|By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 9:53 pm: Edit Post|
Debz Peace Corps Adventure in Ecuador
Debz Peace Corps Adventure in Ecuador
MY PEACE CORPS ASSIGNMENT
Ok, so I bet this section appears a bit overwhelming with all the text, but I felt that it was necessary. Many people are curious to exactly what I'll be doing in Ecuador. And you know, so am I! Honestly, I really don't know exactly what I'll be doing. Sure, I have a Volunteer Assignment Description, but nothing is set in stone. In fact, I've been told that the Community Devolopment sector is one of the most unstructured programs that Peace Corps offers. Nevertheless, this section attempts to answer the questions for which I do have information- such as how I am assigned a city in Ecuador, and the training that I will receive. So if you are curious of the technical information of my volunteer assignment, read on.
The purpose of Peace Corps Ecuador's Youth and Families at Risk Project is:
To provide Youth and Families at-Risk with the opportunity to maximize their potential to improve their quality of life.
It's goals are:
Goal No. 1: Prevention and Intervention.
Youth and Families at-Risk will be better equipped to meet and overcome life's challenges
Goal No. 2: Community and Organizational Development
Community Organizations will increase their capacity to better address the needs of Youth and Families at-Risk.
Goal No. 3: Advocay
The Rights of the Child will be promoted and advocated throughout the country.
Job Description and Working Conditions
Youth and Families at Risk Volunteers are assigned to live and work in marginal barrios/communities throughout mainland Ecuador. Sites vary in size, climate and distance to Quito (from 20 minutes to 20 hours). The majority are marginal barrios of Ecuador's fast growing urban areas.
It is important to recognize that the Volunteer does not step into a well defined position. Rather, he or she develops the job together with the barrio/community, school, and counterpart organization. The key to doing this successfully is in establishing respectful, responsible and caring relationships at all levels- with your host family, the youth and families with whom you work, collaborators in your counterpart organization, barrio/community and local school officials, as well as fellow Peace Corps Volunteers and staff. Strange as it may sound to task oriented North Americans, this is the first part of your work and serves as the base for all future accomplishments. Once a part of the barrio/community, the Volunteer is able to identify work opportunities and build a local support system.
The second, ongoing part of your work is to find out what the barrio/community's needs are, identify existing programs and supportive organizations and individuals and prioritize possible projects. You will need to be motivated, flexible, diplomatic and willing to work hard. It may take time for your colleagues and barrio/community contacts to understand the assistance you provide and role you play as a Volunteer. It may take some time for you to have a sense of structure to your assignment. To insure that local needs are addressed and the Volunteer's corresponding abilities and interests are taken into consideration, each Volunteer develops and regularly revises an individualized work plan in conjuction with an Ecuadorian counterpart.
The training period is a time for you and Peace Corps to re-examine your commitment to being a Volunteer in Ecuador. Attending training is not a guarantee of becoming a Peace Corps Volunteers; rather, it is a process that will enable you to assess your progress towards becoming a successful Volunteer. While we fully expect you to be successful, there are definite goals and competencies that you must achieve before you can be sworn in as a Volunteer. These goals include attaining a minimum standard ability in the Spanish language (standard oral exam used), technical knowledge (required assignments & demonstations), and your proven ability to live and work within the framework of the local culture (as assessed by staff members). These three goals are equally important. Not only must you be able to do your job, but you must do it in a culturally acceptable way. You will be advised, counseled, and evaluated by both American and Ecuadorian members of the training staff regarding your progress. Upon successful completion of the training program, you will be sworn in as a Volunteer.
Throughout pre-service training you are encouraged to continue examining your personal motivation for having joined Peace Corps, your level of dedication, and your commitment, so that by the time you are asked to swear in as a Peace Corps Volunteer, you are making an informed and serious commitment which will sustain you through a full two years of service.
Training will last 12 weeks. The majority of your training will be Community Based Training. This will take place in a community setting to better prepare you to live and work under conditions similar to those found in the site where you will be assigned. During the Community Based Training period, you will be housed with an Ecuadorian family and be expected to take full advantage of this opportunity to immersse yourself in the langauge and culture.
Orientation to your job assignment, your role as a development worker, your specific site, technical conditions, personal health care, safety & security, and general information about Ecuador will all be part of your training. All of these aspects will involve your input and cooperation in order to provide you with the best possible understanding of the country prior to your entry into your community of service. With the guidance of your Program Director and the Training Staff, you will have the opportunity to assist in the selection of your site. You will learn about all of the sites available and choose 3 options among those alternatives. Ideally everyone will get one of their 3 choices. The final decision may be negotiated jointly with your Program Director and your fellow trainees.