Community Economic 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

The Community Economic Development (CED) Program has been working in Peru since 2002. The CED program seeks to enhance the capacity of the most vulnerable populations, especially women and youth in rural communities, to expand their economic opportunities in income generation, entrepreneurship and financial education so that they can achieve economic security and improve their quality of life.

CED Facilitators will have the opportunity to collaborate with a variety of community leaders, including Economic and Social Development Government offices, women’s groups, teachers, and community-based organizations.

This work may include teaching basic personal money management skills such as budgeting, saving, separating business from personal accounts and other related topics to women’s groups, small business owners, and students. They will also create and support community savings groups which provide savings and lending services to one another.

Additionally, CED Facilitators train youth in entrepreneurship and basic business skills at high schools and technical institutions. This will also include training high school teachers in planning and facilitating entrepreneurship courses for their students.

There will also be numerous opportunities to participate in secondary activities. These might include (but are not limited to) teaching computer classes, organizing environmental awareness workshops, developing a school gardening project, coaching sports, teaching English classes, or even organizing community-wide recycling projects.

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 business discipline
• 5 years professional experience in business management

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:

• Masters of Business Administration degree or a Masters of Arts/Masters of Science degree in Business Administration, Public Administration, Management, Accounting, Banking, or Finance
• Experience working with entrepreneurship, especially with youth and women
• Knowledge of financial education/literacy and micro-finance
• Experience in business advising/coaching
• Experience delivering training/facilitating workshops
• At least 1 year of experience working with cooperatives, small business, or credit unions involving management or administration, sales and marketing, cost analysis, financial planning, inventory control and/or bookkeeping
• Experience working with teachers/school personnel and/or with youth (16-24 years old)
• Experience working with community based organizations and/or in community development projects.

Required Language Skills

Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position.

A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college‐level coursework within the past 6 years
C. Native/fluent speaker of Spanish

Candidates who do not meet the language proficiency levels above can take the language placement exams to demonstrate their level of proficiency. Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).

All Volunteers learn and work in Spanish. Trainees must demonstrate an intermediate-mid level of proficiency in Spanish after 12 weeks of Pre-Service Training in order to swear-in as a Volunteer.

Some Volunteers may be placed in Quechua speaking communities. To be considered for placement in one of these communities, Trainees must arrive to Post with a Spanish proficiency level of intermediate high or higher. While continuing to learn Spanish, these Trainees will receive 7 weeks of basic Quechua language training (equivalent to 40 hours of Quechua). Trainees studying Quechua should demonstrate novice-mid level of proficiency in Quechua after 12 weeks of Pre-Service Training.

Living Conditions

Geography and Climate:
Peru has three primary geographic regions: Pacific Coast, Andean mountains, and Amazon rainforest. The climatic conditions in each of these three regions are vastly different depending on the time of year. Pacific coastal communities can experience hotter, drier climates year round with little to no rainfall. The Andean Mountain areas are often high altitude communities with cold weather, experiencing a wet and dry season. Amazon rainforest communities experience more rain throughout the year and sometimes hotter climates.

CED Facilitators are assigned to all three geographic regions and often live and work in small to mid-sized towns, usually provincial or district capitals, which will facilitate access to organizations and small businesses with whom they will work. The smallest sized community would be comprised of approximately 2,000 people. If placed in a district town, it will also be important for CED facilitators to engage smaller rural communities surrounding the area (called caseríos or annexes), to which Volunteers will walk or ride a bike to visit.

Host Family:
All Volunteers are required to live with a host family during Pre-Service Training and in their assigned community for the full two years of service. Couples will live together with the same host family. The homestay experience increases Volunteer safety and security, language acquisition, and overall integration and it is often one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences in a Volunteer’s service.

Diet:
You will come to love the food in Peru. Its cuisine rivals many, and Peru is known as the gastronomic capital of South America for a reason. Peru is famous for “lomo saltado” (a stir fried steak dish with peppers and onions), as well as many varieties of “aji” (a traditional spicy chili paste that goes great with meat, chicken, fish, and vegetables). While your daily diet may be more basic, there will be plenty of opportunities to explore traditional Peruvian foods.

The Peruvian diet varies based on geographic location, but in general it will include a high-starch diet (potatoes, rice, or cassava) and potentially include an option of meat, chicken, or fish. Host families will prepare meals based on what’s available in their area and Volunteers should be prepared to eat with host families to show respect for their hospitality and culture. Host families are not accustomed to eating as many fruits and vegetables as you may be yourself, and they are not expected to prepare special meals for you. For the most part Volunteers will need to adapt to a more basic diet with little diversity which is generally very carbohydrate heavy.

Transportation:
All Volunteers will have access to regular transportation options in their communities, although some walking may be required in more rural areas. For interregional travel, Volunteers typically take large, double-decker buses which provide a comfortable experience on long journeys. In regional capitals taxis and moto-taxis (three wheeled motorcycles or “tuk-tuks”) are commonplace. In some communities Volunteers will ride in shared local taxis called “colectivos” to get to the nearest town. These taxis are less formal than in regional capitals. Volunteers are not placed in communities where horseback riding is necessary, and it is discouraged for safety reasons.

Communication:
Wi-Fi availability at restaurants and cafes is common in Peru, especially in bigger cities. However, once a Volunteer is placed in their permanent community, they may or may not have access to the internet and will have to learn to do without until they can go to a larger city. Adaptation is the key for successful service.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Peru: 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

Peru cannot accommodate couples within the same sector. Therefore, your partner must qualify and apply for: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Education Facilitator

Couples will live together with a host family during Pre-Service Training but may be separated for certain field-based activities because they will be in different project sectors. During service, couples will also live together with a host family, but will be separated for workshops and conferences for up to two weeks at a time due to in-service training events.

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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