Community Organization Development Volunteer

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Project Description

Community Organizational Development Volunteers work with local government and civic society organizations to promote citizen participation, especially among youth and women. Volunteers work alongside locals to strengthen the organizational capacity of local institutions, while also encouraging volunteerism through community-based projects. To support the economic upward mobility of youth and women, Volunteers organize employment skills training (networking, resume writing, interview, etc.)

Volunteer duties often consist of the following:
• Co-facilitate with local partners a community needs assessment to determine local needs and priorities;
• Co-facilitate community-based projects based on locally identified needs;
• Plan and facilitate extracurricular programs that bolster employability skills;
• Coordinate youth programming including clubs, camps, sports and other extra-curricular activities that support youth employability, life skills, leadership, and volunteerism;
• Implement workshops to raise awareness about key issues and concerns in the community, (example: environmental protection, gender equality & property rights);
• Support organizations’ preparation and submission of project and grant proposals;
• Mentor youth and/or women in life skills and employability skills.
Other expectations include:
• Demonstrate independence, self-initiative, flexibility, open-mindedness, and commitment to serve.
• Possess an attitude of humility and curiosity towards other cultures.
• Exhibit adaptability and a willingness to sensitively communicate even when confronting challenges.
• Demonstrate empathy and a willingness to view situations from multiple perspectives.

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

• Experience in management or organizational development with nonprofit organizations
• Experience planning and organizing non-formal educational activities (clubs, camps, sports activities, etc.) for youth.
• Experience working on gender equality/women and girls’ empowerment initiatives or programs
• Experience developing employability skills for youth or women
• Experience in fund development and grant writing

Required Language Skills

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

While there is no language requirement for acceptance to serve in Peace Corps Kosovo, some sites have no English speakers, so all candidates should come fully prepared to learn the local language(s). There is great emphasis placed on Volunteers' language acquisition. All Peace Corps Volunteers are required to learn either Albanian or Serbian based on the language of the community where they will serve. Most Volunteers learn Albanian. Those Volunteers who are interested in learning Serbian and living in a non-majority community can indicate so before pre-service training. Peace Corps encourages Volunteers to continue language learning throughout service by providing tutoring support.

Living Conditions

Most Community Organizational Development Volunteers will live in medium sized towns and/or small cities (population 5,000 – 50,000). Kosovars are known for their generous hospitality and graciousness and have favorable impressions of United States citizens. U.S. Citizens are generally highly respected in Kosovo, perhaps more than any other country where Peace Corps serves.

While some locations in Kosovo have good infrastructure and aspects of modern living, others do not. Homes generally have access to electricity, running water, and modest living conditions.

Some Important Considerations about Life in Kosovo:

• All Volunteers live with host families for 27 months of service, in order to facilitate community integration, language acquisition, and cultural adaptation. The host families provide living space that meets Peace Corps standards (a secure, private bedroom with basic furniture, a shared bathroom and kitchen).

• Winter lasts from November to March with some snowfall, similar to the Mid-Atlantic area of the U.S. However temperatures may feel colder because few homes have central heating. The majority of homes in Kosovo use wood stoves for heating just one room of the house where everyone gathers in during the cold months. Homes, schools, and office buildings typically do not have heating or air-conditioning. Smoking inside households is very common.

• Kosovo is a conservative culture with traditional gender norms. Kosovars are generally tolerant of different religions, but outward displays of religious symbols are discouraged. In smaller communities, there are more conservative views regarding alcohol consumption, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Larger towns and cities may have different views. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address these topics during pre-service training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees.

• In an office or work environment, conservative attire and neat appearance is expected. Bring work appropriate / business casual attire for all seasons, including hot Summers, cold Winters and mild Spring and Autumns.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Kosovo: 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

Couples are generally well regarded and treated with respect. They typically encounter fewer integration issues because marriage between a man and a woman is a common convention. Couples live with a host family during their service. They may be extended a bit more privacy in the household. During the 10 week Pre-Service Training, couples are offered the option to either live together or live separately. Living separately during training can assist with quicker language acquisition and cultural integration. Couples typically work in different sectors (Education and Community Organizational Development). Education sector couples may be accommodated, but couples cannot both serve in Community Organizational Development. Collaboration between the sectors is encouraged.

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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