|Connecting Peoples Coordinator - Bolivia|
|Santa Cruz is located in the tropical lowlands of Bolivia. Most of the year is very hot and humid, but south winds and rains during the winter months can bring temperatures down into the 50’s F or 10-15C. Although Santa Cruz has a 400-year history, it has developed as a growing metropolis only in the past 30 years. As a dynamic economic and cultural center of almost 1.5 million, Santa Cruz is the 14th fastest growing city in the world. The city has the feel of “industry and growth” but also is characterized by its rural, small town look.
The city of Santa Cruz is the administrative capital of the department of Santa Cruz (similar to a state or province). It is the center for the oil and gas industry as well as the agriculture enterprise of the eastern half of the country. It has an international airport and has bus and railroad links to other parts of Bolivia and South America. Travel within the city of Santa Cruz is predominately by public micros (small buses). Taxis are also available at affordable rates. MCC owns a few vehicles that can be reserved for program and personal use.
The city and surrounding area offer plenty to do and see including: a zoo, parks, outdoor markets, museums, performing arts centers, movie theaters, soccer action, Inca ruins, swimming pools, rivers, waterfalls, and plenty of ice cream! The more traditional foods in the Santa Cruz region include a variety of soups, and meat with rice and potatoes. Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are available. Numerous public and private schools using a variety of teaching methods and languages are available. Many good hospitals and clinics are located within the city area.
The MCC office is located near the center of Santa Cruz and includes a head office, living and guest rooms, library, outdoor basketball, volleyball, and garage facilities.
COVID-19 Pandemic in Bolivia
The pandemic has had a devastating impact in Bolivia as it has with much of the world. MCC takes very seriously basic biosafety measures to guarantee as much as possible the health of all team members. These measures might also limit the mobility a service worker has in the city and country of service. While taking public transportation was highly encouraged before the pandemic, it is now mostly discouraged unless using an online app such as Uber.
Bolivia, as many other Latin American countries does not have a robust health system as one might expect in North America or Europe. Because of this local, state and national governments often implement more strict quarantine and self-isolation measures for its inhabitants with the hope of keeping the number of cases low. While this has not always been as successful as one would hope, MCC considers it important to follow all norms implemented by any public governing body in-country. We expect all service workers to do the same.
MCC Bolivia Reps will at times ask team members to take extra measures to guarantee the safety and health of everyone. All service workers are expected to follow these norms, but is welcome to discuss any inconveniences or conflicts they may have with these norms with the country reps.
|Mar 05, 2021|
|Apr 19, 2021|
All MCC workers are expected to exhibit a commitment to: a personal Christian faith and discipleship; active participation in a Christian church or Christian community; and nonviolent peacemaking. MCC is an equal opportunity employer, committed to employment equity. MCC values diversity and invites all qualified candidates to apply.
- Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field
- Ability to communicate proficiently in English and Spanish (reading, writing and speaking)
- Strong computer skills in Microsoft Office products
- Experience living and working in a cross-cultural setting
- Ability/willingness to travel and work flexible hours (evenings, nights, weekends)
- Excellent interpersonal, communication and public relations skills across cultures
- Highly organized and punctual person
- Demonstrated ability to take initiative, prioritize and manage multiple detail-intensive tasks
- Demonstrated organizational and supervisory skills
- Friendly and warm personality who thrives as a team player
- Thrives in a changing environment and with competing priorities
- Willingness to work with the Mennonite Church in Bolivia and partners
- Understanding of hospitality as gospel mandated peace building
- Commitment to MCC's service philosophy and nonviolence
Invitations to serve with MCC are contingent on the successful outcome of criminal background check(s).
|The Connecting Peoples (CP) Coordinator position in Bolivia is responsible for the facilitation of the 5 – 7 Global Service and Learning (GSL) workers of the Service and Learning Together (SALT) and Young Anabaptist Mennonite Exchange Network (YAMEN) programs serving in Bolivia, and the International Volunteer Exchange (IVEP) and YAMEN participants from the Southern Cone countries serving elsewhere. This is a dynamic position that requires connecting with young adults as well as supervising them through a transformative year of service. Through the accompaniment of these workers, the coordinator will also connect with a wide variety of partners and churches, strengthening the ongoing relationship between these entities, their communities and MCC.
For many years, MCC Bolivia has hosted and sent short-term workers for a variety of dynamic service experiences that have both changed the lives of many young adults as well as strengthened MCC´s relationship with local communities and churches. Many members of the Evangelical Mennonite Church of Bolivia (IEMB) gave a year of service through MCC, impacting their lives and connecting MCC with the Christian calling of service.
SALT and YAMEN workers are currently all placed in and around the city of Santa Cruz with partners mostly focused on educational support, child and family development and gender-based violence. In the current arrangement, these workers live in relative-close proximity to each other which has allowed for the CP Coordinator to gather the group for different activities. There is some consideration of this changing with future groups to accommodate the growing presence of MCC Bolivia in the western regions of the country.
The CP Coordinator is responsible for managing and carrying-out all logistical and supervisory aspects of the SALT and YAMEN workers including, but not limited to, the application process, interviews, selection of workers, visa and travel arrangements for workers, all arrangements with host families and partner organizations, orientation upon arrival, and accompaniment of workers throughout their year of service. While most of the responsibility of these tasks falls on the CP Coordinator, this position can expect close supervision from the MCC Bolivia Reps in decision making processes around selection of workers, service placements, and host-families arrangements; orientation planning; programmatic strategic planning; and relationship building with partner organizations, churches, and host families. Strong and consistent communication between CP and Reps will be important with the expectation of consulting and seeking Rep consent on decisions around a variety of these issues to ensure that the youth service program and placements align well with the rest of the MCC program.
Each year MCC Bolivia also sends YAMEN or IVEP workers to other countries for a year of service. The CP Coordinator is responsible for working with the selection and accompaniment committee in promoting this service option and seeing that the committee is able to carry-out the necessary steps for application and participation in these programs.
This position calls for a dynamic person who is excited about connecting with young adults, while also playing a supervisory role, guiding the team through a transformative year of service. As well, the CP Coordinator will relate to a variety of MCC partner organizations and churches, representing MCC in their ongoing relationships with these entities and their communities. Organization, attention to detail, effective communication, and initiative taking are important aspects of this work. Additionally, while many tasks will be carried-out independently, this position will require collaborating with other MCC Bolivia program service workers and national staff. The MCC Bolivia team includes experienced employees whose knowledge and expertise are of utmost importance in planning and task execution. The CP Coordinator should expect national staff to be part of a collaborative team in working together.
|Heavy use of peanuts in local diet; Political instability; Occasional overnights; Occasional evening and weekend work; Work requires healthy boundaries; Diverse group of stakeholders; Local church not supportive to LGTBQ+ persons|
|Connecting Peoples Coordinator:
1) SALT & YAMEN:
SALT and YAMEN are both one-year exchange programs. MCC Bolivia typically hosts 5 - 6 SALT and YAMEN participants each year, who serve in the city of Santa Cruz and beyond. Oversee the entire selection and placement process for these participants each year.
a. Be primary contact with MCC US/Canada coordinator for placement process.
b. Review files, interview candidates, and build a SALT/YAMEN team taking into consideration multiple complex dynamics and priorities.
c. Help build and maintain a set of partner relationships that serve the strategic directions of MCC Bolivia and host placements of SALT and YAMEN participants.
d. Establish and maintain a relationship with host families, and the churches mainly through the selection/accompaniment committee.
e. Plan orientations for GSL participants, host families, and partners.
f. Supervise the SALT and YAMEN team to create conditions for a positive experience; check in regularly with participants, partners, and host families to see how things are going; respond to participant, family and partner needs that arise.
g. Plan monthly SALT and YAMEN activities that incorporate dynamic learning about the Bolivian context, intentional reflection, and team-building; find experiential activities, readings, or local speakers that can offer new perspectives and understandings.
h. Support SALT and YAMEN participants, host families and their placement partners in conflict management and resolving any other issues that arise.
i. Be available to respond to issues and questions outside of work hours (especially times of sickness).
j. PME – CP Program Monitoring and Evaluation
i. Completing bi-annual reporting through PME process by filling out, translating and turning in CP reports to PME personnel with MCC Bolivia.
ii. Using any reporting tools that have been designed and agreed upon for tracking indicators, outputs and activities.
2) IVEP and YAMEN Candidates from Bolivia and the Southern Cone:
MCC Bolivia is the sending office for young adults from the Southern Cone of South America into IVEP and YAMEN (4-6 per year). Both are one-year programs: IVEPers serve in North America and YAMENers serve in the global South.
a. Communicate with Anabaptist churches in the Southern Cone to promote the programs.
b. Together with the church committees, identify, interview and select suitable candidates.
c. Be the conduit with MCC Akron/Winnipeg for the placement process.
d. Facilitate the visa process.
e. Lead their pre-term orientation.
a. Participate in the MCC Bolivia Leadership Team (monthly meetings).
b. Ensure timely reporting from SALT and YAMEN volunteers.
c. Review monthly financial reports from SALT and YAMEN volunteers.
d. Together with the Representatives, ensure updated assignment descriptions are prepared for each placement cycle.
e. Prepare annual reports as required and stay on top of regular email to ensure the myriad of details are cared for effectively.
f. Manage CP budget and finances with Rep supervision.
g. Be responsible for writing and maintaining new service worker orientation materials, as agreed with the Representatives.
h. Share in doing airport pick-ups (even in the middle of the night), hosting guests, team activities and tasks as assigned by Reps.
4) Visa Specialist:
a. In close coordination with the MCC Rep and Administrative Secretary, initiate and monitor the visa process for all workers, official MCC visitors, Learning Tours, and short-term volunteers; stay abreast of new requirements and regulations as able.
b. Accompany new workers through the Bolivian visa process before the start of their term.
c. Coordinate with MCC staff in Winnipeg/Akron to achieve visa success.
5) Other duties as assigned by Reps:
There are duties that the Reps along with the MCC Bolivia team are responsible for. Depending on a variety of factors such as interests, abilities and time of service workers on the team, the Reps will look for service workers that are able to collaborate on the tasks listed below as needed and able.
a. Orientation of new long-term service workers (not GSL) – This could include any number of collaborative tasks from planning, organizing and executing the in-country orientations; logistical support; organizing language study; communicating with MCC partners for their participation; lead sessions during the orientation; and /or translate for the group.
b. Learning Tours, Exchanges and Partner Encounters - This could include any number of collaborative tasks from planning, organizing and executing such exchanges; logistical support; communicating with MCC partners for their participation; lead sessions during the orientation; and /or translate for the group.
c. Team Meetings and Retreats – Each year the MCC Bolivia Team as 2 team meetings and 1 retreat that are 3 – 4 days. Responsibilities could include any number of collaborative tasks from planning, organizing and executing such meetings/retreats; logistical support, communication, leading sessions; and/or translation.
d. MCC Bolivia bulletin – MCC Bolivia puts out a monthly bulletin that requires a person to collect stories and photos from the team, do some translating, and format the stories and photos into the bulletin format using Microsoft Publisher. The bulletin is closely supervised by MCC Reps.
e. Translation of PME reports – Twice a year reports need to be translated form Spanish to English. This does not require professional level translating and is always a significant help to the functioning of MCC Bolivia support. Depending on the time of different people on the team would hopefully be shared amongst different service workers.
f. Protection against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) focal point – This position is responsible for helping coordinate accompaniment of the MCC Bolivia team and of partners in developing and implementing PSEA policies with their project participants. This position is an option for those that are interested in would feel comfortable engaging this work.
All positions require flexibility and dedication to supporting the team and taking on other duties as requested.
This position might require some travel to visit partners or a trip with the SALT and YAMEN workers in other regions of the country. The work times and rhythms vary throughout the year, with some months being much more intense than others. Beyond carrying out the specific tasks mentioned above, it is important to be attentive to special partner events that allow for relationship-building with partners and deepening understanding of their work. The CP Coordinator works within the broader MCC Bolivia/Southern Cone team which currently has around 30 members. The MCC team meets three times a year for team retreats and maintains other forms of support throughout the year.
All MCC workers are expected to attend MCC meetings and events as appropriate, and be willing to contribute to team life, including devotional times. Workers are also expected to attend a local church.