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Peace Corps Volunteer
2 years, 3 months
Peace Corps Response
Up to 12 months
Virtual Service Pilot
3-6 months

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Virtual Service Pilot

Co-develop Home Gardening Guide for Urban Areas

Activity/project background

Partner: Miraf Hulegeb Yeketema Limat Dirgit (Local NGO)

Established in 2007, Miraf Hulegeb Yeketema Limat Dirigit (MHYLD) is an Ethiopian non-profit organization dedicated to improving communities. The organization is focused on empowering women and children in the areas of economic development, education, urban home gardening, gender equality and leadership, peace building, capacity building trainings, and skill training for income generation.

Currently, the organization is training women-headed, resource-limited households in small urban spaces on urban gardening activities such as container gardening, vertical agriculture, integrated systems like combining aquaculture with vegetable production or vegetable production with chicken production. The target group would like to build the skills and knowledge to fully utilize advanced gardening methods that would maximize their yields and improve resource efficiency in small urban spaces. Additionally, MHLYD staff need training to effectively transfer these gardening skills to program participants.

MHLYD seeks the support of a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to address critical knowledge gaps within the urban gardening project aimed at women-headed, resource-limited households. With the VSPP’s support, MHLYD's program will have additional training resources and guides to be able further their goals to empower women and families to grow their own food more efficiently and sustainably.

MHLYD has not previously collaborated with Peace Corps. They understand that the role of a VSPP is very different than a two-year Volunteer.

Engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:

• Co-develop a comprehensive guide on home gardening in small spaces specific to urban settings
• Develop and deliver transferable skill-sharing training sessions on productive urban gardening for the project staff
• Co-develop a plan for the proper utilization and reuse of wastewater in the gardening program
• Co-create a manual on how to generate income from a sustainable home garden

VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week. This engagement is estimated to be 6 hours (2 hours online) per week.

Online collaboration will generally occur between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Ethiopia time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, Teams, WhatsApp, and email for regular communication and collaboration.

Per the Child Protection Code of Conduct, when engaging online with minors (0-18), two adults must be present.

Optional additional activities

The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Goal 1 will be achieved through the VSPP's engagement and completion of the above tasks. The counterpart and VSPP may also choose to identify an activity that aligns with Goal 2. Additionally, the VSPP may identify a Goal 3 activity to implement during their engagement. See recommendations and tools for Goal 3 activities.

Essential qualifications

Education: Bachelor’s degree in any field

Experience: Experience working in agriculture, gardening, or related

Intercultural skills and motivation: Flexible, strong cross-cultural agility, high tolerance for ambiguity, able to work independently, resourceful, creative, and genuinely motivated and capable to serve virtually

Desired qualifications

Education: Bachelor’s degree in agronomy, horticulture, or a related field

• Experience with virtual engagement and communication
• Experience with urban agriculture
• Experience working on women’s empowerment programs
• Experience with agricultural extension techniques
• Experience generating income from an urban garden

Terms and conditions of engagement

VSPPs will be engaging with the host country partner, in coordination with Peace Corps post staff, remotely from the US. They should have access to a computer, internet, and telephone in order to enable direct engagement with the Peace Corps overseas office and the Host Country Counterpart assigned by the host country partner.

Orientation with the host country partner will be provided, within the designated virtual service hours, during the first week of virtual service via an online presentation and discussion. The host country partner will provide an overview of its organization, the local context, and how they envision collaborating with the VSPP.

The VSPP will have regular check-ins with their counterpart and bi-weekly check-ins with Peace Corps staff. Spending unstructured time with counterparts can be critical to relationship-building and is encouraged through activities such as coffee chats and informal calls within the weekly 5-15 hours.

Engagement safety and security

The VSPP will receive an orientation on Peace Corps’ Child Protection Policy and how it relates to online engagement along with IT security best practices. The VSPP will be expected to follow safety and security guidelines for online engagement to ensure their safety and that of the Host Country Partner and their counterpart, and any beneficiaries of the engagement.

Supervision requirements

The VSPP will report to a designated Peace Corps staff member. The VSPP will be expected to abide by the Virtual Service Pilot Participant and Donation Agreement and Participant Principles of Engagement. The VSPP will also be expected to check in with the designated host country counterpart as assigned by the host county partner.

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