YOUR WORK AS A PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER
Non-profit organizations, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs), endeavor to fill the gap between government’s provision of services and local needs. Many NGOs have recognized the need to improve their project management and organizational development capabilities. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you facilitate the development of a strong and effective organization by working with key decision makers of local NGOs. You do not have a preconceived set of answers, but have the skills, ideas and knowledge to enable an organization to meet the needs of the population served while balancing future consequences. You work as an advisor to non-governmental organizations that deal with the issues of environment, youth, social services, or business development. In consultation with the NGO to which you are assigned, you mentor and train staff to do the following:
- Conduct a community assessment that analyzes political, social, economic and technological trends, opportunities, assets, and issues.
- Conduct an internal organizational assessment that identifies strengths and weaknesses.
- Develop a vision and mission statement for the organization to clarify its future direction.
- Develop a governance structure, such as a board of directors, staffing plans, and organizational policies.
- Train board and staff in management skills and leadership responsibilities.
- Facilitate community participation and collaboration with other organizations.
- Establish administrative systems and controls to monitor progress, evaluate results and track expenditures.
Program Planning and Implementation
- Develop goals, objectives and action plans with the community.
- Conduct outreach to community members to promote volunteerism and create awareness of assets and activities.
- Translate action plans into operating budgets and marketing and outreach plans.
- Train staff in resource development and information systems, including: fund raising methods, membership recruitment, database management, information sharing, networking, grant proposal writing.
- Provide technical assistance to NGOs to ensure sustainability and reduce dependency on a single financial source.
You need to have a variety of organizational skills and an ability to formulate a plan of action to help deal with a myriad of complex problems and scarce resources, as well as an ability to motivate the community and build consensus. You must also keep in mind that your role is that of an adviser so that the organization will continue to sustain itself even after your departure. Your can-do attitude and your willingness to work with your hosts to find appropriate solutions will help people to help themselves.
Business Centers. Moldova is largely an agricultural region and the second smallest of the former Soviet republics. The small business sector is a major force in economic development. Volunteers work with organizational leaders to establish effective and efficient systems to assure the sustainability of an organization. They serve as trainers, advisors, and consultants and provide advice and technical assistance on business and organizational development.
Environment and Small Business. Volunteers work with local environmental NGOs to strengthen their institutional and administrative capacity and to generate support for their conservation efforts. At the same time, they are required to strike a balance between economic development and basic human needs while trying to preserve or restore natural ecosystems. To gain a better financial footing, NGOs and Volunteers fundraise through membership development and grant proposal writing.
Urban Youth Development. Volunteers work with local organizations that are addressing the problems of urban street youth who are at risk of delinquency, drugs, and prostitution. Some of the tasks Volunteers perform include: establishing office and management systems, designing training packages in organizational skills development, assisting the agency to set up small business units where street youth will be trained, developing entrepreneurial skills of youth, and designing tools to evaluate the agency’s program. ===Bulgaria=== NGO Advisor. Volunteers help “green” nongovernmental organizations—many of which were at the forefront of the democratic movement—to expand awareness of environmental problems. Volunteers work with local governments, national parks, government agencies, environmental education institutions, NGOs, and local businesses. Depending on the needs of the host agency, Volunteers are involved in projects such as: assisting in an agency’s long-term strategic plan, producing environmental brochures, creating a donor and membership database, developing community-based environmental projects, forming linkages with local and international environmental groups, and helping improve staff’s English language skills.
Most NGO Development Volunteers are college graduates with at least two years of management or organizational development experience with non-profit organizations either as staff or in a voluntary capacity. Recent college graduates have experience as founders or leaders of community or school-based organizations. Due to their background in non-profit management, these Volunteers have several of the following skills:
- willingness to work as part of a team;
- demonstrated leadership skills;
- experience working with community service
- strategic planning;
- demonstrated supervisory experience with student or