A Community Organization Development (COD) volunteer is partnered with an individual from the primary organization that applied to be a partner with Peace Corps. The organization agreed to have a staff member partner with the volunteer on a project and help the volunteer integrate into the community.
The volunteers are matched with these organizations based on the proposed projects and the skills needed as well as the volunteer’s skills, experience and interests.
In Moldova, most COD volunteers are placed with one of the following:
- Primaria (Mayor’s office)
- Biblioteca (Library)
- ONG (NGO/nonprofit)
The projects for these organizations can include leading workshops on business/leadership/computer skills or finding funding for a project (like building a soccer field or improving the bathrooms in a school) and managing the project once funding is received.
Secondary projects are also part of the volunteers work. This can include leading clubs for English, recycling, sports, youth development or the arts. The most successful clubs are the ones in which the volunteer partners with a community member and supports that member in leading the club. Many of the clubs focus on young adults which provide opportunities for the youth to develop leadership skills. There are also projects focused on supporting the elderly or people with special needs.
A successful community development program in Moldova is the work being done by a nonprofit called Novateca. One way that the organization is improving the libraries in Moldova is by providing computers and training for the librarians. This includes training on how to secure funding and support for continued work by the library. Many COD volunteers have worked with Novateca and the libraries to lead workshops on computer skills and to develop journalism clubs. The development of a library as a community center and the availability of the internet for public use is very impressive.
I’ll share more about specific projects and my site placement in upcoming blog posts.