Critical factors influencing the effectiveness of Peace Corps' efforts in special education and rehabilitation
In reviewing the performance of Peace Corps Volunteers in activities that affect the lives of disabled persons, the authors of this report identified a number of critical factors influencing the effectiveness of individual assignments, small projects, and country programs. The reader should note that these are not the only factors influencing effectiveness, but rather those which, in our judgment, seem to contribute most substantially to the success or failure of an activity.
The factors are organized in a manner consistent with the natural sequence of all Peace Corps activities. The major headings chosen are Programming Factors, Recruitment Factors, Training Factors, Support Factors and Post Service Factors.
Each factor is briefly discussed and, in some cases, an example of how the factor enhanced or hindered an activity is provided. Whenever possible, recommendations are made regarding ways to avoid specific problems or ways to remediate the effects of a negative situation.
It must be emphasized that the factors continuously interact in the real world where volunteers work. It is rare to identify a single factor which appears to be the only cause of success or failure of an assignment.
In the final analysis, it appears that the personal characteristics of Peace Corps Volunteers and staff are the major determinants of effectiveness. There is no substitute for a Peace Corps Volunteer with the qualities of personal maturity, practical skills, good interpersonal abilities, adaptability, and a respect and affection for his or her host community. Such volunteers are usually personally effective, whatever the assignment, but other critical factors will certainly expand or limit their potential. How the Peace Corps staff attends to these critical factors will affect, in some measure, the achievements of all volunteers.
The authors hope that Peace Corps staff will find the following discussion of Critical Factors useful in future Peace Corps efforts. While this list was derived from looking primarily at rehabilitation and special education assignments, some factors will apply to other program areas as well.
Critical Factors Influencing the Effectiveness of Peace Corps' Efforts in Special Education and Rehabilitation
1.0 Programming Factors
1.1 Peace Corps Staff Awareness of Disability-Related Programming
2.0 Recruitment Factors
2.1 Personal Characteristics of Volunteers
3.0 Training Factors
3.1 Understanding Organizational Structures and Customs
4.0 Support Factors
4.1 Staff Support and Expectations
5.0 Post-Service Factors
5.1 Networking Returned Volunteers
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