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

Co-Develop Intercultural Global Citizenship Training for Youth

Activity/project background

Partner: National University «Yuri Kondratyuk Poltava Polytechnic» (NUPP) (Government)

As part of the European integration process and to instill European values in students, the National University, Yuri Kondratyuk Poltava Polytechnic (NUPP), in Poltava, Ukraine prioritizes international activities within its educational framework. This includes engaging foreign specialists in teaching roles, hosting guest lectures, coordinating international training programs and projects, and participating in exchange initiatives. In the past year alone, over 160 students and faculty members have taken part in various international programs. However, feedback from participants in these programs has revealed a notable deficiency: students lack the necessary intercultural communication competencies. This shortfall impedes their ability to adapt to foreign cultural environments and limits their ability to fully benefit from the experience. Consequently, NUPP is seeking assistance from a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to collaboratively develop a training program that equips Ukrainian youth with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to thrive in an interconnected and culturally diverse global landscape.

By engaging with a VSPP, Ukrainian youth will be trained to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world, fostering mutual understanding and promoting the values of global citizenship in these difficult times. The program will address topics such as cultural stereotypes, biases, and microaggressions, and encourage critical thinking to challenge assumptions and stereotypes. Developing cultural sensitivity and competence will help Ukrainian youth navigate cultural differences with respect and empathy. They will develop intercultural communication skills, such as active listening, nonverbal communication, and conflict resolution. Additionally, youth will acquire skills for leadership and advocacy roles while abroad, and will be able to effectively lead diverse teams, advocating for Ukraine in a culturally acceptable way. Moreover, engaging with the VSPP will allow youth to feel connected to the rest of the world and learn about the latest news, trends, and developments, which will contribute to their psychological well-being. It will have a positive effect on students’ motivation and desire to grow and learn.

The National University «Yuri Kondratyuk Poltava Polytechnic» has previously collaborated with the Peace Corps. They understand that the role of a VSPP is very different from that of a two-year Volunteer.

Engagement and tasks

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

• Collect baseline data on students' intercultural competence and gather feedback from teachers on issues with intercultural integration
• Co-develop a curriculum on topics related to developing intercultural competence and global citizenship (such as U.S. culture and values, customs, traditions, lifestyle, problem-solving, cultural sensitivity, communication, and active-listening skills, giving and receiving feedback, etc.)
• Co-develop teaching resources for at least 12 training sessions (session plans, presentations, handouts, videos, and podcasts)
• Co-facilitate a weekly 1-hour training session for a group of 15 students (17-22 years old)
• Attend a weekly meeting with the Ukrainian counterpart for feedback and discussion

VSPPs are expected to engage in the abovementioned tasks for an estimated 5-15 hours per week. This engagement is estimated to be 5 hours per week.

Online collaboration will generally occur between 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. by Kyiv time. Specific times will be determined during orientation depending on the location of the VSPP.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, Teams, WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber, Slack, emails, Google Docs 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:
• 1 year and more of experience working with youth in some capacity, such as a teacher, counselor, mentor, coach, or volunteer
• 1 year and more of experience with training and facilitation

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: Master’s degree in any field

Experience:
• Experience with virtual engagement and communication
• 1 year of experience teaching intercultural communication and/or global citizenship
• 1 year of experience with curriculum and workshop development

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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