Organizational Development Volunteer

Before You Apply

You can only have one active Peace Corps Volunteer application, so choose a position that best fits your skills and interest. You have the opportunity to tell us if you’d like to be considered for other openings and more about the ones that interest you most! See application process

Project Description

As an Organizational Development (OD) Volunteer, you will be assigned to work in a municipal government office, a non-governmental organization (NGO), state institution, or a state social services department. From these organizations you will address the needs of the community in regards to social services, youth culture, sports and civil society, project development, or European Union (EU) integration.

The Organization Development project has three objectives:
1. Strengthen the capacity of organizations to improve the services to their constituents.
2. Develop the capacity of organizations and community members to empower them & increase their civic engagement.
3. Promote increased collaboration between and among community organizations and their stakeholders.

To achieve these objectives, you will work alongside others at your host organization to engage in the following:
• Building civil society
• Cultivating a culture in which individuals actively participate in identifying and assessing community needs and priorities as well as in local decision-making;
• Youth development: Creating programs and community services that develop youth job skills, professional readiness, leadership, and volunteerism;
• Marketing and outreach: Promoting the historical, cultural, and touristic assets of your community;
• Advocacy and lobbying: Assessing community needs and outreaching to build support for important community issues;
• Project design and management.

Your work is not limited to these areas – Volunteers in the OD project are encouraged to work on a broad base of topics and issues as directed by the needs of the community.

Volunteers heavily work with youth to develop their entrepreneurial and employability skills, including resume writing, job research, interviewing, mentoring, internships, and job-related soft skills. Volunteers and their local counterpart/s are the main liaisons with their community's youth council, working to develop civic awareness campaigns and youth participation in decision making and other community projects.

Volunteers also collaborate with their colleagues to promote networking and partnership-building among local stakeholders and assist community organizations with project design and management. They support their counterparts, build skills in management, organizational development, customer service, and financial management.

In many Albanian communities GIS (geographical information system)/mapping or information/communication technology development experience may be useful for secondary projects or as a minor part of your main project.

Additionally, as a Volunteer you may also engage in the editing of English language materials, training others in basic computer skills, helping your colleagues improve their business English skills, teaching conversational English to colleagues and other community members, or promoting healthy lifestyles. Your host agencies and other organizations working to promote civil society and institutional development in Albania will provide various types of support for your activities.

Volunteers are placed in communities throughout Albania, excluding the capital city of Tirana. The vast majority of Volunteers will live in rural areas, however, in some rare cases Volunteers may be placed in a few of the larger towns.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any business discipline
OR
• 5 years professional experience in business and/or nonprofit (NGO) management
AND
• Strong desire to work with, develop, coach, and mentor youth

Desired Skills

Experience in one or more of the following areas:
• Project design and management
• Entrepreneurship: Promoting/building a culture of entrepreneurship
• Tourism marketing: Promoting your community’s historical, cultural, and touristic assets
• Advocacy and lobbying: Building support for community-identified issues

Required Language Skills

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

Pre-Service Training (PST) will focus on language and cross-cultural adaptation. Albanian (Shqip) is a challenging language. Your language training will focus on developing your competency as a communicator, not grammar skills. Language acquisition is difficult and will consume a substantial part of your time and energy during training.

You will speak in Albanian for the majority of your service. PST will give you the basis for continuing to develop your language skills during service. Diligent commitment to learning Albanian during PST and throughout your service will help you acquire language skills that will be critical to developing relationships within your communities and the success of your projects.

Following PST, all Volunteers are required to retain a tutor for the initial six-months of service.

Living Conditions

HOUSING
You will live with a host family during Pre-Service Training and for the first six months after training in your permanent community. After that period, you may choose to live with a different host family or may live independently in housing identified by you or your host agency. In some small towns, it is not possible for Volunteers to move from their host family due to the limited availability of housing options. Peace Corps works with your host agency to ensure that all housing meets Peace Corps’ safety and security criteria.

Housing options in Albania are generally small in scale. You should anticipate living in less space, in closer proximity to others, with far fewer amenities, and less privacy than you are used to. In rural parts of Albania, housing is often scarce and in many communities, it is unusual for anyone, man or woman, to live alone – or to walk alone in the street. Most communities in Albania are conservative and close-knit. Many Volunteers choose to live with a family after the introductory 6-month home stay for many reasons, including convenience, social integration, personal security, or a lack of other housing options.

Most Albanian villages and towns have electricity and running water, but power and water outages are frequent. Houses are not centrally heated and most Albanian families heat only one room with a gas, wood, or electric heater. Peace Corps will provide you a small space heater for your bedroom, but many Volunteers still spend most of the evening with host family members in the one heated room. Toilets are often squat-style. Volunteers should be prepared to adjust in all ways to living with an Albanian family. It is common, especially in the winter, for families to smoke indoors and spend time as a family in only one room to conserve heat.

Outside temperatures range from 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer to below freezing during the winter, depending on your location. Volunteers should be prepared for a wide spectrum of climates throughout their service.

LIFESTYLE
You will need to modify your standard of living while serving in Albania. This may be more difficult than it seems. Volunteers also often face challenges around the expectations of community members who perceive Americans as wealthy. These expectations are sometimes reinforced by the smart phones, tablets, expensive-looking cameras and AirPods that Volunteers use during service. As a Volunteer you will need to become careful in how you carry yourself or use electronics that are not widely accessible to Albanians.

During your service, you will spend most of your time in your community but may travel periodically to the closest larger town to access supplies and services (including an ATM). You should be prepared to walk long distances (several miles) regularly, often on uneven ground. Additionally, you should expect to carry your own luggage. Peace Corps will provide you with several items related to health and safety (water filter, smoke alarm, fire extinguisher, and other items); you should expect to be responsible for transporting these items as well.

Volunteers are not permitted to take leave during Pre-Service Training, during their first three-months at site, or during their last three-months at site.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Albania: 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 in Albania welcomes couples serving together during service. For couples to be considered, your partner must qualify and be invited to serve as a:

- Health Education Volunteer or
- English Education Volunteer

Albania cannot accept couples serving in the same sector.

Couples will likely be placed with different host families during Pre-Service Training, allowing them to study language independently, train with peers from their own programmatic sector, and grow and develop individually before joining their partner once training is complete.

Following PST, couples will be placed in the same host family.

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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