Peace Corps Ecuador Update – 9/27/2012
Parmer Heacox – Country Director
In its 50st year Peace Corps Ecuador currently hosts 160 Volunteers in the following project areas: Community Health/HIV-AIDS Prevention, Youth and Family Development, Natural Resources, and TEFL. In all of these project areas Volunteers may also elect to concentrate in leadership development, food security, community banking/financial management and small enterprise development. Additionally, Volunteers draw on each other and all project areas because as all RPCVs know, we may find ourselves working in secondary activities we never imagined. We encourage our Volunteers to participate in Technical Exchanges to learn from other Volunteers in the field and more and more, Volunteers are tapping into resources and information on line. Peace Corps has changed tremendously since its beginning but we still hold close to people to people relationships as our strategy for development and change.
Recent Update: In the last couple of years, the agency has taken a closer look at who our Volunteers are, what they can do well and how we can better support them to meet our programmatic and agency goals. This has resulted in a strategy of “Focus in – Train up” which recognizes that most of our Volunteers are generalists. We have been asked to carefully consider fewer areas of concentration in each of our project areas and provide structured and quality training for those areas. Gone are the days of broad programs. This has required careful planning and alignment with local government and non-government organizations and communities and working to honor and yet manage expectations of staff, Volunteers and community counterparts. We have pro-actively taken on this initiative and today our Volunteers are able to better carry out and report on specific and clear community development objectives. There is, of course, still room for those “expert” Volunteers who come with advanced skills to meet a range of development needs. But we are now better able to develop sites and place Volunteers in work situations where they can be productive sooner.