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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

Support Fruit & Vegetable Productivity and Irrigation for Local NGO

Activity/project background

Partner: Wolaitta Development Association (Local NGO)

Wolaitta Development Association (WODA) is a socio-economic development NGO in Ethiopia that enhances active community participation to initiate and sufficiently work on demand-driven development programs. Wolaitta Development Association has been implementing sustainable livelihood security projects for several years and an estimated 1 million people have benefitted from their intervention. WODA has established a 9.5 hectares (23.5 acres) plot in Ampo Koisha to serve the surrounding community as a demonstration and training center on water and soil conservation, organic fertilizer production, seedling preparation of indigenous tree and fruit bearing plants, fishery, and more. WODA has taken the initiative to produce different crops and vegetables at the center, however, the production was not satisfactory. This is mainly due to the implementing staff (agricultural experts) lacking basic knowledge and skills in agricultural crop production.

WODA is also coordinating another project at a 1,200 hectares (2,965 acres) plot of land located in Abala Abaya. This large-scale crop production project is intended to improve livelihoods as an income generation activity. The land at Abala Abaya project is fertile and has access to irrigation, however, the area is located at semi lowland and there is river that flows down to the farm. The farm area has been frequently hit by water flooding and erosion, causing the planted crops and vegetables to be damaged and households displaced; the area needs drainage canal construction and other biological activity to resolve the flooding issue. WODA has recently secured the farm and has not engaged in production intensively. Currently, WODA plans to engage in agricultural production using the irrigation at the farm. However, there is a knowledge and skill gap on irrigation scheme development and production of quality vegetable and fruit crops.

Therefore, with both projects, WODA would like support from a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to improve the knowledge and skills of the 4 agricultural experts who are based in the same location but supporting the 2 different projects. The area of improvement would focus on vegetable and tropical fruit production and improving existing irrigation schemes.

WODA has not previously worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer or a Virtual Service Pilot Participant. 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:

• Assess existing knowledge and skills of WODA agricultural staff
• Co-design tropical fruit and vegetable production, management, and crop water requirement training sessions
• Co- facilitate training sessions to equip agricultural staff with improved horticultural (vegetable and fruit) crop production

This engagement is expected to be approximately 25 weeks. VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week.

Meetings between VSPPs and Host Country Counterparts will take place during normal office hours. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access Zoom, 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 with tropical fruit production
• Experience developing irrigation schemes

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 agriculture, horticulture, or related field

Technical Skills:
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication
• Familiarity with various crop irrigation systems

Experience:
• Experience with large-scale tropical fruit production
• Experience developing large scale irrigation schemes

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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