Difference between pages "Packing list for Macedonia" and "Puzey Act volunteer surveys"

From Peace Corps Wiki
(Difference between pages)
Jump to: navigation, search
m (1 revision imported)
 
(Staff Performance)
 
Line 1: Line 1:
{{Packing lists by country}}
+
[[Puzey Act]] Volunteer Surveys:
 +
Empowering Volunteers and Applicants to Secure Peace Corps Reform
 +
*November 2011
  
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in [[Macedonia]] and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 102pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Macedonia.
+
By [[Chuck Ludlam]]
  
===General Clothing ===
+
==Intro==
 +
The recently-enacted [[Puzey Act|Kate Puzey Volunteer Protection Act]] has become law includes a mandate that the Peace Corps conduct annually a “confidential survey of volunteers regarding the effectiveness of Peace Corps programs and staff and the safety of volunteers.” (See Section 8E) It goes on to say, “Results from the annual volunteer survey shall be considered in reviewing the performance of Peace Corps representatives” under “goals, metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans” set by the Peace Corps.
  
All Volunteers will need an assortment of clothing for work, play, and socializing. Layering is recommended for winter wear as it is cold outside and generally hot inside. Suitable attire for male teachers includes slacks with a nice shirt and an optional tie. Community development Volunteers working in a municipal or NGO office may find a suit and tie de rigueur for everyday wear, but wearing nice slacks with a sport coat or blazer is fairly common. Community development Volunteers working with an environmental NGO fall somewhere in between, depending on the organization they’re placed with. Suits, dresses, and skirts that are not too short, or nice slacks with blouses are all suitable work attire for women. For both men and women, nice jeans (but not the grunge look), dressed up with a nice shirt and jacket, are also acceptable in many situations, especially social ones. For most places outside of Skopje, a more conservative approach to dressing is appropriate for women. Most men and many women wear jeans to work with a pullover shirt or blouse. Clothing is expensive because most of it is imported, so it is best to bring most of what you will need. Shipping clothes from the States is also possible but expensive. See further suggestions below:
+
==History==
 +
This provision originated in the [[Reform_Plan_Ludlam_Hirschoff|2007 Peace Corps Volunteer Empowerment Act (S. 732)]], introduced by Senator Chris Dodd on March 1, 2007. It was the principal focus of testimony that my wife [[Paula Hirschoff]] and I gave to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at its hearing on the bill on July 25, 2007. This proposal was analyzed in depth in our [[Reform_Plan_Ludlam_Hirschoff|July 24, 2009 “Plan to Strengthen and Expand the Peace Corps: Priorities for President Obama's First Term.”]]
  
* Two or three pairs of fleece or silk long underwear (available locally but not of great quality), in colors other than white (which is harder to clean)
 
* Several sweaters
 
* Scarves, hats, and gloves (Gore-Tex if possible)
 
* Winter socks
 
* Windproof and waterproof coat or warm jacket
 
* Jeans
 
* Clothing for warmer weather - shorts
 
*      Pullover shirts - long and short sleeve
 
  
===Shoes ===
+
*Ludlam/Hirschoff testimony (2007)
 +
**http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Testimony_Ludlam_Hirschoff_2007_SFRC.pdf
 +
*Text of S. 732:
 +
**http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Dodd_PCV_Empowerment_Act_S732_2007.pdf
 +
*Ludlam/Hirschoff explanation of the Volunteer survey process from their 2009 reform report:
 +
**http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Reform_Plan_Ludlam_Hirschoff_Volunteer_Surveys_July_2009.pdf 
 +
**http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Reform_Plan_Ludlam_Hirschoff_2008_Survey_Analysis_July_2009.pdf
  
* Hiking boots made of leather, waterproof, and lightweight (good-quality ones are available in Macedonia but expensive); winters are cold and very wet
+
Taken together these documents explain the intent and content of this new mandate.
* Work shoes - most Macedonians men wear tennis shoes of every kind, women wear high heels (very difficult to maneuver on streets and sidewalks) as well as typical women's shoes.
 
*      Summer/casual shoes
 
  
===Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items ===
+
==Staff Performance==
 +
The specific context for the [[Puzey Act]], of course, is the murder of [[Kate Puzey]] allegedly by a contractor working for the Peace Corps because she blew the whistle on him. The survey mandate is intended to give Volunteers a confidential opportunity to evaluate Peace Corps staff performance. The surveys mandated by the legislation will focus on specific Peace Corps staff (and programs). This is the means by which the Congress intends that the Peace Corps hold its staff accountable for their performance. Peace Corps has deployed an annual confidential survey to the Volunteers since 2008.
  
A wide variety is available in Macedonia, so do not pack extra toothpaste, toilet paper, dental floss, and shampoo.  
+
==Surveys==
 +
The Peace Corps has been conducting surveys of the Volunteers for many years. We obtained a copy of the [[2008_Biennial_Volunteer_Survey|2008 survey]] from the Peace Corps, including the country-by-country breakouts of the survey. These were posted in a spread sheet on Wiki that enables applicants and others to rank the countries question-by-question.  
  
===Kitchen ===
+
*[[http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Reform_Plan_Ludlam_Hirschoff_2008_Survey_Analysis_July_2009.pdf|Ludlam/Hirschoff Analysis of the 2008 survey from their 2009 reform report]]
  
Note that most items can be bought in Macedonia and many dried spices and herbs can be found here, especially in Skopje.  
+
==Advice to Applicants==
 +
As we said in our [[Advice_for_applicants|“Advice to Applicants”]] applicants need to know whether they have been posted to a country that is well or poorly ranked.  
  
* Favorite recipes
+
As we said, Applicants should request the results of the most recent agency survey of the Volunteers for the country in which they are invited to serve. They should request the complete country-by-country results of the survey so that they may rank the countries. To be sure, the Peace Corps has thus far refused to release the results of these surveys in response to Freedom of Information requests. We obtained a copy of the [[2008_Biennial_Volunteer_Survey|2008 Volunteer survey]] and the country-by-country results and published them in Peace Corps Wiki.  PCW has publishes spread sheets that enable applicants to rank the countries with regard to various key questions. One of the most important questions in the survey is the one that focuses on the quality of the Country Director, the individual who sets the tone and standards for Peace Corps operations in each country. If the ratings for the Country Director are low, it is likely that the country program has problems. Applicants should also request to see the survey responses, including the responses to open-ended questions, for the Volunteers who serve in the specific program in which the applicant is invited to serve (i.e. health, education, agriculture). If the Peace Corps refuses to release the most recent survey results and the country-by-country and program-by-program results, or if the country or program are ranked in the bottom half or bottom quarter of the countries where Volunteers serve, the applicant should consider carefully whether or not to accept the invitation to serve.
* Plastic measuring cups and spoons
 
 
===Miscellaneous ===
 
  
* Travel alarm clock
+
Note: In addition to requesting the survey results – including a spread sheet enabling applicants to rank the countries against one another – we have recommended that applicants demand to see the Early Termination (early quit) rates for all of the countries. We have posted the most recent early-quit rates country-by-country on Wiki. *http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/ETrates
* The Peace Corps discourages you from wearing contact lenses and does not provide contact lens cleaning supplies. You may bring your own supplies or buy them here. Contact lens maintenance supplies can be found in Skopje, but are somewhat expensive (around $15 to $30).
 
* Backpack, small, durable, lightweight, and of good quality for overnight trips (suitcases are a nuisance and large packs may be cumbersome for short trips)
 
* Money pouch or belt (to hide your passport and other valuables when traveling)  
 
* Cash (for vacation travel) ATMs are readily available in most communities and will accept American debit/credit cards.
 
* Personal checks from a U.S. checking account (handy if you plan to apply to graduate school; can be cashed at a bank in Skopje)
 
* Credit card (accepted in most places in Skopje and other large cities, also useful for wiring money to Macedonia)
 
* Laptop computer (not required, but tough to get along without one as it is the primary means of communication between Peace Corps Macedonia and yourself; please see prior sections for tips and other advice on transporting this item)
 
* Flashlight (small and durable), an absolute necessity
 
* Compact sewing and tool (a multi-tool knife such as a Leatherman works well) kits
 
* Compact sleeping bag (not necessary but may be useful is visiting other volunteers; they take a lot of room in a suitcase and can be purchased in Macedonia)
 
* CDs (also available in Macedonia, except for country music)
 
* Colored chalk (if you will be working in a school)
 
* Family pictures or postcards to share with your host family and friends
 
*      Electric plug converters and extension cord
 
*      Hearing aide batteries - they are not readily available in Macedonia
 
  
[[Category:Macedonia]]
+
We emphasized these same points about the need for confidential surveys in our May 2011 testimony submitted to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. *[[Ludlam_statement_House_Congressional_hearing_May_11_2011]]
 +
 
 +
==FOIA and lawsuit==
 +
While the Peace Corps acknowledged that the 2008 survey country-by-country results was producible under the Freedom of Information Act ([[FOIA]]), when we requested under FOIA for production of the 2009 and 2010 survey country-by-country breakouts, the Peace Corps reversed its position and balked. Apparently it had found that our posting of the 2008 survey country-by-country results had created problems in its placing applicants in the worst-ranked countries. If this is true, we view it as an entirely positive result. If the Peace Corps cannot stuff applicants into the worst-ranked programs, it will have an incentive (finally) to clean up these programs! The Peace Corps obviously will go to great lengths to make sure applicants do not have the information they need to make choices, as applicants and consumers possess in virtually every other context (book and car ratings, college rankings, work place rankings, etc.)
 +
 
 +
As a result of the Peace Corps intransigence, we filed a lawsuit against the Peace Corps to compel it to divulge the country-by-country survey break outs. We will be reporting soon on the results of that lawsuit. And the results of this lawsuit will determine whether the new surveys, mandated by the legislation, will also be made public. Stay tuned.
 +
 
 +
==Documents==
 +
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Legal_Filing_Peace_Corps_FOIA_Complaint_August_31.pdf
 +
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Testimony_Ludlam_Hirschoff_2007_SFRC.pdf
 +
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Dodd_PCV_Empowerment_Act_S732_2007.pdf
 +
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Reform_Plan_Ludlam_Hirschoff_Volunteer_Surveys_July_2009.pdf 
 +
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Reform_Plan_Ludlam_Hirschoff_2008_Survey_Analysis_July_2009.pdf
 +
 
 +
==Related==
 +
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Advice_for_applicants
 +
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Reform_Plan_Ludlam_Hirschoff
 +
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Ludlam_statement_House_Congressional_hearing_May_11_2011
 +
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/2008_Biennial_Volunteer_Survey
 +
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/ETrates
 +
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Puzey_Act
 +
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Chuck_Ludlam
 +
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/FOIA
 +
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Whistle_blower
 +
[[Category:resources]]

Revision as of 08:32, 27 December 2011

Puzey Act Volunteer Surveys: Empowering Volunteers and Applicants to Secure Peace Corps Reform

  • November 2011

By Chuck Ludlam

Intro

The recently-enacted Kate Puzey Volunteer Protection Act has become law includes a mandate that the Peace Corps conduct annually a “confidential survey of volunteers regarding the effectiveness of Peace Corps programs and staff and the safety of volunteers.” (See Section 8E) It goes on to say, “Results from the annual volunteer survey shall be considered in reviewing the performance of Peace Corps representatives” under “goals, metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans” set by the Peace Corps.

History

This provision originated in the 2007 Peace Corps Volunteer Empowerment Act (S. 732), introduced by Senator Chris Dodd on March 1, 2007. It was the principal focus of testimony that my wife Paula Hirschoff and I gave to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at its hearing on the bill on July 25, 2007. This proposal was analyzed in depth in our July 24, 2009 “Plan to Strengthen and Expand the Peace Corps: Priorities for President Obama's First Term.”


Taken together these documents explain the intent and content of this new mandate.

Staff Performance

The specific context for the Puzey Act, of course, is the murder of Kate Puzey allegedly by a contractor working for the Peace Corps because she blew the whistle on him. The survey mandate is intended to give Volunteers a confidential opportunity to evaluate Peace Corps staff performance. The surveys mandated by the legislation will focus on specific Peace Corps staff (and programs). This is the means by which the Congress intends that the Peace Corps hold its staff accountable for their performance. Peace Corps has deployed an annual confidential survey to the Volunteers since 2008.

Surveys

The Peace Corps has been conducting surveys of the Volunteers for many years. We obtained a copy of the 2008 survey from the Peace Corps, including the country-by-country breakouts of the survey. These were posted in a spread sheet on Wiki that enables applicants and others to rank the countries question-by-question.

Advice to Applicants

As we said in our “Advice to Applicants” applicants need to know whether they have been posted to a country that is well or poorly ranked.

As we said, Applicants should request the results of the most recent agency survey of the Volunteers for the country in which they are invited to serve. They should request the complete country-by-country results of the survey so that they may rank the countries. To be sure, the Peace Corps has thus far refused to release the results of these surveys in response to Freedom of Information requests. We obtained a copy of the 2008 Volunteer survey and the country-by-country results and published them in Peace Corps Wiki. PCW has publishes spread sheets that enable applicants to rank the countries with regard to various key questions. One of the most important questions in the survey is the one that focuses on the quality of the Country Director, the individual who sets the tone and standards for Peace Corps operations in each country. If the ratings for the Country Director are low, it is likely that the country program has problems. Applicants should also request to see the survey responses, including the responses to open-ended questions, for the Volunteers who serve in the specific program in which the applicant is invited to serve (i.e. health, education, agriculture). If the Peace Corps refuses to release the most recent survey results and the country-by-country and program-by-program results, or if the country or program are ranked in the bottom half or bottom quarter of the countries where Volunteers serve, the applicant should consider carefully whether or not to accept the invitation to serve.

Note: In addition to requesting the survey results – including a spread sheet enabling applicants to rank the countries against one another – we have recommended that applicants demand to see the Early Termination (early quit) rates for all of the countries. We have posted the most recent early-quit rates country-by-country on Wiki. *http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/ETrates

We emphasized these same points about the need for confidential surveys in our May 2011 testimony submitted to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. *Ludlam_statement_House_Congressional_hearing_May_11_2011

FOIA and lawsuit

While the Peace Corps acknowledged that the 2008 survey country-by-country results was producible under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), when we requested under FOIA for production of the 2009 and 2010 survey country-by-country breakouts, the Peace Corps reversed its position and balked. Apparently it had found that our posting of the 2008 survey country-by-country results had created problems in its placing applicants in the worst-ranked countries. If this is true, we view it as an entirely positive result. If the Peace Corps cannot stuff applicants into the worst-ranked programs, it will have an incentive (finally) to clean up these programs! The Peace Corps obviously will go to great lengths to make sure applicants do not have the information they need to make choices, as applicants and consumers possess in virtually every other context (book and car ratings, college rankings, work place rankings, etc.)

As a result of the Peace Corps intransigence, we filed a lawsuit against the Peace Corps to compel it to divulge the country-by-country survey break outs. We will be reporting soon on the results of that lawsuit. And the results of this lawsuit will determine whether the new surveys, mandated by the legislation, will also be made public. Stay tuned.

Documents

Related