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All MCC workers are expected to exhibit a commitment to: a personal Christian faith and discipleship; active church membership; and nonviolent peacemaking.
MCC is an equal opportunity employer, committed to employment equity. MCC values diversity and invites all qualified candidates to apply.
Learning Facilitator in Mexico City, Mexico
Date Opened:July 13, 2012
Start Date:Available Now
The MCC Mexico Learning Facilitator works with the MCC Representatives in Mexico, to specifically work with partners, MCC workers and learning tour participants on their respective learning agendas: planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting as well as institutional capacity building; sharing experiences, learning and struggles in the development field; peace and justice issues that are of importance to Mexicans, the church community and MCC’s partners. This position also includes helping with some administrative tasks in the office as needed.
1. Ability to understand, speak, read and write in English, with a minimum of an intermediate level of Spanish.
2. Preferably with a college/university degree in an area of Humanities or Social Science, or equivalent experience.
3. Strong relationship skills and willingness to accompany partners, fellow MCCers and learning tour participants in a variety of activities.
4. Knowledge of planning, monitoring and evaluation an asset, i.e. how to establish goals, objectives, activities etc.
5. Interest in advocacy issues and political analysis.
6. Experience and/or knowledge of the Latin American context.
7. Ability to work independently as well as in a team.
8. Ability to take initiative and to generate new ideas for possible activities or strategies.
9. Ability to use basic computer programs and internet.
10. Excellent organizational and communication skills required.
11. Willingness to become involved in a local Anabaptist church.
MCC has developed programming and placed personnel in Mexico continuously since 1985, following a request from the Colony Mennonites and Mexico City Mennonites to help with disaster relief after the 1985 earthquake. After completing the relief project in the state of Jalisco, MCC began work in the region of “La Montaña” in Guerrero in 1992 which recently drew to a close. Work in Guerrero was focussed on appropriate technology for coping with water scarcity, agriculture and community organisation. In Chiapas, MCC supports work towards religious tolerance, peace, community development, and justice in San Cristóbal de las Casas. MCC also maintains relationships with Mennonite groups and churches in Mexico through the Mennonite church conference of Mexico City (CIEAMM), the IAMUM (Iglesias Anabautistas Menonitas Unidas de México), an umbrella association for all the Anabaptist Conferences in Mexico, and coordinating relationships with Mennonites in Chihuahua (some of whom are Low German speaking). MCC supports a number of peace and development organizations in Mexico City that work nationally on peace issues and alternatives to the violence currently affecting Mexico. In addition, MCC Mexico has 3-5 SALT/YAMEN positions advertised each year, in seconding positions with community development or education programs and projects.
MCC Mexico currently relates to 8 different partners. There is an average of fifteen MCC service workers in the country.
MCC Mexico values fostering opportunities to learn from our experience and as such is opening a Learning Facilitator’s position for the first time in order to build communities of practice. As part of the Keystone Survey process that MCC participates in worldwide, MCC Mexico partners communicated a desire to receive more accompaniment in terms of planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting (PME&R), as well as being able to share their learnings and challenges amongst one another. In response to this MCC Mexico established two objectives to be met that continue to foster our partnerships with local organizations: they include providing more capacity building and accompaniment in PME&R, and facilitating an annual partner meeting on a topic of common interest. In July 2012 the theme will be “Building shalom: How we do advocacy”. In addition, we believe that MCC Mexico’s work will be strengthened by having someone who follows important justice issues in the country, and is able to add this analysis to the planning and carrying out of our work, and can facilitate spaces and ways of sharing amongst team members in this regard. One vision is to think about how learning can be more intentional for all service workers, but especially for SALT/YAMEN participants, with possibilities to build on materials that have already been designed and used by MCC Brazil. This can also serve as important background information to be included in the learning component of learning tours that come to Mexico or go from Mexico to other places.
The Learning Facilitator is involved in five different areas of the overall functions carried out by the MCC Mexico office.
1. Review and process plans, reports and memos of understanding with all partner organizations.
2. Plan and facilitate an annual partner meeting.
3. Take responsibility for organizing learning tours and other occasional visits from outside and inside of Mexico, often with the help of another MCC service worker although sometimes alone,
4. Support MCC Mexico advocacy work,
5. Work with MCC reps to accompany MCC service workers (especially SALT participants) in their adaptation process upon arriving in Mexico, and ongoing reflection on their time here both individually and as part of the team.
The Learning Facilitator will be directly responsible to the MCC country representatives in Mexico.
MCC workers currently live in Mexico City (two in addition to the reps), Nuevas Casas Grandes, Chihuahua (two), Durango (two) and San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas (four adults and two children). The Learning Facilitator position will require some travel to visit the partners and team members in these regions.
a) Review and process (enter into the MCC planning program) MCC partner plans, reports and memos of understandings.
b) Visit partner organizations and their projects to understand their work better and work with them on plans and reports as needed.
c) Identify common themes upon which to base an annual partner meeting, then organize and facilitate this meeting.
d) Follow advocacy/justice themes of interest to MCC Mexico, and write about them as needed, in collaboration with the regional policy analyst. Be ready to share insights with the MCC Mexico team, individual team members and MCC Mexico partners with a view to facilitating more holistic projects and planning.
e) Participate with the representative in promoting advocacy work with the Anabaptist churches in Mexico.
f) Maintain a relationship with a network of advocacy organizations in Mexico to which MCC relates, which include, but are not limited to, ¡SiPaz!, CORECO, El Observatorio Ecclesial, ELCA Immersion Programs in Mexico City, Casa de Los Amigos.
g) Help to organize the orientation process for new MCC Mexico service workers (especially SALTers).
h) Be available to accompany MCC service workers (especially SALTers) in diverse activities, particularly during their first year.
i) Plan learning activities and encounters for MCC service workers for both individual and group learning, taking especial advantage of the team meeting platform. Creativity on how a community of practice can be created and maintained in other ways is encouraged.
j) Organize and accompany learning tours (LT) or Work and Learn Teams (WALT), either with another MCC service worker or alone. This implies: maintaining dialogue with the North American (WA)LT organizer, planning and coordinating the (WA)LT itinerary, organizing the logistical aspects of the (WA)LT, accompanying the (WA)LT group throughout the experience, providing translation during the (WA)LT, helping to lead some reflection spaces during the (WA)LT as needed. MCC Mexico typically hosts one to two ten-day Work and Learn Teams or Learning Tours per year.
k) Participate in MCC Mexico team meetings and retreats. There are three team meetings a year. There is also a regional retreat for all staff in Mesoamerica held every 18 months.
l) Submit plans and reports to the MCC Mexico representatives, according to the requirements of MCC’s planning system.
m) Participate in the life and worship of a local church, preferably Mennonite.
The Learning Facilitator lives in Mexico City, a bustling city of over 20 million people, the center of most of the country's commercial and political life. The city's ample public transportation system includes a metro (the metro alone transports 5,000,000 people per day), buses, combis, and taxis which are readily available and affordable. The city is built at an altitude of 2200 meters, giving it an almost perfect climate. It can get cool during the winter months of December through February and warmer during the months of April-May. The rainy season is from about June or July through October. There is a wide variety of public and private schools available for children. Health services, technology, and communication resources are readily available as well.
Although Mexico City has much to offer, one also must note that there are limited resources and opportunities for a vast number of its residents. Adults and children do work at many intersections with stoplights. Government help for whom society is disabling and the elderly is severely lacking. Many neighborhoods lack basic services of potable water and access to sanitation. The number of students applying to UNAM, the national public university of 300,000 students, greatly outnumbers the spots available, therefore limiting the possibility of higher education for many.
Mexico as a country is 60% Mestizo (Indian/Spanish), 30% Amerindian, and 9% Caucasian, with the indigenous populations concentrated in Guerrero, Chiapas and Oaxaca. The indigenous people are generally marginalized with less access to government and other services. It is primarily Catholic (89% Catholic and 6% Protestant), although the state of Chiapas has close to 40% evangelicals. Spanish is the most spoken language, although there are 62 living languages in Mexico.
Travel distances in Mexico are large and most direct buses between cities travel overnight.
Living in a mega city also implies coping with crowds, noise, traffic and pollution. As well, it means adjusting to the idea that it can take up to two and a half hours to travel to some places within the city, although this experience will not be common. Most travel within Mexico City for MCC will be up to an hour and a half away. Large open spaces are difficult to come by, although there are green spaces everywhere and lots of exercise options if you are willing to look and/or be creative.
Absolutely anything can be found in Mexico City, from rooibos tea to friends and spiritual directors, but actually finding what you are looking for can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, so be ready to persevere and be a sleuth.
Frequently the news about Mexico is focused on violence, the drug wars, and massacres. A challenge then is how to talk with family, friends and others from one’s home community, as well as the constituency in Canada and the US about Mexico in a way that they can appreciate that Mexico is much more than the news, and that the violence can mostly be avoided (during the current MCC Mexico representatives’ term no MCC workers have had to witness, nor be victims of, the violence or any other petty crimes).
Since this is a new position, it may take some time to define clearly what roles and responsibilities fall directly within the sphere of the Learning Facilitator, and which fall directly within the purview of the representatives. On the other hand, this also presents an opportunity to design a program towards the future. Also, there is a policy analyst for the whole Latin America/Caribbean Department and some negotiation may be necessary to figure out how these two positions compliment one another. However, there is already an MCC Mexico advocacy plan which will help to give direction.