Since 1961, hundreds of thousands of Volunteers have served communities all over the world. These Volunteers arrived in their host countries with great skill, education, and enthusiasm. At the end of their tours, they return to the United States with experience, wisdom, and passion. Many of these Volunteers have gone on to remarkable careers in politics, international development, and myriad other industries and sectors of our society.
Prior to Volunteers’ arrival and throughout their service, the Peace Corps has had limited tools at its disposal to train and provide on-going technical and community support to Volunteers and overseas staff. To compensate, Volunteers and overseas staff have established ad-hoc online spaces using a variety of freely available technologies to share knowledge, collect information, and collaborate on projects.
The agency attempted to address this need in 2005. After reviewing the results of an online collaboration survey (May - August 2005), conducting an analysis of agency policies, procedures, and technology (August 2005 - May 2006), and awarding a procurement contract for platform development, the agency began beta testing GURU in March 2007. GURU was an online collaboration tool that enabled the sharing of successful practices via discussion forums, FAQs, documents, and a searchable directory of advice.
After a successful pilot, GURU began being used by staff worldwide. Over the next 4 years, utilization of the platform dropped amid complaints of confusing architecture, poor search functionality, and accessibility problems at Posts. In 2009, two agency committees explored launching an alternative platform, Global Online Village. Due to a lack of consensus on technology (open source versus licensed) and budgetary requirements, the initiative was ultimately abandoned. In spring 2011, the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) decommissioned GURU without any replacement and all files were transferred to the agency’s shared drive.
In 2012, the effort to create knowledge-sharing and information exchange platform was revived. The Office of Overseas Programming and Training Support (OPATS) led the effort working closely with OCIO and soft-launched the new platform in September 2013 under its new name, PCLive. It was decided by leadership that the launch was premature and further development was needed.
Since March 2014, PCLive has been completely re-designed. The mandate, purpose, mission, vision, and core values have guided the development of PCLive and will remain at its core going forward.
Enable seamless communication and collaboration for all Volunteers and staff by modernizing and integrating information technology systems and leveraging the innovation of Volunteers and staff in the field (Strategic Objective 10 | Peace Corps Strategic Plan).
Increase the percentage of Volunteers who report that they use the digital materials provided by the Peace Corps in their work. PCLive is the Peace Corps’ primary knowledge and information exchange platform for Volunteers and staff (Performance Goal 10.2 | Peace Corps Strategic Plan).