Economic Development Volunteer

  • Jewelry making workshop

The Economic Development Programme at SKIP works with families living in poverty to offer financial opportunities to stabalise their income and improve living conditions. We are looking for volunteers who can commit to a minimum of a month. We are happy to facilitate student placements for course credit and have worked with a number of Universities in the UK and USA.

The Economic Development Team provide families with the opportunity to develop their artisanal and business skills in order to pursue their goals. Its current project portfolio includes:

  • Micro-credit programme - issuing small loans and business consulting to current or potential business owners
  • Construction programme - small loans to improve housing
  • Handicraft workshops, including jewelry-making, sewing and knitting
  • Business education workshops, one-on-one consulting
  • Health-related loan programmes

The Position

Under supervision of the Family Welfare Coordinator, you will be responsible for the projects described above.

Additionally, all volunteers support the Education Programmes for at least one shift per week as this helps give additional perspective on the work we are doing.

While we prefer our Economic Development Volunteers to speak some level of Spanish, we currently offer a limited spaces for those who do not speak Spanish. However, priority will be given to those who are able to stay longer and are committed to improving their language abilities.

Responsibilities

The list below describes the tasks that the Economic Development team complete throughout the year and volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in a selection of these while at SKIP. Other projects may also be running depending activities at the time of the placement. If volunteers have particular preferences, they are encouraged to provide as much detail as possible during the application process so we can ensure a good placement match.

  • House visits (follow up sessions for loans that have been awarded and also assessment work to track poverty levels amongst the SKIP community)
  • Office hours for the microcredit programme to receive loan repayments and consider loan requests
  • Collation of information and statistical for the annual report, including writing case studies
  • Recording product sales and loan accounting information on the Salesforce database
  • Stock and sales tracking for the products made in the handicraft groups
  • Payments to the women from any handicraft sales
  • Supporting the handicraft groups with marketing, stock and sales tracking, receiving products and payments to the women
  • Attending local fairs to sell handicrafts
  • General administration, filing and other tasks

The following activities will only be available to volunteers with a minimum of intermediate Spanish:

  • Planning and facilitating Business training workshops
  • Leading loan interviews or poverty assessment questionnaires

The Benefits of Volunteering with us

In return for your invaluable participation in our volunteering programme, SKIP will provide:

  • A thorough induction to the organisation, programmes, department and specific role
  • Structured and relevant training from fully qualified and experienced staff members -??you can read??bios for all our permanent team??on the website
  • Mentoring and support in the form of regular supervision and staff meetings as well as informal sessions
  • The chance to be a part of a diverse and dedicated team and a welcoming community
  • Confirmation of volunteer service

Volunteer Profile

Required:

  • Relevant work or study experience
  • Commitment of one month at minimum
  • Ability to pass on competences and knowledge, but also to listen to suggestions
  • Approachable and friendly
  • Team player
  • Able to use own initiative
  • Be ready to exercise patience and show flexibility in living modestly and working with limited resources
  • Willingness to help with other projects within the EcoDev department and elsewhere when necessary
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Willingness to work flexible hours, potentially including some weekends

Desired:

  • Experience in economic development, in particular with small businesses
  • Experience living or working in South America
  • Intermediate level of Spanish
  • Previous experience using Salesforce

If you are ready to take the next step - download an application form here

Feel free to email contact@skipperu.org with any questions

Click here to go back to??Positions Available

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volunteer blog: economic development volunteer

 

???I got four moms in today!???

Milandra, another Eco Dev volunteer, showed off how busy her day in the microcredit office was. It was week five a SKIP for me, and I had only gotten four moms in total in all my time working the office. I never hid my jealousy of the fact that Milandra always won when it came to mom-interaction in the office; after all, the moms are everyone???s favorite part of Eco Dev!

My name is Shalini and I spent two months volunteering with the Economic Development program at SKIP. I???m currently studying economic development at the University of Michigan, and I wanted a chance to explore how this worked on the field as well as improve my Spanish. SKIP???s program exceeded my expectations. I not only learned about how microfinance programs work, but I got to do so in a culturally immersive environment.

My typical week included a house visit, a shift in the microcredit office, everyone???s favorite task???data entry, and sometimes, workshops with the mothers. Most of the Eco Dev work included some form of interaction with community members. House visits were more than just asking questions about why a loan payment was late; these were times when we were invited to sit inside homes, chat with moms about their kids, and watch them run their bodegas with the confidence of a real business owner, and if we were lucky, they gave us free bananas! These moments showed me the applications of microcredit; from it be raising pigs to owning pantry stores, I saw how microcredit fosters innovation and entrepreneurship.

Furthermore, I had countless opportunities to improve my Spanish. The epitome of my experience speaking-Spanish was conducting business workshops for the moms with my coworkers. With each 45-minute session, I was challenged to be conversational, disintegrate challenging topics to understandable lessons, and use economics-related vocabulary. I was required to have a thorough understanding of SKIP???s economic development program as well as knowledge of the mothers??? economic situations in order to relay how factors such as interest rates, budgeting and saving impact their daily lives. This experience was my first step in professionalism in Spanish and has given me a good starting point from which I can continue to expand my language skills.

The most memorable part of Eco Dev was seeing the mothers??? community. Laughing while making jewelry, veteran mothers encouraging new mothers to join the Eco Dev program, the confidence with which they explain their businesses and ideas???this shaped my perspective to look beyond the data entry days to the big picture moments of the soft skills gained through pursuing economic development. My experience with SKIP has taught me that the right tools truly bring out people???s brilliance and innovation. Needless to say, the full experience of Eco Dev can only be understood once experienced, and I can surely say that I would experience this all over again.

~ Shalini Rao

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Let me start of by telling you a little about myself, I was born in the US and grew up in Peru and Colombia. I worked as a corporate accountant for several years and a year ago decided to pursue a career in the public sector, specifically, I had the desire to return to Latin America and help make a difference. I am currently a second-year student studying international development at NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

I learned about Supporting Kids in Peru (SKIP) at a career fair. I was drawn to the region, its Economic Development programs and the opportunity to work in the field. This was my chance to put theory into practice, connect with the community and expand my understanding of development work.

Liz, SKIP???s Director, was open to hearing about my interests; I had proposed performing an evaluation of SKIP???s microcredit program. She placed me in contact with staff members who provided me with information on how to accomplish this. Prior to making my decision to join SKIP, I communicated with past volunteers and current employees about their experiences.

My internship was a total of 10 weeks, during which I performed a process evaluation of the organization???s microcredit program. Through my assessment, I identified administrative weaknesses which I addressed by simplifying procedures and training staff on the new process. I expanded my knowledge of SalesForce and with the assistance of a past volunteer, designed an online loan module to digitize loan data. This could not have been possible without the ongoing support I received from Patricia, SKIP???s Programme Coordinator. We had weekly status and brainstorming meetings in order to assess that SKIP???s needs were being met as well as my own. It was important for me to connect with the community I was serving so SKIP allowed me to perform field visits with its social welfare team. I interviewed beneficiaries and administered two focus group discussions in order to gain user feedback. At the end of my internship I provided management with a report offering recommendations on how to improve its microcredit program.

Aside from my project, once a week I helped SKIP???s children with their homework by providing them with exercises that would reinforce fundamental reading, writing and quantitative skills. My first class was challenging, believe it or not children can be intimidating! I learned how to manage my class by being prepared. I kept the students interested in the material by teaching it in a fun manner with games and a little bit of team competition. On other days I sat in the knitting workshops with the program???s mothers or was in the office collecting microcredit payments. During this time, I talked to the mothers about their businesses, family life and how SKIP could be of more help to them. They also showed great interest in learning about my background which helped me develop a relationship with them. I also had a fun time living at the volunteer house, meeting volunteers from different countries, but like all families, we had our ups and downs. At the end of the day, we were all at SKIP for a common purpose and this helped us come together. I learned from my peers and gained friendships that will last for a long time. All this is to say that I had a rewarding experience at SKIP. I came out of it with more than what I originally thought I would. SKIP offered me the space to take ownership of a project and along the way made great friends, gained valuable experience and realized that I had picked the right career.