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Peace Corps Volunteer

Community Economic Development Facilitator

Project description

The Community Economic Development (CED) Peru Project is dedicated to fostering economic development, primarily in rural communities. CED Volunteers are placed in various locations throughout the country, collaborating with a diverse range of community partners. These partners include local government entities, such as Economic and Social Development offices, as well as women's groups, producer associations, artisan associations, schoolteachers, students, community-based organizations, government social programs, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The Volunteer’s primary project is capacity building through unique one-on-one relationships with local development institutions and organizations. Projects seek 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 literacy so that they can achieve economic security and improve their quality of life.
Volunteers will support the CED project by focusing on three primary objectives:
Objective 1: Personal Money Management - Volunteers work with community partners to enhance individuals' money management skills, with a particular emphasis on youth and women. This involves co-training women's groups, small business owners, and students in various aspects of personal finance. Key components include creating personal or household budgets, maintaining essential financial records, developing financial plans for short- and long-term goals, and related topics. Volunteers will also collaborate in establishing and operating community savings groups (CSGs), which are small, community-formed groups typically consisting of 10-20 individuals that provide savings and lending services to one another. Furthermore, volunteers will promote the formation of saving clubs within schools.
Objective 2: Entrepreneurship - CED Facilitators work to cultivate entrepreneurial potential, especially among youth. This involves co-training youth in entrepreneurial behaviors and providing foundational business skills at high schools and technical institutions. This includes training high school teachers in planning and delivering entrepreneurship courses for their students.
Objective 3: Women Economic Empowerment - CED Facilitators actively contribute to increasing women's economic empowerment. This is achieved by co-training community members, with a strong focus on women in personal development (covering self-esteem, leadership, personal vision, gender awareness, etc.) and basic business skills including market assessment, business planning, bookkeeping, marketing, etc.
There are also numerous opportunities to take on secondary projects outside of activities associated with the primary project framework. These may include collaboration with community partners to teach computer classes, digital literacy, organize environmental awareness workshops, develop a school gardening project, coach sports, teach English classes, or even organizing community-wide recycling projects.
Imagine yourself biking through an Andean village one chilly morning. You hear “Buenos dias” as your neighbor greets you in the local accent. He helped your host family with your sweet potato harvest, and right now you’re heading to the high school where you’ll teach financial education to his daughter. You spend the morning using your imperfect but improving Spanish, nurturing your students’ entrepreneurial potential, enhancing their leadership skills, and bolstering their self-esteem. After having lunch with your host mom, you spend the afternoon leading a workshop with local female micro-entrepreneurs. You help empower the group of women, enabling them to nurture their entrepreneurial potential, enhance their leadership skills, and bolster their self-esteem. Visualize the rewarding experience of collaborating with this group of determined women, guiding them to develop essential personal money management skills and set ambitious goals for their future.
If you can imagine yourself making an impact while developing personally and professionally, then Peace Corps Peru invites you to share your passion, commitment, and resilience. While Peace Corps service will present many challenges, the opportunities to bolster community economic initiatives in Peru as a CED facilitator will make a lasting difference in the lives of these communities.

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

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. PC Peru recommends candidates meet one of the following criteria but there are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

A. Completed 2 years of high school Spanish coursework
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college‐level coursework
C. Proficiency in another romance language (e.g. French, Portuguese, Italian)
The national language of Peru is Spanish, while close to 30% of the population Speaks a first language other than Spanish. Pre-Service Training will focus on Spanish and Trainees that will be going to Quechua speaking regions will have an opportunity to learn Quechua, which is commonly spoken in many Andean communities and important for community integration. It is important to maintain an open and positive attitude about language learning, as well as being willing to dedicate substantial time to learning and practicing language outside of formal language class during Pre-Service Training. Trainees will not be able to swear in as a Volunteer unless they meet the benchmark of Intermediate Mid on the ACTFL proficiency scale in Spanish.
All Volunteers learn and work in Spanish. Trainees must demonstrate an intermediate-mid level of proficiency in Spanish after 11 weeks of Pre-Service Training 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 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 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 is more basic, there are 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 Volunteers. Maintaining a vegan or vegetarian is possible but may present challenges while serving in Peru. Volunteers will need to adapt to a new diet and be willing to be flexible in their dietary habits.

Volunteers should be able to walk or use a bicycle to travel to and from work, 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 use public transportation (buses, ‘combis’ [small buses], ‘colectivos’ [shared taxis], or moto-taxis [three-wheeled motorcycles]).

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.
Social Identity and Diversity:
Peace Corps Peru strives to provide the best possible support to diverse Volunteers and recognizes that their experiences as members of different underrepresented groups will present unique challenges as they navigate social, cultural, political, religious, and personal matters. For example, norms around sexual orientation and gender identity may differ from U.S. communities. Volunteers need to be mindful of cultural norms and use their judgment to approach these topics in their communities. Staff and currently serving Volunteers address these topics during Pre-Service Training to share strategies and support mechanisms available to Volunteers.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Peru: 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

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 couples will need each other’s support. Understand that couples will need to put in extra effort to be an ally to your partner. Although couple’s 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.

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