Peace Corps Connect to the Future: Ideas Summit Recap and Next Steps
Over the past several weeks we’ve been asking: What are the big ideas for the Peace Corps, National Peace Corps Association, and the Peace Corps community going forward? We convened eight town halls and on July 18 we hosted a global ideas summit, Peace Corps Connect to the Future. In those meetings literally thousands of you took part — with unprecedented involvement by recently returned Volunteers.
Thanks to all of you in the Affiliate Group Network who invested your time and talent in this unprecedented season. It shows how committed our community is to reimagining, rejuvenating, and retooling Peace Corps for the future. But our work is not simply focused on the agency; we have important work to do to make NPCA and our community more inclusive and welcoming, and to live up to the values we profess. We'll be following up with affiliate groups on how your leadership, your members and your groups can engage in this effort. If you have ideas to suggest or would like to lead any of these efforts, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The votes are in and the polls have now closed. Hannah Wishart will be the new Affiliate Group Network Coordinator for the 2020-2022 term. We look forward to welcoming her to the NPCA Board of Directors at the September 27 annual board meeting.
Welcome to our newest Affiliate Group: Black RPCV in the DMV
The mission of Black Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (BRPCV) is to support prospective, current, and returned Black Peace Corps Volunteers at home and abroad.
Black RPCV in the DMV creates a safe space for Black volunteers to share resources, experiences, and opinions; promotes partnerships with the United States Peace Corps and its affiliates; increases the recruitment efforts for prospective volunteers in black communities; and educates partners on diversity and inclusion.
Weekly Affiliate Group Leaders Lunch
With the launch of the Global Reentry program and many similar support initiatives by affiliate groups, and increasing numbers of virtual events, NPCA would like to open up a channel for increased communication and coordination of our efforts. To this end, we are announcing our plan to hold a standing weekly Affiliate Group "Leaders Lunch" meetings on Wednesdays at 2 PM Eastern Time, beginning on May 27.
[It's difficult, if not impossible, to find a time that works well for groups across six time zones, so we will evaluate with you whether this time slot needs to be changed after the first couple of meetings.]
These discussions will be fairly informal as they are meant to share ideas and opportunities for increased coordination between groups. Anne Baker and Dan Baker (no relation) will facilitate the discussion and other NPCA staff will also be invited to attend each week. We hope that at least one member of each group's leadership team will be able to join the discussion each week.
The first meetings have focused on such topics as how best to coordinate Global Reentry programs and how to address issues of race, injustice and equity. Please contact Anne and/or Dan to suggest additional or future discussion topics.
Friends of Tanzania Launches on NPCA's Community Builder Platform
Congratulations to Friends of Tanzania, our latest affiliate group to launch on NPCA's Community Builder platform. While many of their members were PCVs in Tanzania, their membership also includes others who have spent considerable time in the country, are from East Africa, or have other meaningful connections. They all share an affection for Tanzania, its people and its culture, and a desire to assist in promoting development in the country. Visit them online at https://www.fotanzania.org/
Affiliate Group Support for Evacuated RPCVs
Thank you to NPCA Affiliate Groups for stepping up to support the more than 7,300 Peace Corps Volunteers evacuated from their service due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of you participated in our Virtual Town Hall meetings on March 18 and 19, including a capacity crowd for the first one. Thank you. We are proud to be part of a community that is showing such an outpouring of support and responsiveness during this time. Visit this page for questions posed during those town halls, and know that we are working diligently to develop additional information that captures all of the verbal questions and responses in those meetings as well. Thank you so much for your continued support.
Click here for recordings of past town halls with affiliate group leaders.
It's spring, which also means that it's time for us to check in with each affiliate group to see how you're doing and learn how we can better support you. Whether you've had a banner year or you could use a little extra support, we need to hear from you. It's a great time to write an annual report. And don't just share it with us; share it with you members, too! Need some tips on writing one? Visit the Communications tab of our Affiliate Group Resource Library or download our toolkit.
NPCA has a full calendar of events each month, including many that would be of interest to your group members. We hope that you will consider sharing your events with us as well! Posting our events on your calendar and yours on the NPCA calendar will exponentially increase our reach.
To post to NPCA's website: For groups on the Community Builder platform, simply opt to share the event with NPCA. For other groups, fill in the form under "Submit Updates/Requests" in the upper right column of this page.
To share events from NPCA's event calendar with your membership: simply copy the text and links from our calendar.
Zoom Meeting Updates
One of the benefits of affiliation with NPCA is the use of the videoconferencing platform Zoom at no cost to you. But with the increased use of Zoom worldwide due to the pandemic, Zoom has become the target of "Zoom bombers." What this means is that uninvited individuals may attempt to join your meeting solely for the purpose of disrupting it. To help you avoid that, we've got some tips and are implementing new procedures to make your meetings more secure and prevent unpleasant disruptions. These may include:
Adding a password that you share only with invited participants
Putting people into a "waiting room" until they are allowed in
Providing you with the host privileges and responsibilities
Julie Early Sifuentes, founder of the affiliate group Peace Corps Kids, is looking for people and families to participate in a book project. Julie, whose father served in Peru in the 1960's and whose mother is Peruvian, started Peace Corps Kids to build community among multicultural people and families who have come together through the Peace Corps experience. So far, the group has members who have family roots in 21 countries.
The book will be a compilation of essays, interviews, and photos that reflect the experiences of multicultural people and families that were born through the Peace Corps experience. You can see some examples of these stories at www.peacecorpskids.com and on Instagram @peacecorpskids.
Please pass this information along to people and families who might be interested and encourage them to participate. You can contact Julie at email@example.com if you have any questions or are interested in being part of the project.
Micro-Loans for your Peace Corps Communities
TCP Global is looking to partner with evacuees, other RPCVs and affiliate groups to expand its successful and sustainable micro-loan program into your country – especially to small and remote communities beyond the reach of most aid programs.
How It Works
Using the TCP Global model, loans are administered through organizations already working at the grassroots level in health, education, empowerment, etc. RPCVs with connections to small communities identify effective organizations and, assisted by TCP Global, help them establish small, zero-overhead, sustainable micro-loan programs to serve communities in perpetuity. By increasing the income of their clients, TCP Global partners find they are able to better achieve their primary mission goals. In addition to providing the entrepreneurs an alternative to exorbitant interest rates charged by daily lenders, TCP Global also strengthens the grassroots partner by providing a steady revenue stream of interest earnings, which they can use to fund community projects.
What You Can Expect
TCP Global is ready to offer micro-loans through RPCVs and "Friends of" groups. They will share tools, resources, and experience at no cost, with RPCV groups or individuals interested in bringing micro-loan programs to their country. TCP does the fundraising through the NPCA Community Fund and requests assistance from Friends-of-Groups in publicizing its work and soliciting support from RPCVs.
TCP Global is currently in Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Kenya, Zambia, and Uganda and ready to add any other Peace Corps country.
Reach out to the director in your division and add them to your email distribution list. In fact, you may already have them on your list, as we transfer the permanent emails as directors change. Add firstname.lastname@example.org (which goes to NPCA staff working with groups) and email@example.com (which goes to the Affiliate Group Network Coordinator, to be elected in spring 2020), then the director for your division:
NPCA's online Affiliate Group Directory is a great way for potential new members to find and learn more about your group! Visit it here, find your group, and if needed, make updates. Watch the video below to learn how.