Community Economic Development Facilitator

The Peace Corps continues to monitor and assess the COVID-19 pandemic domestically and internationally. The locations and timing of returning Volunteers to service will be determined on a country-by-country basis. The positions and projected departure dates listed below are subject to change.

Project Description

Peace Corps Dominican Republic’s Community Economic Development project is uniquely positioned to support the economic security and upward mobility of Dominican households, with a specific focus on contributing to the economic prosperity of women and youth. Volunteers work alongside community counterparts and serve as co-facilitators and trainers to develop the capacity of individuals to secure employment, create self-employment opportunities, and successfully manage income and enterprise profits for the benefit of their households. Furthermore, Volunteers of this project collaborate to facilitate linkages between national economic development initiatives and the daily reality of individuals in communities where Volunteers live and serve, thereby improving economic opportunities at both the person-to-person and community levels. Here are two examples of how Volunteers do this:
1) Community Economic Development Facilitator Volunteers promote entrepreneurship among youth by co-facilitating workshops that support youth in understanding how to design and run a small business. Activities like this directly support the Dominican government initiative of promoting business development in young people, especially in regions and communities where there is little employment, and where most people generate income from their own ingenuity.
2) Some Community Economic Development Facilitator Volunteers also support business cooperatives or associations by supporting the provision of technical guidance around business skills and practices. This work directly supports the Dominican government's Small, Medium Enterprise Center initiative which aims to provide technical assistance to associations in order to improve their chances of economic success.

Further, the Community Economic Development project seeks to empower youth and community-based business groups and entrepreneurs with the tools they need to determine and manage their economic destiny. Most often, Volunteers engaged in this program work at the grassroots level in rural and semi-urban communities. Broadly speaking, these Volunteers work with individuals, both students and adults, to build and improve their business skills.

The project targets different areas of Community Economic Development and Volunteers and their counterparts aim to:
• Increase youth capacity to pursue and achieve economically productive livelihoods;
• Increase individuals’—especially women’s—capacity to implement small-scale economic activities and manage profits;
• Strengthen the organizational capacity of community-formed groups (e.g., associations, cooperatives, women’s groups); and
• Increase individuals’ capacity for personal money management.

The goal of the program is for Volunteers to work alongside Dominican households to support them as they work toward livelihood security and upward economic mobility. Volunteers are placed in communities with a high school or an entrepreneurship youth group, and in most cases, a community-based business group. Collaborative project activities include:
• Co-teaching financial literacy and entrepreneurship classes to high school students;
• Facilitating workshops with community members to improve income generation;
• Consulting with small business owners to support improvement of business practices;
• Consulting with small business cooperatives to improve their overall organizational structure and business activity (e.g., working with an association of beekeepers for honey production, working with a fish cooperative that supplies fish to the local market, supporting a burgeoning ecotourism group to give guided tours of a local nature reserve, or working with a group of women in a chocolate processing facility); and
• Developing and delivering trainings on money management, such as savings and budgeting for either adults or youth.

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

Competitive 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:

• Master of Business Administration degree or a Master of Arts/Master of Science degree in Business Administration, Public Administration, Management, Accounting, Banking, or Finance
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Economics or a degree combining agriculture and management, including agribusiness, agricultural management, farm management
• At least 3 years of experience in farm management and/or agribusiness
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any business or economics discipline with 1 year experience in farming or agribusiness
• Experience working with entrepreneurship
• Experience in one or more of the following areas: sales and marketing, bookkeeping, management or administration
• Experience working with youth

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).

Competitive candidates will have conversational Spanish skills at the time they apply and will commit to continuing their language learning while awaiting departure. Peace Corps Dominican Republic provides intensive language training during the 11-week Pre-Service Training. At the end of training, Trainees are required to have an intermediate level oral proficiency in Spanish in order to be sworn in as a Volunteer. Trainees that arrive with conversational Spanish skills are likely to reach this level.

Living Conditions

Living Arrangements: Volunteers will live with a host family during the 11-week Pre-Service Training in a community near Santo Domingo. Volunteers will live with a second host family for the first 4-6 months of service in their assigned community. This living arrangement is designed to facilitate language acquisition and community integration. Although most Volunteers are able to move out on their own after the obligatory 4-6 month homestay period (in addition to the 11-week training homestay), there is no guarantee that independent housing will be available.

Service Locations and Transportation: Volunteers are assigned to both rural communities and small towns. Living conditions and transportation limitations can contribute to a physically demanding two-year Peace Corps service. Volunteers will be limited to the transportation available in their communities (generally, this includes regular or semi-regular service by pick-up trucks, vans, and/or collective taxis). In some cases, Volunteers may be required to walk long distances to work engagements.

Housing and Amenities: The houses where Volunteers live typically have corrugated steel roofs, walls of wood or cement block, and cement floors. They may or may not have amenities like running water, electricity, or reliable phone service. Most communities that host Volunteers have phone service within the community. However, there are situations where Volunteers have to travel up to an hour to access phone network. While most communities have electricity, power outages are common.

Dress and Appearance: Personal appearance is important for Volunteers representing the Peace Corps and Dominican partner agencies. Dominicans consider personal appearance to be an important indicator of a person, and a Volunteer’s appearance will influence their relationship with the community. Volunteers are expected to dress to Dominican standards for development professionals.

Diversity and Support: Peace Corps Dominican Republic staff provide support to a diverse Volunteers. in addition, Volunteers use their experiences as members of different groups and identities to help their peers navigate social, cultural, political, religious, personal, and other challenges. Current Volunteer support networks include the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Marginalized Voices Support Group, and the Pride LGBTQI+ Support Group. Please see below for additional considerations.

Sexual Orientation: Intolerant attitudes towards the LGBTQI+ community are still held by many people. While same-sex relationships are not illegal in the Dominican Republic, most Dominican communities only accept heterosexual relationships. However, LGBTQI+ Volunteers find safe spaces within the Peace Corps network and when visiting larger metropolitan areas.

Ethnicity and Race: Different American ethnic, racial, or national minority identities are not always viewed as “American.” Volunteers may experience negation of their American identity due to local assumptions of who an American is or what an American looks like. Some Black American or African American Volunteers may be confused to be Dominican. Others, including those who choose to wear their hair naturally or in braided hairstyles, or those who have darker skin tones, may be assumed to be Haitian. These misunderstandings may result in a Volunteer's citizenship being questioned or differential treatment. Volunteers find support and representation within active Dominican natural hair movements, especially found in large cities. Despite these challenges, many Volunteers have been able to turn these encounters into learning experiences on the diversity of American culture and successfully complete their services with support from Peace Corps, other Volunteers, and community members.

Serving in Dominican Republic

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Dominican Republic: 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

Peace Corps Dominican Republic is able to accommodate cross-sector couples and couples serving together within the Community Economic Development sector. Therefore, an applicant for this program who would like to serve with a partner must have a partner who applies and qualifies for one of the following opportunities:
• Community Economic Development Facilitator, or
• Spanish Primary School Literacy Promoter

All Trainees are required to live with host families during Pre-Service Training. If partners are assigned to different sectors, the partners will live apart for most of Pre-Service Training. Couples who are in different sectors are usually allowed to visit each other for two weekends during the training. After swearing in, Volunteers are required to live with a host family in their assigned community for a minimum of four months. The same is required for couples, but only for six weeks.

The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couples placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process, recruiters and placement officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities. For more information please visit:”

Medical Considerations

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

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