Change Yourself…Change The World.

Peace Corps: What I Did, Yo.
July 20, 2013, 9:00 am
Filed under: Paraguay

Are you interested in reading about every project I’ve done as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay? Well, in an attempt to be as transparent as possible about my service, and additionally create a space where potential job opportunities/graduate schools/future networking possibilities can read about my projects in a formal and professional format, I’ve posted my official ‘Description of Service’ on my website! (Want formal and profesh? Check out this blog title, yo. This is my attempt to be lighthearted in this straight-laced post. You probably got that though. I don’t know why I’m still talking.)

‘What’s a Description of Service?’ you may ask. It is an account of all of the projects and activities I did as a Peace Corps Trainee and Volunteer in Paraguay from May 26th, 2011 to July 5th, 2013. This is an official document that is archived in the Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington D.C. for a period of 60 years after completion of service. It was reviewed by my primary boss, Associate Peace Corps Director Elisa Echague of the Community Economic Development Sector, and reviewed and signed by the Country Director of Peace Corps Paraguay, Emily Untermeyer.

The document spans three pages, so it’s quite long. But, it’s something I’m excited and proud to share. If you’re interested in reading about all of the projects I’ve done as a Volunteer, head on over to my newly created page, My Description of Service.

Or, if you’re feeling too lazy to click (I get that way all the time sometimes), I’ve also just copy/pasted it below. Happy reading!

Description of Peace Corps Service

Brittany Ann Boroian

Republic of Paraguay 2011-2013

After a competitive application process stressing technical skills, motivation, adaptability, and cross-cultural understanding, Peace Corps invited Ms. Boroian to serve as a Community Economic Development Volunteer in the South American nation of Paraguay.

Pre-service training

Ms. Boroian began an intensive 10-week Pre-Service Training on May 26th, 2011 in Guarambare, a small sugar-processing center located 45 minutes south of the capital, Asunción. The program consisted of language training, technical skills training on Community Economic Development, and Common Areas training. As part of the technical training, Ms. Boroian spent time preparing and delivering sessions where techniques were observed and critiqued by Paraguayan trainers and local guests.

Training program included:

  • 120 hours of formal Language training of spoken and written Spanish and Guaraní.
  • 90 hours of Common Areas training which encompasses cultural adaptation, introduction to development, safety and security, and health training
  • 183 hours of technical skills training and field based activities to promote increased economic opportunities, leadership skills, and capacity building with individuals and groups in their communities
  • In addition, as part of the language and cross-cultural component of the training program, Ms. Boroian lived with a Paraguayan family for 10 weeks.


On August 5th, 2011, Ms. Boroian completed training and was sworn-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. She was assigned to Caazapá, a medium-sized city in the department of Caazapá, roughly 300 km Southeast of Asunción. Spanish is spoken there, although women and children frequently use Guarani, the national native language, for daily life.

Primary Projects/Activities

During her first year Ms. Boroian worked on a range of projects within her community. In her placement with the cooperative Ycua Bolaños, she primarily worked with its Production Department in offering marketing and sales strategy seminars to women’s commission groups. Ms. Boroian also participated in a variety of micro-finance trainings with the cooperative’s micro-finance consultant, and offered resources and suggestions to better promote their loan product. During her second year, Ms. Boroian assisted the Production Department by undertaking a sales analysis for their honey products. Additionally, she improved the entrance display, which enabled them to make smarter purchases and increase their sales. Ms. Boroian also aided in investigating new markets outside of Caazapá by researching different market segments for their product and connecting them to two national distribution companies.

Outside of the cooperative, Ms. Boroian was invited by two local high schools and one university to teach four Construye tus Sueños coursesa youth micro-entrepreneurship curriculum developed by Peace Corps, to over 100 students. At the culmination of the university course, Ms. Boroian held a local business plan competition, enabling the top two students to attend Paraguay Emprende, a national youth business program designed and implemented by Peace Corps Paraguay. Ms. Boroian worked with Servicio Nacional de Promoción Profesional (SNPP) to certify the course, enabling her students to be accredited in any South American country under MERCOSUR.  Ms. Boroian additionally consulted with a number of small businesses in Caazapá, including a local grocery store, confectionary shop, weight loss program, and a TV station.

While Ms. Boroian concentrated mainly on entrepreneurship and economic development in her service, she also worked on a number of leadership activities. Ms. Boroian helped form a local entrepreneurship network with four Paraguayan youth, with the intention of job creation and building leadership through entrepreneurial activities for the community. Ms. Boroian also was an active leader in the Boy and Girl Scouts Group in Caazapá, where she helped facilitate weekly leadership and self-esteem activities. Furthermore, Ms. Boroian attended and brought two youth to both Jóvenes por Paraguay leadership camps (a Community Economic Development national workshop promoting self-esteem and leadership that inspires, equips, and mobilizes youth to work on community projects).

Ms. Boroian  was an active member of her sector’s national initiative, Jóvenes Empresarios del Paraguay, (now Paraguay Emprende), a youth business program designed and implemented by Peace Corps Paraguay’s Community Economic Development Volunteers. As Project Manager of the initiative, Ms. Boroian coordinated the efforts of over twenty-five Volunteers to put on the first national business plan competition as well as a national business case competition, both monetized at over $20,000. Through the yearlong initiative, over 400 Paraguayan youth attended the business course Construye tus Sueños, 30 viable business plans were created, and 10 start-ups were launched in Paraguay. She additionally brought 7 Paraguayans in total from Caazapá to the national events. Ms. Boroian’s main roles in the project were in team strategy, partner acquisition, and working with a team to fundraise over $10,000. Ms. Boroian helped to acquire partnerships with two prominent Paraguayan organizations that provide funding and contacts for current and future events, so as to sustain their operations long after her departure.

Secondary Projects/Activities

Although officially assigned as a Community Economic Development Volunteer, Ms. Boroian worked on a variety of secondary projects.  In her first few months of service she organized a tree-planting project with a local agricultural school, enabling Paraguayan youth to plant over 100 trees in a community conservation center in Caazapá. Ms. Boroian additionally collaborated with neighboring Volunteers to create a half-hour weekly TV program on Caazapá’s local network,Causa Común, where they discussed topics related to farming, blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, biodigesters, family finance, nutrition, entrepreneurship, dental health, parasite prevention, self-esteem, and other affiliated subjects.

Ms. Boroian taught seven English as a Second Language classes during her service to various groups of adults and children. She taught these classes in a variety of institutions, including the local cooperative, a teacher’s institute, and a local primary and middle school. She used the classes to increase the student’s knowledge of the language and culture by utilizing interactive American games, prizes, and stories from the United States. Ms. Boroian organized activities to raise cultural awareness of the United States in the grade school as well through a pen pal exchange program with a 6th grade class in Florida, and a visit from her parents and sister. Ms. Boroian helped advance the job prospects of one student who applied to three positions that required English. She helped him study for the TEFL and proofread his resume, cover letters, and application materials for each job.

Ms. Boroian taught a variety of classes during her service to various groups of adults and children. Through the Peace Corps Paraguay program Ahecha, a participatory photography project, Ms. Boroian helped bring a new life perspective through the guided use of cameras to adults in her community. She gave drum set lessons to a group of students at a local music school, teaching them to both play and sight read.  At a local primary school, Ms. Boroian held a school-wide recycling competition with fellow Peace Corps Volunteers in her regional nucleus to educate Paraguayan youth on the importance of recycling. She awarded the two classes that produced the best results a 4-month World Cultures class. Through this course, Ms. Boroian promoted the importance of service to her students by creating and painting a world map with them for the school. She additionally increased their knowledge of world geography and regions of the world such as India, Kenya, and the United States with cultural activities, movies depicting the countries, and cooking local food for them to try.

Ms. Boroian was as an active member of the Kuatia ñe’e, a tri-annual Peace Corps Paraguay magazine, where she contributed articles and worked as layout editor. She also published a number of articles about life in Paraguay in Vida de Latinos, a South American magazine, Pink Pangea, a women’s travel community, and her widely-read blog, brittanygoesglobal. These articles gave detailed accounts of Paraguayan culture and customs, achieving Peace Corp’s third goal of helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Language Skills

Ms. Boroian has achieved an advanced high competency level in Spanish at the end of her service.  She effectively used Spanish to communicate in her work at school, with her colleagues, community contacts, and in daily life. In addition, Ms. Boroian was also able to learned basic Guarani, which she used at the marketplace, with friends in her community who possessed limited or no Spanish skills.

Ms. Boroian completed her Peace Corps service in Paraguay on July 5th, 2013.

Pursuant to section 5(f) of the Peace Corps Act 22 U.S.C 2504 (f) as amended, any former volunteer employed by the United States Government following her Peace Corps Volunteer service is entitled to have any period of satisfactory Peace Corps Volunteer service credited for purposes of retirement, seniority, reduction in force, leave and other privileges based on length of federal government service. Peace Corps service shall not be credited toward completion of the probationary or trial period or completion of any service requirement for career appointment.

This is to certify in accordance with Executive Order No. 11103 of 10 April 1963, that Brittany Ann Boroian served satisfactorily as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Her service in Paraguay ended on July 5th, 2013. She is therefore eligible to be appointed as a career-conditional employee in the competitive civil service on a non-competitive basis. This benefit under the Executive Order entitlement extends for a period of one year after termination of the Volunteer’s service, except that the employing agency may extend that period for up to three years for a former Volunteer who enters military service, pursues studies at a recognized institution of higher learning, or engages in other activities that, in the view of the appointing authority, warrant extension of the period.

Signed by the Country Director of Peace Corps Paraguay, Emily Untermeyer, on July 5th, 2013. 

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