In May I became the Peace Corps volunteer leader for the community and organizational development program in Moldova.  I’ve decided to post the bulk of my application/work proposal so that people can get a better idea of some of the things I will/have been be doing and to talk about some of the work that a PC country office does to support volunteers. 

During my first two years of service, I have built individual and organizational capacity with a small NGO; helped facilitate volunteer and staff trainings on a variety of topics, including project design and volunteer diversity; and developed professional and friendly relationships with volunteers, program staff, and Moldovan counterparts. 

In a third year as a COD PCV and as a PCVL, my work will include: 1) technical and personal support of trainees and volunteers, 2) site development, including work on counterpart preparation in Gagauzia and Russian-speaking communities, 3) network and capacity building at a new primary partner organization, and 4) basic organizational and individual capacity building with small initiative groups in Gagauzia.

I will also be looking for smaller projects to help with integration in my new community.

Technical and personal support for trainees and volunteers

Over the past two years, I have facilitated volunteer training sessions on strategic planning with a counterpart, project design, and capacity building. I also have supported a few individual volunteers as they created useable strategic plans with their partners with focus on improving PCV-counterpart relationships, skills transfer, and community (local volunteer, employee, beneficiary) involvement. 

As a PCVL, I will provide the following direct support to volunteers and trainees:

  • Visit COD M26 volunteers within the first three months at site and provide a report on findings and ideas for follow up 
  • Visit first and second year PCVs on as needed basis, to support with a training or particular task with PCV and his or her counterpart
  • Provide technical assistance to volunteers by email and telephone on specific topics, like basic capacity building, and establishing relationships with secondary organizations 
  • Deliver  sessions during pre and in-service trainings (on strategic planning, PDM, finding and defining work)

Collaboration with programming staff and other PCVLs to improve volunteer service includes: 

  • Support of program staff in reviewing the training flow and training designs
  • Collecting success stories from PCVs and their partners to be shared and used in promotional materials
  • Identifying and creating a list of useful resources for COD PCVs
  • Connecting PCVs across programs based on the skill sets and needs
  • Support of program staff in reviewing the training flow and training designs
  • Keeping track of duties performed and help create resources for future PCVLs

Site development 

  • Promote Peace Corps, identify potential sites and expand PC network
  • Explore future Russian-speaking counterparts’ needs for a volunteer and give them a better idea of a potential volunteer’s skills and abilities
  • Assist future Russian-speaking counterparts in designing PCV job descriptions
  • Review and provide feedback on the site development process together with the PMs
  • Promote PC work and success 
  • Collect and maintain information about organizations that exist in Moldova but that do not have a volunteer
  • Counterpart preparation in Gagauzia and other Russian-speaking communities

Partner with NGO “Stability”

“Stability” is a five-year-old nongovernmental organization in Comrat whose goals includes increasing gender equality, civic participation, and leadership in the Comrat raion and Gagauzia. From my preliminary visit to Stability, it is clear that the organization has experience and success that surpasses that of any of the organizations with which I have previously worked in Moldova. Therefore, my work will address very specific needs of the organization. At a recent site development meeting in May, the director expressed interest in having a PCV’s assistance improving the organization’s regional and national networks and management of volunteers and increasing the quality and number of opportunities for youth in the organization’s target areas.

Small initiative groups in Gagauzia

Bridging programmatic and volunteer support, site development, and work with Stability, would be work building basic capacity with small initiative groups and  undeveloped organizations in Gagauzian villages. 

At my former site, the NGO “Women’s Initiative” and its director are a center of nongovernmental work and civil society in the town and raion of Ceadir-Lunga. Representatives from initiative groups, schools, parent-teacher organizations, and even village primarias come to the organization for help and information about solving local problems, starting NGOs, writing projects, and finding money. The director of Woman’s Initiative, however, does not have the knowledge, ability, the time to fully help these village-based initiative groups and  active citizens realize their own goals. 

The director of the NGO and I began exploring creating an initiative group development program early this year and received notice of interest from parent teacher groups and social assistance initiatives from around the raion.  In a third year, I would capitalize on this interest and, with the support of Women’s Initiative, Peace Corps, and potentially Stability, assist these initiative groups do the following:

  • Create  new strategic plans written with concrete goals and coherent missions, applicable to village problems and focused on local assets and resources
  • Establish  networks of primarily village-based initiative groups 
  • Improve identification and management of local resources, local volunteers, employees, local fundraising, budgeting practices, strategic planning, and project design

Even minimal success would result in the opening up of new villages for future placement of Peace Corps Volunteers and increased capacity of local actors to solve local problems.

Other work in Komrat

I will also begin building a relationship with the Romanian school in town. The director has expressed interest in my help with extracurricular activities.