News from PC/Bolivia (cont. from p. 1)

As we enter the final quarter of the federal fiscal year, we have been reviewing our recent Peace Corps Bolivia achievements.  The following represents part of our periodic review document sent to Peace Corps Washington.  It provides a good overview of our activities this year. 

Our continued emphasis on Volunteer health, safety and security has enabled us to meet a number of our fiscal year (FY) 2003 objectives.  During the first three quarters of FY 2003, we:
* reached full compliance with the new Peace Corps Manual Section (MS) 270 safety  requirements.
* updated and tested our Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and conducted staff EAP training.
*initiated redesigned 12-week Pre-Service Training (PST) including:
  -> developed and implemented enhanced health, safety/security and cross-cultural competencies and competency tests.
  ->  expanded safety curricula from six to sixteen hours of sessions.
  ->  more than doubled the number of cross-cultural sessions.
*offered staff training on  the rape response protocol as well as other health, safety and security topics.
*initiated bicycle safety training as part of Reconnect In-Service Training (IST).
*provided safety and security sessions to all PCVs at our biennial All Volunteer Conference.
*designed and presented a Mid-Service IST that includes health and safety components.
*formally reiterated agency guidance to all staff and Volunteers re

garding the issues of illegal drugs and sexual harassment.
*created a new Office Manager position in the Santa Cruz Regional Office to assist in addressing health, safety, security and emergency response issues and ensure compliance with MS 270.
*evaluated the mandatory family home stay and, as a result, increased the required home stay to eight weeks.
*improved out of site reporting processes by adopting a simplified out of site contact policy.
*implemented in-site language tutoring program to enhance PCV safety and security through improved community integration.

We have also made considerable progress toward our goal of improving staff capabilities to meet project goals and objectives by strengthening processes for site development.  The Solicitud de Voluntario now requires that the requesting counterpart agency or community submit a description of work along with their request for a Volunteer.  We also instituted a new practice this year requiring APCDs to attend a community meeting prior to Volunteer placement.  The meeting must be arranged by the counterpart to demonstrate his/her connections to community. 

We also redesigned the third-year tech specialist position.  In addition, we have assigned SPA/Partnership Coordinator duties to one of our Program Assistants and streamlined SPA/Partnership grant proposal processes.

Collaborative partnerships have been key in building greater understanding of PC/Bolivia's goals and objectives, and expanding our project success.  We have developed a positive relationship with FAO and are working on an agreement to formalize their support of our project work, including a process for funding small projects developed by PCVs and their communities.  We have established contact with Habitat for Humanity and Save the Children and anticipate future collaboration with those and similar international development organizations.  We renewed our partnership efforts with USAID, meeting with key program staff to review project goals and objectives and identify areas of continued cooperation. 

Our efforts to integrate program and training continue.  This fiscal year, we initiated an additional APCD interview during PST to improve site/PCV matches and enhance communications between Trainees and APCDs.  We instituted a requirement for APCDs to attend PST technical week activities to observe PCTs in the field prior to assigning sites.  APCDs and technical trainers now work together to establish technical competencies for each training group based upon the sites developed for the group.  Competency tests are administered prior to the end of PST.  Our new Mid-Service IST provides an additional opportunity evaluate and address technical support needs and resources.

(Continued on page 5)

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