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

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Virtual Service Pilot

Support Strategic Planning for University Student Resource Center

Activity/project background

Partner: University of Liberia College of Health Sciences (Government)

The University of Liberia College of Health Sciences (ULCHS) is located in Monrovia, Liberia. It houses the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Public Health, and Nursing & Midwifery.

As part of an effort at ULCHS to enhance the culture of research, a student resource center is being developed to offer students access to tutoring, workshops, and information that can support them in building cross-cutting skills, such as scientific writing, oral presentation development, and time management. During the development phase, a coordinator and primary tutor will be hired to work with ULCHS faculty to understand skills needs and to begin to work with small groups of students to better understand effective strategies for building such skills in the ULCHS community. The resource center opened in April 2024 and during the first year of its existence it will undertake the following activities: conduct a college-level needs assessment to guide the structure and development of the center, develop a strategic plan and work plans, publicize its services, and recruit volunteers to help staff the center. Additionally, materials and resources for training students will be developed in a reproducible and well-documented manner.

A Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) is being requested to support the coordinator and primary tutor to effectively establish the resource center. While the resource center coordinator is strong in research and related skills, a VSPP with expertise in strategic planning for educational programs and/or curriculum development and evaluation will enhance existing efforts and set the center up for the future, enabling it to sustain activities to support students.

The organization has 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:

• Liaise with the ULCHS Resource Center Coordinator to assess needs of ULCHS students around research-related tasks, such as formatting thesis documents, conducting literature reviews, and paraphrasing scientific evidence
• Support the ULCHS Resource Center Coordinator in developing a strategy and a workplan for effectively operationalizing the new center
• Mentor and support staff with implementation of the strategy and workplan

VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week. This engagement is estimated to be 10 hours per week.

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

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to WhatsApp, Zoom, or Teams 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: 3 years of experience with developing strategic plans or curriculum for university-level education programs

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 higher education administration, public administration, leadership, organizational development, or related field

Experience:
• Experience with virtual engagement and communication
• Experience teaching or mentoring in a university setting
• Experience with student academic services

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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