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

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Virtual Service Pilot

Support Rainforest Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems

Activity/project background

Partner: Technological Institute of Production---CITEforestal, Maynas (Government)

CITE Forestal Maynas (CITE) is a Peruvian governmental agency operating in Loreto Region that supports all stages of the lumber value chain from harvest to transformation to various products. CITE has ample experience with the transfer of technology to value chain actors. CITE’s remote sensing laboratory provides technical assistance to support production and training in the use of geo-technology tools such as geographic information systems that includes both software such as satellite images and computer programming, and hardware such as sensors and drones.

CITE has the technological resources to implement these innovative methodologies but does not have enough specialists to create the appropriate algorithms for the identification and automation of forest activities with the use of satellite images and sensors on drones. Building off the work of a previous Peace Corps Response Volunteer, CITE requests the support of a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) in training CITE personnel on developing algorithms and validating the accuracy of techniques used in target areas. The VSPP will strengthen CITE’s capacity on identification and automation of forest activities using satellite images and sensors on drones.

CITE has previously collaborated with a Peace Corps Response Volunteer. They understand that the role of a VSPP is 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-plan and co-develop an initial report on the current state of the Remote Sensing Laboratory with proposals for improvement and a final report indicating achievements, problems, and lessons learned
• Co-facilitate the training workshop for CITE Forestal Maynas personnel with program languages and automation such as Python, R, and similar
• Co-develop algorithms for inventory/census of Amazon species together with the CITE Forestal Maynas team
• Together with CITE Forestal Maynas personnel, co-validate the proposed algorithms, with the inventory/census in the concession area of the IMAZA Company

VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week. This engagement is estimated to be 8-15 hours per week.

Online collaboration will generally occur between 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Peru time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Microsoft Office tools and Zoom or Google Meet 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 with specialization in remote sensing, geographic information systems, and programming

Language: Intermediate Spanish

Experience:
• 2 years of experience in the development of algorithms oriented to geographic information systems (GIS)
• 2 years of experience with remote sensing and sensors
• 1 year of experience working with program languages and automation such as Python, R, or similar

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: Certification and/or currently enrolled in courses in the management of GGE, QGIS, Jupiter, Python, R, space databases

Language: Advanced Spanish

Experience:
• Experience with virtual engagement and communication
• Experience with software PIX4D Fields, PIX4D MApper, QGIS and ARCGIS
• Experience working in the Peruvian Amazon or similar geographic areas
• Experience working on similar projects in other countries

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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