Every PCV at the end of their service creates a nifty document called a description of service or DOS for short. As the name indicates, it is a record of all the work you did during service, and serves as evidence for future employer, Peace Corps Response, and graduate programs that you actually were a PCV. At the Close of Service conference, there are sessions on how to compile the DOS. For those of us who close our service suddenly, it is a scramble to find a template. Every country, program, and service is different but my post liked my format, and none of the other internet examples mentioned a site change. So here y’all go with edits to maintain the privacy of the communities I served. Hopefully this helps someone, the one tip I will mention was that I initially wrote “Katey” instead of “Ms. Redmond” and the acting country director sent it back for edits.
Description of Peace Corps Service
Republic of South Africa (2015- 2016)
From March 2015 to May 2016, Katey Redmond served as a Community HIV Outreach Volunteer in South Africa under the Peace Corps’ Community HIV Outreach Program (CHOP). Ms. Redmond’s service was conducted in the uThukela and Amajuba Districts of KwaZulu-Natal Province (KZN).
For the first 5 months of her service, Ms. Redmond worked at TCO, a faith based organization serving 18 remote communities in an amaZulu tribal authority. Located in the Central Drakensburg Mountains, TCO facilitates hospice services, home based care, and 3 drop-in-centres for Site 1.0. Her main tasks at the organization involved monitoring and evaluation support for grants and needs assessments. In October 2015, she moved to the Amajuba district and served ACCC. At the time, ACCC was the only operating Home Based Care and Drop-in-Centre serving the Schnitzeland Municipality of Amajuba District. Ms. Redmond’s tasks at ACCC focused on capacity building for the organization.
From 22 January 2015 – 30 March 2015, Ms. Redmond’s completed eight weeks of intensive pre-service training conducted by Peace Corps South Africa. This training included:
- 59 hours of technical training
- 118 hours of isiZulu Language & Culture
- 10.5 hours of Diversity
- 13 hours of Safety and Security
- 145 hours of CORE
- 30.5 hours of Personal Health/Medical
- 12 hours of Supervisors Workshop
- 4 hours of Admin
- 120 hours of Site Orientation Experience
- 48 hours of shadowing
On March 30, 2015 Ms. Redmond was successfully sworn in as a US Peace Corps Volunteer.
In July 2015, Ms. Redmond completed ten days of In-Service Training conducted by Peace Corps South Africa. This Training Included:
- 18 hours of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Awareness
- 6 hours of Language and Culture Education
- 12 hours of Project Design and Management
Ms. Redmond’s service primarily focused on the implementation of the three Peace Corps Community HIV Outreach Project Goals. Ms. Redmond’s work addressed the 2nd and 3rd goals of the CHOP Program. Her accomplishments under these goals are detailed below.
Goal 2: Sustain Health and Wellness of OVCYs, PLHIVs and Caregivers
- In April 2015, Ms. Redmond co-facilitated a weekend retreat for caregivers of HIV positive children. She also continued to interact with the caregivers after camps through Circles of Support groups. She and her supervisor co-facilitated planning meetings where caregivers prioritized health topics to discuss during the sessions.
- From July to August 2015, Ms. Redmond designed an adherence club for PLWHIV in site 1.0 in collaboration with a decentralized roll out of chronic medication facilitated by the nearest hospital pharmacy in Shopping Town 1.0, KZN. The aim was providing a safe place for PLWHIV to connect as they collected their monthly prescriptions, education on other health concerns, and recommended STI and Tuberculosis (TB) screenings, while keeping healthy PLWHIV from developing other illnesses in the local clinic’s waiting room.
- In March 2016, Ms. Redmond collaborated with caregivers as ACCC to develop a World TB Day event for children between the ages of 6-14. As part of the preparation she and the staff developed activities that incorporated learning styles and covered disease transmission and prevention strategies.
- Ms. Redmond trained caregivers at ACCC on devolving patient rosters and organizing client information for PLWHIV and People with disabilities. The information was then used for programmatic decisions.
Goal 3: Address the social and structural drivers of the epidemic and mitigate the impact of stigma and discrimination
- In both communities, Ms. Redmond composed two through community needs assessments reports describing available resources, attitudes towards HIV and other health concerns. Ms. Redmond completed both reports using appreciative inquiry techniques, literature reviews, SWOT analyses, and other community participatory techniques.
- As part of a community needs assessment process, Ms. Redmond collaborated with ACCC staff on two focus groups; one for teenage mothers and another for PLWHIV. During these focus groups, community members shared their experiences with stigma and then brainstormed mitigation strategies with organization staff.
Monitoring and Evaluation Tasks
- From May-August 2015, Ms. Redmond provided monitoring and evaluation support through data entry and compiled several databases for TCO. This included a roster of recently bereaved children and child headed households in Site 1.0, and a spreadsheet that analyzed over 120 applications for a social worker position at TCO. Ms. Redmond also created a Tuberculosis patient database which documented the patients’ HIV and ARV statuses, as well as their stage of TB treatment.
- In June 2015, Ms. Redmond attended a 2-day training held in Pietermaritzburg, KZN, for a new database created by the Department of Social Development for the monitoring and evaluation of OVCY interventions.
- From December 2015 to January 2016, Ms. Redmond supported the Nellies Farm Clinic’s reception desk during the holiday break by organizing patient files and clinic cards, registering new clients, and assisting staff with operations.
Amajuba NGO Network
- In February 2016, Ms. Redmond started a support network for HIV focused Non-Governmental Organizations in the Amajuba district. Site facilitators from six organizations participated in a group created on the social media platform What’s App, where they discussed organizational concerns areas of professional development. At the time Ms. Redmond ended her service, she was planning monthly trainings for the organizations to meet their requests for program management skills.
Support to Peace Corps South Africa
- As part of the All-Volunteer Conference of June 2015, Ms. Redmond developed and co-facilitated a workshop exploring health prejudice within the PCV community. 30 PCVs participated in bias awareness activities and conversed about how these attitudes also impact South African communities. The title of the workshop was “Avoiding Foot-in-Mouth Disease: Supporting your fellow PCVs and South African Communities with Medical and Mental Needs.”
- In January 2016, Ms. Redmond was selected to serve as a resource volunteer at new CHOP cohort’s PST. She attended a General Training of the Trainers and developed a presentation describing her community needs assessment processes in two different communities and specific cultural considerations for the process in rural South African communities. During her time at PST, she also helped Peace Corps staff with general logistics and addressed inquiries from trainees.
- Ms. Redmond was appointed as a Monitoring and Evaluation Champion. In this role she helped PCVs countrywide complete quarterly reports (Volunteer Reporting Forms or VRF) by clarifying PEPFAR indicators, providing technical support at a PCV’s site, and explored problems on the VRF application to share with PCSA staff.
Third Goal of Peace Corps: Sharing South African Culture with Americans
- While on Home leave in April 2016, Ms. Redmond prepared 3 presentations for college students and the general public on South Africa and her experience as a PCV with chronic health needs.
- Ms. Redmond maintained a personal blog about her experiences with amaZulu culture entitled “Eish: a 2.25 Year Commentary on this South African Life.” In January 2016, she participated in a blogging boot camp for current PCVs, and shared South African culture with other volunteers. At the end of her service, 1,305 visitors found “Eish” and 2,365 page views came from the United States.