WHO IS SUE MILLER?
Sue Miller is Director of Programming and Training for Peace Corps Georgia, and oversees the development and delivery of training programs for Peace Corps volunteers in Georgia, as well as bearing responsibility for programmatic direction, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, site development, and strategic partnerships for the three Peace Corps projects in Georgia: English Education, Organizational Development, and Peace Corps Response.
Prior to assuming her current position, she worked for over 10 years for development organizations in Latin America, Africa, Russia, Georgia, and East Timor on community and international development programs.
You can connect with Sue here:
IN TOR 009 YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT:
- The wave of changes that are making the Peace Corps (PC) a more focused, relevant and innovative organization, through their broad spectrum of programs, as seen by one of PC Georgia’s leaders.
- PC careers, her own and the volunteer’s; and the recent changes PC has enforced to better listen to their needs and make sure they have the right tools, systems and resources.
- How PC missions are set up in countries, and how political affairs at home and abroad affect Sue’s strategic planning.
- Sue’s day to day work, her many hats in administrative and field duties, her learnings, things that helped her along the way and how curiosity can be a great career coach.
OUR CONVERSATION INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:
- Peace Corps Georgia
- US Congress
- Monitoring and Reporting
- English language teaching
- Teaching capacity development
- Civil society
- Individual organization development
- Job enrollment
- Personal finance
- Intercultural relations, skills
- Evaluation and feedback
- Program independence
- Tbilisi, Georgia
- East Timor
EPISODE CRIB NOTES
Director for Programming and Training
The direction programs and volunteers are taking.
What kind of partnerships, work, activity.
Monitoring, counseling, training.
Programming for the Peace Corps are volunteer-based.
Three projects in Georgia.
#1 English and skills education, teaching development, capacities.
#2 Civil society and organization development and management skills; Individual development, youth job enrollment, home finance.
#3 Peace Corps Response (global), volunteers extend mission for other countries, short term assignments.
მშვიდობის კორპუსი (Peace Corps in Georgia)
Started in 2000.
First volunteers arrived in 2001.
PC is invited by the host country. First was English, then business development which turned into social entrepreneurship and now it is individual organization development. “Programs evolve over time.“
Georgia was coming after Soviet Union. Problems of service. Relationship started through embassies or countries reaching directly to PC. PC assesses feasibility, volunteer security and so on.
Direct action, overseeing training team.
Takes care of volunteers environment. Volunteers live in community families.
“Lots and lots of emails. I get to the field whenever I can, that’s the best part of the job.” Mostly for volunteer training
Balance is good. She knows all volunteers. Does not mind spending time in administrative duties, she’s aware of its importance in terms of sustainability.
PC has increased training and knowledge about what volunteers do. It’s interested in ensuring people are doing peak job and have all resources.
Intercultural skills. “What does it mean to be an English teacher in Georgia?“
HQ communicates via email. Regular updates, memos about initiatives, and changes.
Strengthening Monitoring and Reporting Evaluation (MRE). Improving qualitative data, focus.
Proprietary Volunteer Reporting Tool
PC has a reporting system, data goes all the way up to Congress.
Sue makes sure volunteers understand the system, the indicators, the outcomes.
Current PC revision includes evaluation of volunteers, breaks down into the detail of a volunteer action.
Cluster villages model, where volunteers enroll into communities since day one. This is new.
Reach out to PC alumni, peers for training new ones.
PC pays attention to feedback quickly. Is part of Sue’s job to make sure it happens.
Committees make sure project performance and outcomes are known for PC, but also local partners and government representatives.
Sue’s PC career
Studied intercultural relations. Ready to join PC.
Taught for a year.
’00-’02 Joined as volunteer in Russia, teaching English and Spanish. “Did not see it as development.“
’03 East Timor. “Very isolated. Inspiring.” Realizes about all the people doing good work.
“PC has come a long way.” A yearly volunteer survey, whose outcomes are actually used.
PC work itself has changed. More active presence.
More security, brought after 9\11. “Now there are evacuation plans.“
Progressive growth. “Lucky.” Not every manager was a PC volunteer, especially for specific skills and requirements.
Career decisions have often been guided by new things to try.
A line to the US government
PC is independent. “There is no connection to the Embassy.“
Their strategic planning does not seem to be influenced by any branches of government.
Funding is there, but as an afterthought.
Development paths were not widespread. But volunteers do want lifelong involvement in similar areas.
“While you’re young, don’t get stuck on a path.“
“Build a broad range of experiences. High management requires a range of skills.“
Please share, participate and leave feedback below!
If you have any feedback you’d like to share for me or Sue, please leave your thoughts in the comment section below! I read all of them and will definitely take part in the conversation.
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