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Community Development Facilitator

Project description

Moldova is a small and resilient country, tucked away between Romania and Ukraine in the furthest reaches of Eastern Europe. Moldovans are known for their hospitality and have welcomed Peace Corps Volunteers into their communities for over 31 years.

Community Development Facilitator Volunteers provide assistance to community institutions and non-profit organizations to improve their organizational capacity in order to make a significant impact on sustainable community development. The project aims to strengthen Moldovan civil society organizations and local public institutions (like NGOs, local action groups, youth community centers, mayor’s offices, and public libraries) by improving their internal processes, designing short and long-term projects, and supporting organizational leaders’ development to help achieve the mission. The project focuses on partnerships with organizations and communities with limited access to external resources and expertise. Assignments are in both rural locations and regional centers (similar to large towns in the US). In both cases, Volunteers work with host organizations that tend to routinely have informal work plans/schedules and may only have basic facilities and minimal staff.

Volunteers in the Community Development Facilitator position have a unique opportunity to experience the challenges and rewards of grassroots civil society and community development in close partnership with Moldovan colleagues. Most of the partner organizations are at a basic level of organizational development. Volunteers collaborate with local partners to assess organizations together, contribute to the improvement of project planning and management skills, initiate and/or develop internal systems and processes, advance organizational planning, while simultaneously engaging in improving day-to-day operations. Volunteers are involved in working with partners to develop and implement projects in support of community change and improve institutional practices. This can include collaborating with local leaders to assess community assets and needs, refine their vision, and design practical approaches to addressing problems and identifying achievable outcomes. The Volunteer’s role is often to bring optimism and a fresh perspective to communities that have struggled with systemic obstacles. To this end, Volunteers support local counterparts in establishing partnerships with other community institutions and in increasing their visibility in the community. They also assist local organizations to better target and address the needs of their beneficiaries.

Another major task for the Community Development Facilitator is to facilitate youth clubs and camps that build youth leadership, skills and increase civic engagement. This may involve service-learning programs, initiatives focusing on coding/computer skills and leadership skills, as well as local clubs to foster increased volunteerism, environmental awareness, and practical English language usage.

Volunteer assignments are defined by their service in a particular community. Activities in the community must be carried out with a local partner(s), be directed to local beneficiaries, and include element(s) of capacity building.

Required skills

Qualified candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
OR
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired skills

More competitive candidates demonstrate one or more of the following desired skills:
• Skill/experience in aspects of organizational capacity assessment and development (including, for example, strategic planning, SWOT analyses, monitoring and evaluation processes, etc.)
• Experience working in non-profit organizations or community institutions (including, for example, libraries and organizations focused on community services and/or vulnerable populations);
• Skill/experience in facilitation of trainings and workshops for youth and adults;
• Experience as a mentor to youth and/or professional colleagues;
• Skill/experience in public relations, and/or methods for promotion of nonprofits and community institutions;
• Knowledge of community organization and needs-assessment techniques;
• Experience working with diverse segments of community population such as youth, elderly, parents, teachers, public administrators, and local community workers.

Required language skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. This position does not require language background as a prerequisite to service. Experience with romance languages is, however, beneficial for learning Romanian, the primary language that Volunteers are required to learn during Pre-Service Training. As Volunteers need to work closely with professional partners and other community members with limited or no English skills, it is critical for Volunteers to have good Romanian language skills. Trainees must demonstrate, at a minimum, an oral proficiency of Intermediate-Low in Romanian at the end of the 12-week training period. They are also encouraged to develop their language proficiency further throughout their service. Volunteers will also be introduced to the Russian language which is spoken in Moldova.

Living conditions

Housing: Host family accommodation provides a safe, private room, food, access to laundry and internet. Host family stays are required during Pre-Service Training and for at least the first six months in the Volunteer’s permanent community of service. Most Volunteers live with a host family for the full duration of their service, but they may also seek private accommodation after the required six-month period if alternative arrangements are available. Regardless of housing options, Volunteers usually form close relationships with their host families.

Travel and Communication: All Volunteers will be placed in regional clusters so their nearest Volunteers may be in the neighboring village or within 30-60 minutes by vehicle to the predetermined cluster meeting point. Every Volunteer will be placed within three hours from the Peace Corps office in Chisinau by private vehicle, though the journey on public transportation may take longer.

Volunteers are strongly encouraged to come to Moldova with a laptop. It will be used during PST and to perform daily work during service. High-speed Internet connectivity is now available in an increasing number of communities, in some cases where there is no gas or running water. Even though Internet is generally available in all communities, access may be limited due to irregular power supply.

Professional Appearance: Moldovan cultural expectations around professionalism include business casual attire and emphasize a neat appearance. Long hair, untrimmed beards, and mustaches as well as earrings for men are not common in Moldovan culture. Visible tattoos and facial piercings are not openly accepted, especially in rural communities, regardless of gender. Volunteers may be encouraged to cover visible tattoos. Additionally, Volunteers with certain hair styles (locks, hair dyed bright colors, and shaved heads for women) may receive unwanted attention and curious questions regarding their appearance.

Climate: The climate in Moldova has four distinct seasons. Winter lasts from November to March, is usually quite cold, and characterized by snowfalls. High temperatures during the summer (sometimes above 90 degrees Fahrenheit) can also be challenging, given the lack of air conditioning in most buildings.

Diversity: Peace Corps is challenging regardless of where you serve, and in some way or another Volunteers will be a minority. Volunteers who are of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the Moldovan majority, may experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention. Please be aware that American concepts of politeness and appropriate behavior are not universal. Ethnically, nationally, or racially diverse Americans may be asked where they are “actually from” or if they are “really” American. LGBTQ+ Volunteers must be thoughtful about disclosing their sexual identity in their communities and should use careful judgment and PC staff guidance to determine the best way to approach this with their counterparts and community members, if at all. Host families and counterparts are generally very accepting of all Volunteers, despite limited exposure to American diversity and will hold their own assumptions and biases about race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. Many Volunteers have been able to turn these encounters into learning experiences, in which they can share American values, and deepen local community members’ understanding of Americans. Pre-Service Training will address intercultural communication as well as diversity and inclusion to support successful integration for all Volunteers. We encourage you to access the Moldova Country Page on the Peace Corps website for more information regarding diversity and inclusion.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Moldova: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and health/crime statistics in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Medical considerations

Before you apply, please review medical clearance and legal clearance to learn about the process.

Couples information

Peace Corps Moldova cannot accommodate couples who work in the same sector or an English Education Volunteer and Health Education Volunteer pairing.

If one member of a couple applies for the position of Community Development Facilitator, the other member can be considered for either the English Education Volunteer or the Health Education Volunteer position.

Members of couples are separated for the duration of the 11-week Pre-Service Training period, living in separate host family households, and attending training in neighboring villages. While they must work in different sectors, couples serve in the same community after their training period. Once the couple moves to their assigned site, they are required to live with a host family for at least six months but must be prepared to stay with a host family for the duration of their service, given the limited availability of appropriate alternative housing for couples. Volunteers serving as a couple should be flexible and are expected to conform to local living standards.

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