Community Economic Development Facilitator

Project Description

The Community Economic Development (CED) Program has been working in Peru since 2002. It 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 counterparts, including local government (Economic and Social Development offices), women’s groups, school teachers, and community-based organizations.

This work may include co-training women’s groups, small business owners, and students in personal money management skills such as developing a personal or household budget, keeping basic financial records, developing a basic financial plan for short and long-term financial goals and other related topics. Volunteers will also co-facilitate the creation and operation of community savings groups (CSGs) which are small community-formed groups (generally 10–20 individuals) that provide savings and lending services to one another.

CED Facilitators promote women’s economic empowerment by co-training community members (especially women) in personal development (self-esteem, leadership, personal vision, gender awareness, etc.) and basic business skills (market assessment, business planning, book-keeping, marketing, etc.).
CED Facilitators co-train youth in entrepreneurship behaviors and basic business skills at high schools and technical institutions. This includes 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 may include collaboration with community partners to teach computer classes, organize environmental awareness workshops, develop a school gardening project, coach sports, teach English classes, or even organize community-wide recycling projects.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

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:
• 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 candidates 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 11.5 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 a Quechua speaking community, 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 proficiency in Quechua after 11.5 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 mountain areas are often high-altitude communities with cold weather and a wet and dry season. Rainforest communities experience more rain throughout the year and sometimes hotter climates.
It is common for CED Facilitators to live and work in small to mid-sized towns, usually provincial or district capitals, which facilitates 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).
Host Family:
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 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.

Peru is known as the gastronomic capital of South America. While Volunteers’ daily diet will 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 is a high-starch diet (potatoes, rice, or cassava) and potentially includes an option of meat, chicken, or fish. Host families prepare meals based on what is 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 Volunteers may be, and they are not expected to prepare special meals for you. Volunteers will need to adapt to a new diet and be willing to be flexible in their dietary habits.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, transportation options for Volunteers will be regulated in accordance with the risk posed by community transmission. Peace Corps Peru staff will advise Volunteers on the safest approved options during training and throughout service. Volunteers should be able to walk or use a bicycle to travel to and from work, for shopping for basic needs (food items, personal care, household essentials, etc.), and for other personal errands in their assigned community. For official travel (training, health, or administrative reasons), Volunteers will travel in Peace Corps vehicles or other private transportation provided by Peace Corps. Use of public transportation (buses, ‘combis’ [small buses], ‘colectivos’ [shared taxis], moto-taxis [three-wheeled motorcycles]) will depend on community transmission risk levels, as determined by Peace Corps Peru staff.

Wi-Fi availability at restaurants and cafés 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 to successful service. International telephone service to and from Peru is relatively good. There are various international phone cards available in Peru, or Volunteers can find a phone plan that allows them to make international calls.

Serving in Peru

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Peru: 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

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 due to working in different project sectors. During service, couples will also live together with a host family. Couples will be separated for workshops and conferences for up to two weeks at a time due to in-service training events.
Going through Peace Corps as a couple allows for ample growth in trust, confidence, and communication. There will be times when you will both need each other’s support. Understand that you will need to put in extra effort to be an ally to your partner. Although you will not be able to completely eradicate many of these challenges, they can be coped with and overcome with time, patience, and, most importantly, a good sense of humor.

Medical Considerations

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

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