Local Government and NGO advising Volunteer

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Peace Corps began its program in Ukraine in 1992. Initially, the project was called Business Development. At that time the project aimed to support Ukraine’s transition to a free market economy. As the country changed, so did the project priorities.

The current challenge for local governments and civil society organizations is the lack of capacity, especially the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to facilitate sustainable community development that is rooted in civic engagement, cross sector cooperation, use of local resources, transparency and accountability and the sense of ownership of their community.

The Peace Corps Ukraine Organizational Development project will strengthen organizational capacity at the local level by assigning Volunteers to local government bodies, and community-based organizations that facilitate community development.

Project Goal:
Local governments and CSOs lead sustainable community development efforts.

Project Objectives:

1. Strengthen organizational systems and promote organizational learning.
2. Improve organizations’ project design and management practices.
3. Promote collaborative engagement among organizations and community stakeholders.

Volunteers might be asked to help their Ukrainian counterparts cultivate new economic opportunities to benefit their communities. As a response to the newly emerging environment, the areas of activities Volunteers may include sustaining volunteerism, facilitating fundraising, developing charity and philanthropy, tourism, as well as assisting with local government reform on decentralization, and working with vulnerable populations including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Enabling Policy Environment
Decentralization is the most significant reform that aligns with the Peace Corps niche in Ukraine. This and other reforms strengthen civil society and encourage civic engagement at local levels. The legislation transfers powers from the national-level Office of the President and Cabinet of Ministers to local governments, empowering them to be more effective in delivering services to the community. It also gives local governments more budgetary powers in the delivery of their community services. As promising as the reforms may sound, they also presents a set of challenges, such as lack of experience, skills, and human and financial resources. This is where the Community Development Volunteers’ diverse cultural and professional background will be an asset.

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree with an emphasis in Organizational Development, Project Management, Local Economic Development, Nonprofit Management, Public Administration, Philanthropy, Marketing, Social Science, or any closely related field, and 2 years management, project design and management or organizational development experience with nonprofit organizations; OR
• Master of Arts/Master of Science degree with an emphasis in Organizational Development, Project Management, Local Economic Development, Nonprofit Management, Public Administration, Philanthropy, Marketing, Social Science, or any closely related field/ and at least 1 year management, project design and management or organizational development experience with nonprofit organizations;
• Ability to mentor, co-facilitate, co-plan and co-implement with Ukrainian partners,
• Ability to introduce innovative organizational development and time-management practices and work alongside Ukrainians to ensure their implementation;
• Good facilitation and presentation skills;
• Patience, flexibility, adaptability, emotional maturity, and an ability to overcome challenges

Desired Skills

• 2-5 years of paid or volunteer experience in organizational development;
• 2-5 years of paid or volunteer experience in project design and management;
• 2-5 year of paid or volunteer experience in developing communication strategies, designing and coordinating networking events, local advocacy or campaign work, and/ or network or partnership building;
• Good understanding of contemporary management approaches (such as Lean Six Sigma, Scrum and/or similar methods), frameworks and applications;
• Experience conducting Organizational Capacity Assessments, and other standard analyses, and other asset-based assessments;
• Ability to lead non-formal community club discussions on one or more of the following topics: civic engagement/education, financial literacy, urban design and planning, public spaces for community members, environmental issues and recycling, and public speaking;
• Ability to generate and develop creative fundraising strategies;
• Ability to assist with grant writing;
• Experience working with local rotary clubs or chamber of commerce;
• Experience in local government administration or council is a plus;
• Information and Communication Technologies abilities;
• Tourism development;
• Social entrepreneurship.

Required Language Skills

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

The Ukrainian language is considered to be a difficult – but not impossible – language to learn. The key to success is attitude.

Peace Corps offers a strong, 10-week, pre-service language learning program in Ukrainian to get you started with your language learning journey. Ukrainian is the national language, and every Volunteer is advantaged by having a language foundation in Ukrainian. Volunteers should be prepared to serve in Ukrainian-speaking communities even if they bring Russian language skills. However, many communities also speak Russian outside of formal settings, because Ukraine is a bilingual country. Volunteers may elect to switch to Russian after training, but their training in Ukrainian will remain an asset.

Trainees must demonstrate a minimum novice-mid oral proficiency in Ukrainian by the end of pre-service training.

Prior experience of studying a foreign language will be of use.

Living Conditions

• Host Family
Host family stays are required during the 9 week pre-service training (PST) and initial 3 months of service. A host family may be the only option for Volunteers during their service in some communities.
You will eat with your Ukrainian family. The Ukrainian diet is bread-based diet with lots of wheat and grain breads, pork and dairy prepared daily. It is also very rich in fruits and vegetables during the summer, but mostly root vegetables during the winter months. Nearly 50% of Ukrainian households have indoor pets, and cats or dogs can be expected in many homes. Host family accommodation provides a safe private room with basic furniture and shared bathroom and kitchen facilities.
After the first three months of service, Volunteers may move into separate housing. Other options for housing may include a room in a dormitory, a private apartment or house, or a part of a family house.
• Diversity Challenges
We encourage you to access our website for more information regarding diversity and inclusion at:
Peace Corps is challenging regardless of where you serve, and in some way or another you will be a minority and may invite unwanted attention. Peace Corps Ukraine’s PST will address these types of issues to prepare you for service.
• Transportation
Volunteers will use public transportation just as most Ukrainians do. The country is well-served by trains. On shorter routes, Volunteers use mini-buses for inter-city transportation. Many roads are in poor conditions. Volunteers usually walk from home to the first available transportation, and this could take between 10 to 45 minutes In most small villages walking is the main way of getting around or getting to the main road. High car accident rate and pickpocketing are main Safety and Security threats for travelers. PCVs are provided with the respective training on how to mitigate the risks during Pre-Service Training.
• Climate
The climate in Ukraine includes four distinct seasons and is similar to the upper Midwest or upstate New York. Winter lasts from November to March and can be cold with heavy snowfalls and ice.
• Dress
Men and women should bring business casual clothing for work and casual settings. When it comes to packing, less is more. Also, Volunteers tend to overpack for winter and forget that Ukraine can be very warm in the summer, and air conditioning is uncommon. There are abundant second hand shops in Ukraine and Volunteers and staff make good use of them.
• Physical requirements
Assignments in Ukraine are physically challenging and will require volunteers to be physically fit to walk up and down stairs, ride public transportation, and sometimes use a Turkish squat toilet. Volunteers must be able to walk on uneven terrain/pavement and carry at least 20 pounds.
• Working conditions/hours
Volunteer service is a full-time job. You will work a full day based on the schedule of your school, center, or organization. The usual schedule is Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. There also will be times at which you will need to work on weekends. While in the school environment you will be expected to work during class time, much of your work with students will occur after class time or in the latter part of the day. You may find that some of your colleagues do not firmly observe business hours, but as a development worker you will be expected to set a good example by being punctual and by always being available at the workplace during business or school hours.
• Internet Access
Internet is available in most places, though the connection speed and consistency can often be lower than to what you are accustomed. At times, Internet access will be limited due to irregular power supply, poor telephone lines, or limited Wi-Fi capabilities. 3G internet via cellular network is available in all big cities, most of towns and a part of small communities.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ukraine: 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 Ukraine has volunteer placements for couples.

Medical Considerations in Ukraine

  • Ukraine may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified.
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: gluten, peanuts.
  • After arrival in Ukraine, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot and mandatory immunizations.

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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