VSA ASSIGNMENT MANAGEMENT by mac17883

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Assignment Title:            Forestry Adviser
Country:                      Cambodia
Location:                    Phnom Penh
Partner Organisation:        Faculty of Forestry, Royal University of Agriculture (RUA)

Accountable to:               Rector, RUA
Reporting to:                 Dean, Faculty of Forestry, RUA




1.   ASSIGNMENT PURPOSE

Staff at the Faculty of Forestry have an increased capacity to teach their courses effectively.


2. ASSIGNMENT OBJECTIVES, ACTIVITIES AND INDICATORS

Objective 1

Faculty staff and students demonstrate an improved ability to use and maintain technical
equipment used in Forestry Science.

Activities

Work with faculty staff to:
 Check and document the condition of the technical equipment within the faculty
 Develop a basic instructional guide for staff and students on the use and maintenance of
  the equipment
 Facilitate the repair and maintenance of the equipment where possible
 Improve staff and students knowledge of using and maintaining the equipment
 Teach and supervise students to correctly use and maintain technical equipment during
  field-based practice

Indicators

    Technical equipment has been checked and documented
    Faculty staff and students have access to a basic instructional guide on use and
     maintenance of technical equipment
    Equipment has been repaired and maintained where possible
    Faculty staff and students improve their use and maintenance of technical equipment
    Students demonstrate proper use of technical equipment during field-based practice
Objective 2

Faculty staff and students improve their ability to apply Forestry Science theory successfully
into practice.

Activities

Mentor and support Faculty staff to:
 Develop appropriate teaching methodologies to help improve students’ understanding of
  Forestry Science
 Develop simple criteria to identify suitable sites for students’ field-based practice
 Identify appropriate tasks/projects for students’ field-based practice
 Effectively supervise students on field-based practice
 Improve quality of reports on student field-based practice activities and findings

Indicators

   Faculty staff use effective teaching methods that enable students to apply theory to
    practice
   The quality of sites and projects for students’ field-based practice is improved
   Students report greater learning during field-based practice
   Faculty staff improve their ability to report on student field-based practice activities and
    findings


Objective 3

The Forestry Faculty enlarges its network for professional exchange and collaboration.

Activities

Work with faculty staff to identify potential partners e.g. within the RUA, with other teaching
institutions and the wider community, with the intention to:
   Network, exchange information, experiences and ideas
   Explore opportunities for cooperation and joint working e.g. sharing equipment, identifying,
    developing and implementing forestry-related projects

Indicators

   The Foresty Faculty has enlarged its professional network for regular exchange of
    information, experiences and ideas
   The Forestry Faculty reports increased cooperation and collaboration with other groups in
    the sharing of equipment, identifying, developing and implementing forestry related projects


    As needs on the ground may change over time, the volunteer on arrival is encouraged to
    review and update the assignment description in consultation with the partner organisation.


3. REPORTING RELATIONSHIPS

The volunteer will report directly to the Dean of the Faculty of Forestry and will be accountable
to the Rector, RUA. The volunteer will work closely with different faculty staff on a day to day
basis. There will also be opportunities to interact with other teaching institutions and networks
involved in forestry issues well as with volunteers from VSA and other organisations.


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The volunteer will liaise with the VSA programme office in Phnom Penh in terms of assignment
monitoring, reporting and personal support.


4. SKILLS EXCHANGE/TRANSFER

Skills exchange/transfer will be through on-the-job mentoring, training and the modelling of
best practice.


5. PERSON SPECIFICATIONS

Professional

Essential

   Relevant Forestry Science qualification
   At least 3 years of practical forestry experience
   Knowledge in and use of technical equipment e.g. Compass Silva, SUUNTO, Clinometers,
    GPS etc
   Familarity with forestry inventory and measurement techniques eg. GIS and mapping
   Experience in supervising Forestry Science field-based practice
   Ability to develop simple training manuals
   Knowledge of silviculture and practice
   Ability to work creatively within restricted budgets

Desirable

   Experience of teaching Forestry Science at tertiary level
   Experience in writing technical reports for the forestry sector


Personal

Essential

   Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships at many levels with a wide
    range of people and organisations
   Willingness to work in an office where English is not widely spoken
   Willing to work in an organisation with scarce resources
   Willing to ride on a motorcycle for occasional work-related travel

Desirable

   Experience of working and living in a different culture
   Ability to work through an interpreter on occasions




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6. TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Residency status
VSA volunteers must be New Zealand citizens or have New Zealand permanent residency
status, and preferably have lived in New Zealand for at least two years.

Partner Organisation
The volunteer's partner organisation will be the Faculty of Forestry, Royal University of
Agriculture (RUA).

Length of Assignment
This assignment is for a period of two years.

Pre-departure briefing
As part of our contract, the volunteer will be required to take part in a pre-departure course run
by VSA in Wellington. Dates are indicated in the document titled Instructions on Applying for
a VSA Assignment (downloadable from our website).

Final Appointment
Final appointment will be subject to satisfactory medical and immigration clearances, partner
organisation acceptance, and successful completion of the VSA Briefing course.

Family Status
Families with accompanying dependent children will not be considered for this assignment.

Vaccination Requirements
Potential volunteers are advised that VSA’s insurers require volunteers to be inoculated, prior
to departure, in accordance with the instructions of VSA’s medical adviser.

Volunteer Package
The volunteer’s package includes the following:

   Reimbursements and Grants
    1. The volunteer will receive an initial establishment grant of NZ$1000.
    2. The volunteer will receive a rest and recreation grant of NZ$1000 on completion of the
       first year of assignment (note this grant applies to a 2-year assignment only).
    3. A resettlement grant of NZ$250 will be paid for each month the volunteer is on
       assignment. This is payable on the completion of the assignment.
    4. The volunteer will receive a monthly living allowance of USD$500.

   Accommodation
    For this assignment, basic, furnished accommodation will be provided by VSA.

   Airfares and baggage allowance
    The volunteer will be provided with economy airfares at the beginning and end of the
    assignment, plus a baggage allowance.

   Insurance
    VSA will provide insurance to cover baggage and personal property, and medical and
    additional expenses.




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Attachments

Appendix 1. BACKGROUND TO THE ASSIGNMENT
Appendix 2. LIVING AND WORKING SITUATION




______________________________________     _________________________

Programme Manager                          Date




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Appendix 1. BACKGROUND TO THE ASSIGNMENT

Introduction to Cambodia

Economically, Cambodia faces challenges to its economic development. The economy was
virtually destroyed by decades of war and is still in slow recovery. For the last decade, foreign
aid has consistently been around 20 to 30% of GDP and comprised a majority of the
government’s development budget.

Cambodia essentially remains a rural economy with approximately 80% of the population living
in rural areas. Rural Cambodians are disadvantaged in terms of health, education, income,
and access to infrastructure resources compared to their urban counterparts.


Royal University of Agriculture (RUA)

Founded in 1964, the university is one of Cambodia’s nine national universities. It was closed
during Khmer Rouge days and saw most of its physical infrastructure seriously damaged or
completely destroyed. In 1994, the campus was reopened and renamed the Royal University
of Agriculture (RUA).

RUA comes under the technical supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and
Fisheries while receiving academic accreditation by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
It receives funding from the government and international NGOs.

The Faculty of Forestry, where the assignment is based, is one of RUA’s eight faculties. Its
role is to deliver Forestry Science teaching to support the country’s sustainable management of
forest resources. It had previously received assistance from German Development Service
(DED) in curriculum development, teaching, proposal writing and consultancy advice.


VSA in Cambodia

VSA has worked in Cambodia since 1992, under an umbrella agreement with the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, which proposed a cross-sectoral community development programme focusing
on Kus Commune in Tram Kak District, Takeo Province. Using the Ministry of Education as a
focal point, VSA agreed to place volunteers in teacher training, primary health care and
agricultural extension assignments. From 1992 to 1999 volunteers were based in Takeo
working to support and improve primary teacher training, community health initiatives, primary
school education and agricultural infrastructure at Kus Commune. This involvement drew to a
close late in 1999.

A new five year country programme strategy is currently being finalised for the VSA Cambodia
programme with the expectation that VSA will focus on work in Phnom Penh, Svray Rieng and
Takeo provinces. The strategy will focus on supporting partner organisations seeking to
increase social inclusion of the rural poor and marginalised communities. RUA is a new
partner for VSA and this is one of two assignments under recruitment. The other assignment
under recruitment is an Agricultural Engineering Adviser assignment with the Faculty of
Agricultural Technology and Management.




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Appendix 2. LIVING AND WORKING SITUATION

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is flat, lush and tropical, noisy and crowded in parts. It is situated beside the
Mekong River. Main roads are sealed but many side streets are unpaved. The climate is hot
(around 36 degrees most days rising to 40 degrees in the hot season). There is rain in the
monsoon season for part of the day. Travel is predominantly by motorbike taxi which is cheap
and readily available. There is a range of public facilities and amenities, such as restaurants,
hotels and cultural entertainment venues, however more than occasional use of these is not
affordable on the VSA allowance. Exercising at a gym or pool are expensive pursuits in
Phnom Penh and generally outside the scope of the volunteer allowance.

There are considerable numbers of volunteers in Phnom Penh from British, Australian,
Japanese, Swedish and United Nations volunteer sending agencies. The conditions for
volunteers vary widely with VSA volunteers receiving an allowance at the middle range of the
spectrum. VSA volunteers maintain a standard of living that is good compared with local
Khmer, but lower than that enjoyed by other expatriates. The VSA allowance is adequate,
provided locally produced and sourced goods and services are used.


Working

The volunteer will be based at the Faculty of Forestry at RUA, located 7km from Phnom Penh
city.

The Faculty of Forestry comprises the Department of Forest Resources, the Department of
Forest Conservation, and the Practical Nursery and Forest School. There are 29 full time and
part time faculty staff who have a variety of qualifications ranging from BA to PhD level. Faculty
staff speak varying levels of English.

Work hours are Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 12.00 noon and from 2.00pm to 5.00pm.
VSA volunteers receive 20 days leave in addition to Khmer public holidays.

At the office, the volunteer will have a desk, access to a computer, printer, photocopier, and
telephone.


Living

Accommodation in Phnom Penh is of a reasonable standard, though rental prices have
increased sharply over recent months. Volunteers enjoy self-contained accommodation,
usually 1 to 2 bedrooms, which may comprise part of a larger house or an apartment or flat.
Landlords may frequently live in the part of the property that is not offered for rent. Some older
style wooden housing is available but most rental property is of reinforced concrete with tiled
floors and fans. Volunteers are required to cover their own utility costs from their allowance
and these costs are highest during the hot season.

It is important to retain as much of the VSA establishment grant as possible as this will be
needed to set up a house in Phnom Penh. Most houses come equipped with basic furniture
including beds, chairs, tables, a fridge and a gas hob. Volunteers are responsible for their own
cleaning and cooking arrangements.

The volunteer allowance does not provide volunteers with sufficient disposable income for
extensive personal travel. Volunteers would need to draw down funds from New Zealand for
overseas holidays, frequent western style dining and entertainment. It is possible to eat a good

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diet of predominantly Khmer food cheaply and a wide range of exotic fruit and vegetables are
easily available at markets. Diets of rice, fish, or chicken or pork and vegetables are healthy
and affordable.


General Security

Although the situation in Cambodia is calm, volunteers are required to be security conscious
and adhere to the advice of their employers and field office on security matters. In general,
foreigners are not the targets of random physical assault; however armed robbery is possible,
particularly at night. Foreigners may be assaulted if they resist demands for goods or cash.
Provided travel advice is followed there is very little danger to foreign residents in Cambodia.

Although it is unlikely that there will be a repeat of past civil instability, VSA now asks
volunteers to sign a security protocol as an addendum to their contracts. The protocol provides
advice for volunteers to follow in the unlikely event of further political instability and general
security guidelines for everyday situations and for travel away from assignment locations. The
VSA field staff in Phnom Penh will go through the ground measures for health, emergency and
security with the volunteer on arrival in country.




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