Location Kaisone Phomvihane district, Laos
Start Date Sep – Nov 2017 (flexible)
Length of Placement 24 Months
Language Requirements English
English Reading: Level 3, Writing: Level 5, Speaking: Level 4
Language Scale: http://www.cusointernational.org/languageratingscale
Open to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada only
The overall purpose of the placement is to provide support to small holder farmers in Laos in strengthening the capacities of the Thasano Rice Research and Seed Multiplication Center to improve the implementation of new or existing rice varieties and collective economic initiatives for farmer that will focus on value chain and access to markets (domestic and international), implements its rural development projects.
The aim of this placement is to further develop the quality of the organic rice production and marketing channel (written reports and case studies) in order to share learning and best practice generated by partners and volunteers within Cuso International programs. Volunteer will be paired up with a volunteer who is placement at Savannakhet channel of commerce and industries and will work collaboratively with the Country Office team to meet the goal and strategies, partners, beneficiaries and staff.
This placement will support the work of Cuso Laos in Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth (ISEG) and governance, with a particular focus on sustainable livelihoods for all, access to finance, training and capacity building opportunities. There will also be a focus on how far services are provided for youth, women as well as men in the area, given the importance placed by Cuso on the inclusion of women and socially excluded groups.
As a volunteer, you will:
- Identify and/or develop a variety (ies) of organic rice that can be effectively grown by Enterprise farmers; and, meet the demands of consumer markets.
- Develop farmer training programs to grow and optimize organic rice yields.
- Develop information materials to inform and educate Enterprise farmers on the benefits of growing organic rice.
- Develop support programs to ensure Enterprise farmers are constantly kept abreast of changing organic farming practices and technologies.
- Develop an internal organic quality certification program to prepare Enterprise farmers for International Organic Certification inspections and audits.
- Identify gender mainstreaming activities and initiatives that directly tackle issues relating to inclusion (people with disabilities, indigenous minority groups, and people living with HIV/AIDS).
Essential Academic Qualifications:
- University Degree in Agricultural Sciences, Horticultural Production, Social Sciences or related field
- Degree in economics, social sciences, community development or in any other relevant fields
Essential Professional Background:
- 2 to 3 years of experience in entrepreneurship development in the agricultural sector
- Organic production skills and experience in Agriculture
- Experience and proven competencies in community development, farmer facilitation and application of social science research
- Experience in pest and disease management
- Knowledge in value chain development
Thasano Rice Research and Seed Multiplication Center
The Thasano Rice Research and Seed Multiplication Center (TRSMC) is the main Center in the Central region of Lao PDR. It was established in 1998 and is located in the Savannakhet province. This Center is the network of the National Rice Research Programme under National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI). It plays an important role in the evaluation of segregating populations (F3 to F8) developed by the rice varieties improvement unit of Agriculture Research Center (ARC) and introduced from neighboring countries and IRRI. Selection is applied to these materials. So far nine (9) improved varieties of sticky and one (1). non glutinous are released. These varieties were introduced in many rain-fed and irrigated lowland areas in the province. The TRSMC produce the seeds of the improved varieties about 150-200MT per year which are distributed to farmers in Savannakhet and neighbor provinces.
Cuso International terms and conditions allow you to lead a modest and healthy lifestyle while being effective in your placement. This support package will cover basic living expenses for one volunteer and is not intended to cover home-based expenses (ex. loans, support payments, etc.) or luxury items such as imported items in placement or international personal travel.
- Modest monthly living allowance (varies depending country)
- Accommodation while in placement
- Return airfare and visa/work permit costs
- Cost of required vaccinations, antimalarial medication and health insurance
- Pre-departure training and in-country orientation
- Travel and accommodation for reintegration debriefing weekend
- Modest support for accompanying partners and dependents going on placement with you for 12 months or longer (Return flight, emergency medical insurance, vaccinations)
- Access to Employee Assistance Program while in placement and upon return
- Cuso International assessment day (Candidates must cover the first $200 of the most cost-effective travel expenses and all accommodation costs).
- Travel and accommodation for the five-day pre-departure training course and for in-country orientation
We ask each volunteer, regardless of placement length, to raise $2,000. All volunteers receive support from Cuso International to help achieve the goal through fundraising. If the volunteer chooses not to fundraise or is unable to achieve the fundraising goal, he/she can make a one-time donation or become a monthly donor to support our work.
Depending on the nature of the placement, volunteers are encouraged to provide e-volunteering support to the local partner or Cuso International before or after the field placement. Volunteers also have the option of requesting support from an e-volunteer to help them with their work while they are in placement.
Residency and Citizenship
The majority of Cuso International volunteer applicants are residing in Canada at the time of application and during the pre-departure process. Occasionally we received applications from volunteer applicants who are residing outside of Canada at the time of application. In both instances, between your application date and placement start date, we must be able to contact you and you must be able to contact us easily and promptly throughout the process.
We may require your passport and would need to be aware of your current place of residence and any travel plans you may have during this time. You will also require unrestricted access to Canada during this time for assessment and training, as applicable.
Leaving your country of residence can have significant effects on your citizenship status in that country. It is your responsibility to research the consequences of travelling to Canada during the pre-departure process if you are living outside of Canada and of leaving your country of residence for a placement with the immigration authority where you live.
By applying to this placement, you accept full responsibility for any consequences related to your citizenship, residency and immigration status or penalties as a result of travel to an assessment day, training course, international placement or other Cuso International related travel.
You must check the implications that apply to you, but examples include:
- Canadian permanent residents may need to make arrangements with immigration authorities before travelling. These arrangements allow them to travel without risk to their status in Canada. Without them, residency status may be withdrawn.
- Citizens of other countries, including those visiting Canada on a visa, may have travel restrictions.