Projects in Ecuador
Ecuador has made the improvement of English teaching part of their educational reform, to develop student skills to live in their local communities, and to take a more proactive role as world citizens. The country has identified the importance of English language as a tool to equip individuals to understand people and cultures beyond linguistic and geographic boundaries. The Ministry of Education is also seeking to align the curriculum to international standards, such as the Common European Framework of Reference: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR), and implementing the most recognized Communicative Approach to language teaching and learning.
Through the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) project, Peace Corps signed an Agreement to collaborate with the Ministry of Education’s national priorities and is proudly supporting Ecuador’s efforts to help students in public high schools develop communication skills in English. These skills are important to access academic and professional opportunities to contribute to the development of the country. A few TEFL volunteers have also been working with underserved Ecuadorean students and professors in public universities.
A TEFL Volunteer will support the following goals:
- Increase the capacity of teachers to use general and English teaching skills more effectively,
- Increase capacity of teachers to use gender-equitable practices in the classroom,
- Increase English proficiency of English teachers (procedural English),
- Increase achievement of students in English, and
- Increase community involvement in the promotion of student learning.
You will spend much of your time working alongside Ecuadorian teachers to enhance their English teaching skills. You will follow a Team-Teaching approach with your Ecuadorian counterparts. You will plan your lessons together and will then co-teach those lessons together in the classroom. As a member of the school’s faculty, you should also expect to be fully integrated in the school, supporting, and participating in other activities alongside Ecuadorian colleagues.
As a TEFL Volunteer, you will work with your partners to carry out the following activities:
- Co-plan and co-teach to improve linguistic and methodological capacities to implement participatory activities that promote authentic communication and critical thinking.
- Train English teachers in new and current methodologies, subject content, and resource development, creating sustainable improvements in teaching and establishing learning tools.
- Enhance English language skills to make use of academic and technical resources published in English in the Universities
- Promote critical thinking within language classes to improve the quality of life and employment opportunities.
- Work with local teachers to design English teaching materials that are gender-equitable and relevant to students' lives.
- Create opportunities for professional development workshops promoting communicative language.
- Develop life skills classes or clubs for local youth.
- Organize and work with community groups to implement needs-based development projects.
- Offer English classes to community members.
As a TEFL Volunteer, you must be a dedicated teacher/teacher aid, committed to reaching out and serving teachers, students, and the community at large. This requires hard work, dedication, and lots of heart. By establishing respectful, responsible, and caring relationships with your host family, teachers, students, and other collaborators in your schools, you will also leave a lasting impression on all of them.
Globally, risk factors account for the loss of almost half of humanity’s healthy years of life. Additionally, many harmful habits are acquired early in life, and become serious health problems in adulthood. Reducing exposure to these risks would result in tremendous health benefits. Evidence has pointed to the importance of strengthening the health development of young people, allowing them to transition to adults with more skills to serve their communities in a productive way, stimulating economic growth.
Despite significant efforts and investment in public health, access to quality health services and practices has faced many barriers in Ecuador. It is critical to help Ecuadorians increase control over the determinants of their own health. This can include the application of various approaches in health promotion, building the knowledge, skills, and practices, while also modifying social, environmental, and economic conditions.
Health and Well-being (HW) Promoters encourage community members in rural and under-privileged areas of Ecuador to lead healthy lives. As an HW Volunteer, your role will primarily be to increase the knowledge and skills of youth to improve their health and well-being, through education and skills development for positive behavior change. Areas of focus include nutrition, physical activity, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health, and mental health. Additionally, you will increase the capacity of health care workers and other service providers to deliver health and life skills education, and the design of health projects to engage different stakeholders.
A HW Volunteer will support the following project goals:
- Increase the knowledge and skills of youth to improve their health and well-being through health and life skills education, and
- Increase the capacity of health care workers and other service providers in the community to provide health and life skills education.
You will collaborate with local partners to carry out the following activities:
- Cofacilitate health education, enabling youth and/or target population to adopt and practice positive behaviors.
- Using the Peace Corps’ Participatory Analysis for Community Action (PACA) methodology toolset with gender-sensitive lens, get to know your community and facilitate the implementation of participatory development actions, addressing priority public health issues and leveraging local resources.
- Promote healthy lifestyles throughout the life cycle among youth and/or target population through activities like nutrition counseling, cooking demonstrations, facilitating physical activity, and development of home and community gardens.
- Co-facilitate youth clubs and camps to provide culturally appropriate comprehensive health information for youth, raising awareness of STIs and HIV/AIDS prevention and other health challenges and opportunities, while building self-esteem and life skills.
- Train and advise health care workers and other service providers in the community, to facilitate youth clubs and camps, and improve access for youth to quality health services.
Partnering with a variety of governmental institutions, such as health clinics, and non-profit organizations, as a HW Volunteer you will apply a wide range of interests, knowledge about public health, and skills, working closely with counterparts, and community leaders to communicate with youth in a way that will lead them to develop long-lasting positive behaviors. Additional community partners may be developed over time from the various groups with whom you will interact at site and in your geographical area.
Youth in Development
Youth and their families in Ecuador face different vulnerabilities with significant social and economic consequences for their lives. Meaningful opportunities for youth to develop and apply their leadership, creativity, and other skills are limited. But with over a third of its population under 18 years old, youth have the potential to play an important role in tackling some of their country’s most pressing issues. Parents and caregivers, service providers, and community leaders could benefit greatly from seeing youth in Ecuador as positive agents of change in their communities. Through its National Development Plan (2021 – 2025), the Government of Ecuador will continue to invest in vulnerable populations, creating opportunities for youth, and nurturing an environment in which psychosocial risks are mitigated. Peace Corps is an enthusiastic partner and is supporting these efforts at the local level.
Volunteers in the Youth and Families Development (YFD) Project support youth to become healthy, productive, and civically engaged adults, through the following two goals:
- Youth will increase their knowledge and skills to improve their life skills and well-being; expand their opportunities for community engagement and increase their employability skills.
- Parents and caregivers will demonstrate increased support for positive youth development.
As a YFD Volunteer, you will collaborate with local partners on the following activities:
- Conduct assessments of communities to develop work plans, addressing priority issues and leveraging local resources for youth and family development.
- Improve partners’ organizational capabilities through training and experiential activities, helping them to initiate and organize community development activities.
- Co-facilitate trainings for youth on life skills development and psychosocial risk prevention topics focusing on self-esteem, goal setting, decision making, positive communication, gender empowerment and equality, education for peace, alcohol and substance abuse awareness, and teen pregnancy prevention.
- Promote and implement physical activity, sports, and recreation as alternative outlets in which youth can exercise positive behaviors.
- Co-plan and facilitate youth participation in activities or events related to community service opportunities at the local level.
- Co-organize and facilitate youth groups that incorporate employability skills development, and vocational skills preparation.
- Co-organize youth clubs and camps focused on youth development related topics relevant for the Ecuadorian youth context.
- Co-design and implement projects and training for parental support focusing on positive parenting strategies and effective communication with the youth.
You will work in the community with a local counterpart, someone who is familiar with the strengths and needs of youth and families in the area. Our YFD Volunteers partner with governmental, non-governmental and international organizations whose primary mission is to serve youth and families who lack opportunities and basic resources to improve their quality of life. In every case, counterparts provide direction and support to the Volunteer. Additional community partners may be developed over time from the various groups with whom you will interact on site and in your geographical area.
As Peace Corps Volunteers in Ecuador, you will be assigned to a specific site throughout the country, in a wide variety of geographical and climatic settings. Volunteer assignments are community and institution based. Each assignment and each community are different and offer their own challenges and opportunities. When assigning Volunteers to sites, we take into consideration the needs of the community as well as our assessment of Volunteer skills and interests, but keep in mind that your primary responsibility is to serve whichever Ecuadorian community you are assigned.