I’ve received this question, in one way or another, so many times over the last year and decided it is time to clear the air. If you have been wondering what my job consists of, read on!
My official title with Peace Corps is Small Business Development & Education Volunteer. A mouthful, I know. What that breaks down to is this: the majority of my time is spent in high school classrooms, co-planning with teachers, working on various programming projects for the Small Business PC Nicaragua program, with in-site side projects filling the rest of my time.
By the numbers:
8: classes I attend weekly during the first semester
15: classes I attend weekly during the second semester
5: counterpart teachers I work with
4: schools I work in
300+: students I see in class each week
43: student groups submitting business plans
10: families my site-mate and I are currently building improved ovens with
7: families participating in Personal Financial Education classes I am facilitating
2: student interns I am currently training and working with in a community project
4: side projects I am currently working on outside of the classroom
About the classroom experience: Nicaragua’s Ministry of Education has a relatively new small business curriculum, Emprendedurismo (Entrepreneurship), that is being implemented and forms the main component of my job. The curriculum is a basic overview of what a creative business idea is, how to write a business plan, and how to find investors in communities. Fifth year students (seniors in high school) are going through this curriculum in their OTV (essentially job-prep) class. I also work with fourth year students (juniors in high school) training teachers on the curriculum and giving classes on vocational preparedness.
About side projects: While I don’t have tons of time to spend on side projects due to how much I am in the classroom, I find a lot of joy in working on these little babies. Current projects include:
– Building energy-efficient ovens for 10 families in a rural community
– Giving personal financial education classes to those same families
– Working with two student interns to train them in community development practices, as well as personal financial education & stove building
– Leading an English Conversation group once a week. Love these folks!
– Team Emprende, PC Nicaragua’s Small Business department leadership team. We plan the National Congress & Competition, organize fundraising opportunities such an annual Cocktail Party, and work to improve the Entrepreneurship experience
– Designing a new database for all of the school contact and counterpart information that the Small Business sector has
– Playing photographer for Peace Corps projects such as the Inside Out Project in Granada, and other events
So that’s the gist of what my professional life here looks like. A full, but fun life.