Community Development Facilitator in Coastal Resource Management

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

Community Development Facilitators (CDFs) work in Local Government Units (LGUs) at the provincial, city, or municipal level. The LGUs have the mandate to manage the coastal and marine resources under the Local Government Code (Republic Act 7160) of the Philippines. Volunteers work alongside LGU staff members and people in the community on a variety of activities around environmental education, community organizing, and local government planning. While the specific activities depend on the needs of the LGU and community, typical activities include:

• Facilitation of participatory coastal resource assessments

• Development and/or update of databases (e.g. Coastal Environment Profile)

• Development and/or update of the 5-year LGU Coastal Resource Management Plan

• Review of existing laws and guidelines that govern the management of coastal and marine resources and exploration of the possibility of improving those laws and guidelines

• Strengthening of community-based organizations (e.g. youth, women, fisherfolk)

• Establishment and/or enhancement of a marine protected area management system

• Development of enterprise/alternative livelihoods in the community

• Facilitation of children and youth engagement for in-school and out-of-school children

• Participation in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office through coastal resource management planning and activities

Volunteers work primarily with people and are not technical advisors. As Community Development Facilitators, Volunteers spend most of their time talking and working with people in government, the school community, women’s groups, children and youth groups, and the fisherfolk in general. As a result, Volunteers must have good people skills and the interest and ability to work with people of all ages from different sectors of the community. Additionally, Volunteers need to develop the ability to understand and diplomatically navigate the political dynamics in the LGU and community so they can strategize win-win solutions that strengthen the local coastal resource management program and the community’s buy-in to support that program. This includes respect for the bureaucratic government processes and timeframes in terms of program implementation

Depending on the LGU and calendar of activities, Volunteers may have weeks or months when they spend most of their time in the LGU office. During other times, Volunteers may spend time away from the office doing environmental education in schools, community organizing with individuals and organizations, and meetings with fisherfolk and other groups.

Community integration is an indispensable part of Volunteer work. To be successful in service, Volunteers must have an interest in Filipino culture and a willingness to integrate into their Filipino community. The responsibility for integration rests on Volunteers and host communities, and that includes learning the local language. During Pre-Service Training, Peace Corps Philippines provides tools and strategies for Volunteers to enhance their community integration and language acquisition. The Volunteers’ main focus during their first three months at their permanent sites is community integration. Volunteers may find that utilizing social media, for example Facebook, will help them connect with a larger community. By devoting attention to community integration and language learning, Volunteers lay the groundwork for their future community work.

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 an expressed interest in Coastal Resource Management, Community Organizing, and will meet one or more of the following criteria:

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in any discipline

• 5 years’ of professional experience.

All candidates are required to have significant confidence in swimming and comfort or experience with snorkeling (having a scuba certification is NOT required).

Due to Philippines government visa requirements and the government’s current strong stance and action on combatting drug production, distribution/trafficking, and use, applicants will not be considered for Peace Corps positions in the Philippines at this time if they have ever been convicted of any crime, even if it was expunged or sealed, and even if they otherwise would meet the standards for legal clearance to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer more generally.

Desired Skills

Highly desired skills for this position include:

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Biology, Zoology, Marine Biology, Ecology, Environmental Science, Environmental Education, Environment Studies, Conservation, Community Development, Natural Resource Management, Coastal Resource Management

• 5 years’ of experience working in coastal resource management

• Certification/Diploma in Primary or Secondary Education

• Strong interest and interpersonal skills in working with children, youth, mothers, and fishermen in under resourced communities

• Facilitation skills in conducting environmental awareness in schools and/or with local community organizations

• Facilitation skills in policy development or governance issues

Required Language Skills

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

Filipino (a dialect of Tagalog) is the national language of the Philippines. Volunteers must demonstrate an intermediate level in Tagalog by week 8 of Pre-Service Training. Starting the last 2 weeks of Pre-Service Training, most Volunteers will start to learn a secondary local language associated with their assigned site. A Volunteer’s dedication to learning language will set them up for success during their service. Having this skill will help Volunteers better integrate into their community. Additional language resources to improve Volunteers’ local language skills will be offered at Peace Corps training events and through independent tutoring during service.

Living Conditions

Housing:

Housing conditions for Volunteers vary widely depending upon their community and can range from heavily urban to very rural. In underdeveloped areas, housing typically is a hollow concrete block or a mix of concrete, wood and bamboo structure. In more developed areas, housing can be either the same or built with full concrete and modern design. Most houses have running water and electricity.

Host Family Situation:

Volunteers will live for eight weeks in a training center during their Pre-Service Training. Typically, Volunteers live with host families for the first four months in their permanent communities. After this period, Volunteers may choose to continue living with a host family or move into their own rented accommodations. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to continue living with host families to strengthen their language fluency and integration into the community.

Cultural Challenges:

Volunteers will encounter very different social and cultural norms that require patience, and flexibility. For example, the American sense of privacy in terms of information-sharing or physical space does not exist in many Philippine communities. Volunteers are frequently asked personal questions, e.g. one’s religion and marital status, and people will wonder why a Volunteer might want quiet moments alone.

Some American women may experience difficulties in adjusting to the limitations on women that are imposed by the culture. Views and attitudes about what is proper for girls and women can be very traditional and conservative such as being home by sunset and having a host family member or relative accompany them when going out with male friends or community members. Philippine families and co-workers automatically take great responsibility for protecting female Volunteers.

Diversity Challenges:

Volunteers of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the majority of their country of service may find they experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention. This can be uncomfortable, but Volunteers are encouraged to use these moments as opportunities to deepen local community members’ understanding of U.S. diversity by sharing their values and experiences. The Peace Corps recognizes that this is challenging. Staff will address identity related concerns during Pre-Service Training. There are support networks within Peace Corps Philippines including trained staff that can advise Volunteers on cross cultural integration throughout their service.

Transportation:

There may be limitations for taking public transportation, due the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers will need to demonstrate added flexibility and understanding, as evolving COVID-19 mitigation policies may limit available modes of transportation. Volunteers should feel comfortable walking up to 30 minutes to reach their work site, and may be required to bike up to 6 miles a day in the heat. Typically, the most common means of transportation are jeepneys, buses and minibuses. The LGU will provide transportation if the Volunteer needs to go to surrounding villages for any CRM related activities.

Climate:

The climate of the Philippines is tropical and characterized by relatively high temperatures and high humidity. Generally, the country experiences two major seasons: (1) the rainy season from June through November, and (2) the dry season from December to May.

Dress:

Philippine culture is conservative with strict norms related to appearance and dress. Therefore, Volunteers must be prepared to abide by these guidelines to ensure a successful service. Volunteers with visible body piercings or tattoos will need strategies to conceal them. Volunteers are looked upon as role models in the community and are therefore expected to be neat, clean and well-groomed even in informal occasions. Men should be clean shaven and may not have visible piercings especially if working in the schools.

Serving in Philippines

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Philippines: 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.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.


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