Adolescent Health Promoter

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Project Description

Peace Corps Guyana’s Health project aims to support Guyana’s National Adolescent Health Programme to improve adolescent health and well-being. The project dovetails with the Ministry of Public Health’s vision that “All people of Guyana are among the healthiest in the Caribbean and the Americas” by the year 2020 and is aligned with its strategy to build health literacy, and positive attitudes and behaviors that will lead to healthy life choices and sustain health throughout the life course.

Adolescent Health Promoters work in a secondary school 5 days per week during their first year. During their second year, they work approximately 4 days per week at the secondary school and approximately 1 day per week at a local healthcare facility. At the secondary school, they:

• Collaborate with teachers to co-plan lessons and co-deliver the Ministry of Education’s Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) curriculum to adolescents 10 – 14 years old
• Work with school staff and other work partners to co-develop and co-lead activities for youth in after school clubs and summer camps
• Partner with teachers, the PTA and/or healthcare workers to facilitate sessions with parents on strategies for communicating with youth
At the healthcare facility, they:
• Enhance the ability of healthcare workers to provide youth-friendly health services
• Collaborate with healthcare workers to increase youth awareness of and access to services offered

In implementing the Health project, Adolescent Health Promoters will likely collaborate with staff from a variety of agencies and organizations over the course of their service. These may include:
• Ministry of Education’s Health and Family Life Education Coordinator, Parent Teacher Association Coordinator, and Regional Education Department
• Ministry of Public Health’s Adolescent Health Unit, National AIDS Programme Secretariat, and Regional Health Department
• Ministry of Social Cohesion’s Department of Youth, Regional Youth Officers
• Non-governmental organizations supporting youth

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working in the health sector and one or more of the following criteria:

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

Preferred candidates for the position will have:

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree, or higher, in Public Health, Social Work, Anthropology, Biology or any other mental or physical health-related discipline
• Work or volunteer experience in health
• Secondary school classroom teaching experience
• Strong youth and adult facilitation skills
• Experience working with adolescents in clubs and/or camps
• Experience working in resource-limited environments

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

English is the official language, spoken by nearly all Guyanese including indigenous people in remote communities. Other languages include Guyanese Creolese (widely spoken), and nine indigenous languages including Macushi, Wapishana, and Patomona. Adolescent Health Promoters receive training in Guyanese Creolese language and culture during pre-service training, as well as a very limited introduction to the language spoken at their site, if needed. Emphasis will be placed on self-directed, immersion language learning techniques to enhance the ability to learn a local indigenous language at site, if desired (strongly encouraged).

Living Conditions

Adolescent Health Promoters live and work in villages and towns along the coast, and in rural and remote communities in the hinterland (interior) of Guyana. Large towns have power lines, communication infrastructure and running water, while many rural villages rely on solar panels, latrines and community wells. Cell phone and internet service is sporadic throughout the country.

Adolescent Health Promoters who live in remote locations will be issued satellite phones, if needed, for emergency communication, but may only have access to internet or cell phone service when they travel out of their communities once a month to shop and bank.

Transportation and living conditions vary, but Adolescent Health Promoters in all locations should have the ability to:

• Endure long rides on public transportation and over water
• Adjust to high heat and humidity of tropical climate
• Use a latrine
• Wash clothes by hand in a bucket
• Live with limited or sporadic access to electricity and internet
• Walk or ride a bike long distances (2 to 10 kilometers) over uneven terrain to facilitate community integration and social and cultural understanding

To assist with effective community integration, Adolescent Health Promoters live with a welcoming family during 10 weeks of pre-service training (early June – early August), and for the first five months at their assigned 2-year site (mid-August – mid-January). The Homestay is an integral part of the Peace Corps Guyana program which helps achieve the goal of intercultural exchange. The Volunteer will have a bedroom in a single family home and share common living areas with family members, including living room, kitchen/dining areas and bathroom or latrine. The family helps prepare the Volunteer to serve safely and productively in their community by supporting their understanding of cultural norms, introducing them to fellow community members and teaching them about day- to-day life.

While Peace Corps Volunteers of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity have served successfully in Guyana, it is important to note that Guyana has restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers will need to be mindful of Guyanese law and cultural norms, and use their best judgment to determine how to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in the country and within their host communities. Peace Corps Guyana staff and currently-serving Volunteers will address this topic during pre-service training and identify support mechanisms to help Volunteers who may experience a lack of openness and acceptance during their service. Please refer to the Local Laws and Special Circumstances of the U.S. Department of State’s travel page for more information.

Those who serve successfully in Guyana are open-minded, flexible, emotionally mature and resilient. They deal well with ambiguity and isolation and are communicative and proactive in their work setting. They are culturally competent and show respect by following cultural norms.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Guyana: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Guyana can accommodate couples within the same sector and in different sectors. Therefore, your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following:

Primary Literacy Promoter
Adolescent Health Promoter
Community Conservation Promoter

Peace Corps Guyana will place couples at neighboring sites (not more than 30 minutes apart). Although a couple will share living arrangements, each individual is expected to work in his/her own school and community and is strongly encouraged to have his/her own Peace Corps experience.

Couples will be placed together with a host family during pre-service training (first 10 weeks) and during the first five months at site. We strongly believe the host family option supports Volunteers’ safety and community integration. The host family situation is typically one bedroom within a family’s home.

We cannot guarantee a particular type of living arrangement, and expect Volunteers to be flexible and adaptable. After the first five months of service, Volunteers may live in independent housing that meets Peace Corps Guyana’s safety and security criteria. Independent housing is however not available in all communities.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.

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