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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

Strengthen Self-Resilience Among Kherson Refugees and Displaced Youth

Activity/project background

Partner: Kherson Oblast Library for Children (Government)

Following Russia's military occupation of Kherson, a significant number of its residents were compelled to flee, seeking refuge in other parts of Ukraine and beyond its borders. Understanding the plight of its displaced youth, the Kherson Oblast Library for Children swiftly adapted to the situation by relocating to the West of Ukraine and transitioning its activities online. With a renewed commitment to supporting the vulnerable population, the library remains actively engaged with its members, offering resources and educational opportunities specifically tailored to the needs of displaced and refugee youth (e.g. English-speaking clubs, leadership, employment clubs, etc). As the war continues, unfortunately, the return date to Kherson remains uncertain for many of its citizens. Therefore, youth are trying to rebuild their lives in host communities. However, they often encounter challenges in reinventing their experiences and acquiring or bolstering the self-reliance and self-confidence necessary for successful integration into their host community.

The Oblast Library for Children is seeking support from Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to co-develop and co-conduct a training program for displaced and refugee youth (aged 14-18) that equips them with essential emotional and social skills. These skills are crucial for not only surviving but thriving in host communities, both in Ukraine and abroad. The training program will cover skills such as self-control, resilience, positive self-concept, self-confidence, mindfulness, in addition to higher order thinking skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making. Through this program, Ukrainian youth will learn how to cultivate resilience in the face of adversity, challenges, and stress. With the support of the VSPP, students will develop a resilient mindset and adapt to change with confidence and a positive self-image.

The organization has previously collaborated with the Peace Corps. Prior to war the organization hosted Volunteers, and during war, the library engaged with VSPP on English-speaking club for youth. They understand that the role of a VSPP is very different than a two-year Volunteer. Peace Corps Ukraine is seeking a VSPP who is empathetic to the lived experiences of the internally displaced library staff and youth who are the focus of this engagement.

Engagement and tasks

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

• Coordinate with library partner to learn about youth challenges and needs in regard to self-reliance efforts in host communities
• Co-design a club curriculum (topics may include understanding emotions, coping mechanism, self-control, resilience, positive self-concept, self-confidence, problem-solving, critical thinking, decision-making, mindfulness, etc.)
• Co-facilitate at least 12 club meetings for a group of youth once a week for approximately 1.5 hours
• Attend a weekly meeting with the Ukrainian counterpart for feedback and discussion

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

Online collaboration will generally occur between 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Kyiv time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, WhatsApp, Telegram, emails 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 psychology, education, or any related field

• 1 year of experience facilitating emotional support, emotional resiliency, or recreational activities
• 1 year of experience working with youth (aged 14-16) in some capacity, such as a teacher, counselor, mentor, coach, or volunteer

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 psychology, education, or any related field

• 1 year of experience working with refugees in some capacity, such as a teacher, counselor, mentor, coach, or volunteer
• 1 year of experience with coaching youth to build self-confidence and develop resilience and self-reliance

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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