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

Strengthen English Skills of Women Empowerment NGO Staff & Volunteers

Activity/project background

Partner: Women Empowered, WE-NGO (Local NGO)

Women Empowered (WE-NGO) is a local development NGO based in Cotonou, the capital city of Benin. The NGO promotes social empowerment and economic opportunities for girls and women who face difficult economic and personal circumstances in the country and has several ongoing activities including: an internship project for the socio-professional integration of young girls, free computer training for young girls in Benin, social and financial education, and programs promoting the sexual and reproductive health for all girls and women.

As part of its activities, WE-NGO communicates and collaborates with English-speakers, primarily technical and financial partners abroad or local representatives in Benin. As English is the first language of international relations, mastering it becomes necessary and essential for all forms of partnerships and negotiations. Therefore, WE-NGO is seeking a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to strengthen the English skills of 20 staff members and volunteers who are native French speakers. These staff members and volunteers have beginner to intermediate levels of English, and improving these skills will strengthen the capacity of the organization to network with English-speaking stakeholders. The volunteers are from all socio-professional categories, aged 18 to 25. They are dynamic and committed and support the organization in its administration, operations, as well as through numerous field activities for children, adolescents, young people, and women from vulnerable and disadvantaged social groups.

This engagement will focus on listening, speaking, reading, and writing comprehension for intercultural contexts to prepare WE-NGO for interacting and communicating with English speakers from different cultures.

The organization 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:

• Conduct a language assessment of 20 learners to determine if they are beginner or intermediate level English learners
• Form 2 language groups – one beginner and one intermediate – based on language levels assessment results
• Prepare curriculum and activities that emphasize speaking, listening, reading, and writing for beginners and intermediate learners
• Deliver one 2-hour lesson per week to each learning group (two 2-hour sessions per week total)
• Assess learners’ progress throughout the engagement

VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week. This engagement is estimated to be 5 to 9 hours per week (4 hours of online instruction and 2-4 hours of offline preparation).

Online collaboration will generally occur between 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Benin time between Monday and Friday. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to email, Google Meet, and WhatsApp 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

Language: Intermediate French

Experience: 2 years of experience in TEFL/English teaching to university students or adults

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 of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in English, Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), English as a Second Language (ESL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), foreign language, or Applied Linguistics

Language: Advanced French

• Experience with virtual engagement and communication
• Experience teaching English in an online environment

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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