travel and Communication:
Some Volunteers are placed in sites where transportation is limited, or may not run regularly. They may also be a significant distance from other Volunteers and/or the Peace Corps office in Chisinau.

Volunteers are required to come to Moldova with a laptop. It will be used during PST and to prepare for daily work during service. High-speed Internet connectivity is now available in an increasing number of communities, in some cases where there is no gas or running water. Even though the internet is generally available in all communities, access may be limited due to irregular power supply.

Professional Appearance:
Moldovan cultural expectations around professionalism include business casual attire and emphasize a neat appearance. Long hair, untrimmed beards and mustaches as well as earrings for men are not common in Moldovan culture. Visible tattoos and facial piercings are also not accepted, regardless of gender. Additionally, Volunteers with certain hair styles (dreadlocks, hair dyed bright colors, and shaved heads for women) may receive unwanted attention and curious questions regarding their appearance.

Climate:
The climate in Moldova has four distinct seasons. Winter lasts from November to March, is usually quite cold, and characterized by heavy snowfalls. High temperatures during the summer (sometimes above 90 degrees Fahrenheit) can also be challenging, given the lack of air conditioning in most buildings.

Diversity:
Peace Corps is challenging regardless of where you serve, and in some way or another all Volunteers will be a minority. Volunteers who are of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the Moldovan majority may find they experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention. Please be aware that American concepts of politeness and appropriate behavior are not universal. Ethnically, nationally, or racially diverse Americans may be asked where they are “actually from” or if they are “really” American. Host families and counterparts are generally very accepting of all Volunteers, despite limited exposure to American diversity. Additionally, many Volunteers have been able to turn these encounters into learning experiences, in which they can share American values and deepen local community members’ understanding of Americans. Pre-Service Training will address intercultural communication as well as diversity and inclusion to support successful integration for all Volunteers. We encourage you to access the Moldova section of the Peace Corps website for more information regarding diversity and inclusion.

Social Security Administration:
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has indicated that it shall not continue Social Security payments to recipients who live in certain countries where Peace Corps serves (including Moldova) except under very specific procedures that require them to appear personally before a US Consular Officer every six months and fill out special SSA paperwork. Peace Corps Moldova has found practical ways to help individual Volunteers who are SSA recipients to fulfill the SSA’s in-person visits and form requirements. However, due to the fact that SSA requirements can change, Peace Corps cannot absolutely guarantee that the current process will continue indefinitely.

Serving in Moldova

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

Couples Information

Peace Corps Moldova cannot accommodate couples who work in the same sector or an English Education Volunteer and Health Education Volunteer pairing.

If one member of a couple applies for the position of Community Development Facilitator, the other member can be considered for either the English Education Volunteer or the Health Education Volunteer position.

Members of couples are separated for the duration of the 11-week Pre-Service Training period, living in separate host family households and attending training in neighboring villages. While they must work in different sectors, couples serve in the same community after their training period. Once the couple moves to their assigned site, they are required to live with a host family for at least six months but must be prepared to stay with a host family for the duration of their service, given the limited availability of appropriate alternative housing for couples. Volunteers serving as a couple should be flexible and are expected to conform to local living standards.

Medical Considerations

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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