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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 Strategy to Strengthen Participation of Students in Schools

Activity/project background

Partner: Ministry of Education (Government)

In Columbia, the Ministry of Education, Department of Education Quality (Dirección de Calidad de Educación) belongs to the Vice-Ministry of Preschool, Primary, and Secondary Education, and is responsible for developing at least 10 objectives to ensure the quality of education in Colombia. Of these 10 objectives, the "Transversal Pedagogical Programs" team is responsible for the following three objectives specifically regarding the participation of children and young people, grades 3-11, in public schools: 1) to build peace through education and unlearn racism, classism, centralism, and all forms of discrimination by recognizing and valuing differences; 2) to learn to be citizens in the midst of a society marked by armed conflict and violence; understand its history and impact and establish a commitment to reconciliation; and 3) to acquire competencies for emotional management and the meaning of life and humanity, empathy with others and nature, and making decisions about one's own body with responsibility and autonomy.

To achieve these objectives, the participation of children and young people in public schools is essential and must include the following components: 1) ensure authentic participation of students so that they have a voice and vote in the decisions made by School Governance; 2) consolidate spaces for student discussion and collaboration that allow for informed decision-making; 3) extend the participation of children and young people in the community beyond the school, to engage in community participation instances and have a voice and vote; and 4) develop communication strategies that enable children and young people to be informed about the decisions and actions implemented as a result of their participation.

To support the Transversal Pedagogical Programs team, the Ministry of Education is requesting the support of a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to provide an international perspective in the co-design of the strategy for children’s participation in public school education outlined above. The VSPP will also co-develop a workshop and resources to support implementation of the strategy with staff from the Ministry of Education, Education Secretariats, and the PTA (Todos a Aprender/Integral Training 3.0 Program team) - a group from the ministry that is working with public school teachers across Colombia.

The Transversal Pedagogical Programs team has not previously collaborated with the 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-design the participatory strategy for public schools to strengthen the participation of children, adolescents, and youth in the educational processes
• Participate in the formative process for the PTA program (Todos a Aprender/Integral Training 3.0 Program), MEN (National Ministry of Education) team, and teachers from public schools
• Co-design the resources required for the formative process: such as PowerPoint presentations, worksheets to develop workshops

VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week. This engagement is estimated to be 15 hours per week of which 4 hours will be online working with partner staff.

Online collaboration will generally occur between 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Colombia time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Teams program 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 in any field

Language: Intermediate Spanish

• 3 years of experience teaching primary school
• Participation in communities of practice related to primary school education

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 elementary education, early childhood education, human development, family studies, primary education, or related field

Language: Advanced Spanish

• Experience with virtual engagement and communication
• Experience with community mobilization for education
• Experience in the training of trainers

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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