Program review for Peace Corps in Moldova – Betsy Vegso

Betsy Vegso worked in Moldova during the summer as a result of her long association with Peace Corps. She relates her experience as follows:


Peace Corps has been in Moldova since 1993.  Currently there are about 100 American Peace Corps volunteers are assigned to rural areas of Moldova, working on projects related to health education, English education, community and organizational development, and small enterprise development. They work with Moldovan partners at schools, local government offices, or non-governmental organizations. Volunteers and partners work together for two years to develop and implement projects which ideally fall in the "Peace Corps niche,” that is, the intersection of Moldovan national priorities, local community issues, and volunteer skills. My role, in a sense, was to address whether and how well activities of Peace Corps Moldova (PC/Moldova)’s fit within this niche.


I spent the summer engaging with volunteers, staff and partners of PC/Moldova. I reviewed program and training functions and developed recommendations related to program management. Program reviews like this are not unusual in Peace Corps; they serve as a type of formative evaluation, as they typically occur mid-cycle in a project's lifespan, and often during a point of leadership transition within PC staff —which was the case in Moldova. 


Over the course of my assignment, I met with more than 60 volunteers, staff, and partners from the national, regional, and local levels. Most were 1:1 interviews (I had the benefit of an interpreter when necessary), but I also met some volunteers in small groups and held a focus group of partners who had a particular work site in common. I observed and participated in pre-service and in-service training events, and reviewed documents of various kinds—memoranda of understanding with partner Ministries, project monitoring frameworks, training materials, policy handbooks, sample reports from individual volunteers and annual summary reports on volunteer activities.


I assessed PC/Moldova's activities and operations in the context of comparable countries and  global standards, but I also kept in mind the unique conditions within Moldova. In my last weeks in Moldova, I drafted recommendations and met with key staff to discuss findings and check my assumptions. I also had calls with relevant staff at PC/Washington to provide a preview of the report.  I completed the final report just after returning to Amherst.




Betsy is a 2nd year Master’s student at CIE. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Jordan and subsequently served as a director of training and programming in various countries and as a chief of programming and training in Washington D.C. Her research interests include the role of volunteer teachers in international and intercultural contexts.