Victoria Pridgen

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Description of Peace Corps Service

Victoria Parke Pridgen –- Republic of Niger

July 27, 2007 – September 7, 2009

After a competitive application process involving personal interviews, background investigations, medical clearance, and professional qualifications screening, Victoria P. Pridgen was invited to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger. The nine-week Pre-Service Training was held in country beginning on July 27, 2007. Integral components of the training included:

• Living with a host family to enhance the cultural awareness, education and language training through total immersion. (8 weeks)

• Personalized spoken and written language study conducted by native-speaking host country instructors. (85 hours)

• Professional skill-based training emphasizing municipal community development. (48 hours)

• Cross-cultural education focused on values and traditions, appropriate behavior and dress, cultural sensitivity, interpersonal relationships and community entry techniques. (47 hours)

• Peace Corps goals, objectives, policies, administrative guidelines, and strategic plan for Niger. (7 hours)

• Medical training regarding physical health and pro-active strategies for living in a developing country. This included first aid, emotional health stability, adaptation techniques and gender-specific safety issues. (21 hours)

• Safety and security (10 hours)

• Diversity (3 hours)

Ms. Pridgen successfully completed the training and was sworn in as a US Peace Corps Volunteer on September 25, 2007. At the end of this training she was tested by ACTFL standards, at that time she scored Advanced Low in spoken French.

She received an additional 42 hours of in-service training in December 2007 focused on community development techniques, planning with host country counterparts, and technical vocabulary in local languages.

As one of the first Municipal Community Development agents in Peace Corps Niger, Victoria Pridgen was stationed in the town of Liboré Banigoungou, seat of the Rural Commune of Liboré in the Tillabéri Region. There Ms. Pridgen worked in collaboration with the Mayor’s office of Liboré, local and international non-governmental organizations, primary and secondary schools, and individually with urban and rural Nigeriens to identify and address local needs with sustainable solutions. In December, 2008, Ms. Pridgen moved to Niamey (pop. 775,000) to work as the Peace Corps Volunteer Leader for the regions of Niamey and Tillabéri. During her service, Ms. Pridgen depended on a high degree of cultural integration and the ability to communicate with people one-on-one and in group meetings. Ms. Pridgen performed the following duties and activities:

Municipal and Community Development Agent - Worked together with local counterparts to found ONG LIBO, a community-based NGO focused on improving local involvement with educational and health initiatives - Along with two Nigerien counterparts, organized a two-day civics education teacher training for 23 primary schools in Liboré commune - Collaborated with Canadian non-governmental organization Pencils for Kids ( as an on-the-ground liaison to help the NGO to implement construction of a library, three kindergartens, a sewing center, three classrooms, form international penpal relationships, and to establish a number of enhancement programs focused on community development and personal capacity building

Municipal and Community Development Volunteer Assistant Trainer - Contributed to writing, editing and producing a technical manual for Peace Corps’ newly instituted Municipal Community Development program to provide agents with project design tools and technical information - Developed and implemented training objectives in collaboration with Nigerien training staff, senior staff, and fellow veteran volunteers - Facilitated three civic education training sessions to groups of Peace Corps trainees;

Peace Corps Volunteer Leader/ Regional Representative - Motivated and led team of 30+ Peace Corps volunteers in the Tillaberi and Niamey regions - Assisted in volunteer project design and management and procuring project materials - Advised and collaborated on regional strategy with senior staff - Researched, selected, and developed locations for new volunteers in collaboration with Peace Corps staff, Nigerien government officials, traditional village leaders, and non-governmental organizations - Collaborated with senior staff in the selection of trainees for appropriate sites - Advised and edited volunteer grant proposals in partnership with senior staff - Responsible for the safety and security of team in cooperation with senior staff and United States Embassy security - Liaised among volunteers, Nigerien counterparts, and Peace Corps staff to find solutions to situations arising from issues of safety and security, volunteer health, or volunteer projects - Managed two employees of National Transit House in partnership with Nigerien counterpart - Managed annual budget of approximately $9,000 for salary, maintenance, and utilities for National Transit House - Managed system of loans and repayments between volunteers and Peace Corps bureau for postal custom fees

Health Activities - Participated in the 2008 Peace Corps Niger AIDS Bike Ride with 25 other volunteers and representatives from local and international NGOs. The ride was a 120 km journey from Dan Barto to Zinder and sensitized over 12,000 rural Nigeriens on HIV/AIDS.

At the completion of service, Ms. Pridgen was tested by ACTFL standards. At that time, she scored Advanced High in spoken French and Intermediate High in spoken Zarma.

Pursuant to Section 5 (f) of the Peace Corps Act 22 U.S.C.25049 (f), as amended, any former volunteer employed by the United State Government following Peace Corps Volunteer Service is entitled to have any period of satisfactory Peace Corps service credited for purposes of retirement, seniority, reduction in force, leave and other privileges based on length of Government service. That service shall not be credited toward completion of the probationary or trial period of any service requirement of career appointment.

This is to certify in accordance with the Executive Order 111103 of April 10, 1963, that Ms. Victoria Pridgen served successfully as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Her Service ended September 7, 2009. She is therefore eligible to be appointed as a career-conditional employee in the competitive civil service on a non-competitive basis. This benefit under Executive Order extends for a period of one year after termination of volunteer service, except that the employing agency may extend the period for up to three years for a former volunteer who enters military service, pursues studies at a recognized institution of higher learning, or engages in other activities which, in the view of the appointing agency, warrants extension of the period.

September 7, 2009

Mary Abrams Peace Corps Country Director

Victoria Pridgen Peace Corps Volunteer