Adolescent Health Promoter

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Peace Corps domestically and internationally.

The information provided for each assignment is subject to change, including the tentative departure date.

Project Description

Known as the Land of Many Waters, Guyana with its diverse culture and rich biodiversity is South America’s best kept secret.

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/Junior High school 5 days per week during their first year. During their second year, they work 4 days per week at the secondary school and 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 afterschool clubs and summer camps
• Partner with teachers, the Parent Teachers' Association (PTA) and/or healthcare workers to co-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
• Work with healthcare counterparts to increase awareness and access to services for Guyanese youth

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 Departments
• Ministry of the Presidency’s Department of Social Cohesion, Culture, Youth and Sports Regional Youth Officers
• Non-governmental organizations supporting youth

With the impact COVID has had on the Education sector in Guyana, Adolescent Health Promoters will be exposed to a larger number of students whose learning skills may be below the expected grade level. These students may have suffered learning loss due to limited access to technology and the internet as well as the consistent supply of learning materials.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working in the health sector with adolescents and one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
OR
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• 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. Primary Literacy Promoters receive training in Guyanese Creolese language and culture during Pre-Service Training, as well as a very limited introduction to the language spoken in their community. Emphasis is placed on self-directed, immersion language learning techniques to enhance Volunteers' ability to learn a local indigenous language in their community.

Living Conditions

Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America. It lies five degrees north of the Equator, and its climate is warm and tropical throughout the year. December to January and May to June are the rainy seasons. Guyana combines a Caribbean-flavored culture on the coast, featuring a mixture of Afro- and Indo-Guyanese influences, and a variety of indigenous cultures in the vast, forested hinterland in the interior.

Most of the population lives in a long narrow strip along the Atlantic Ocean stretching from Venezuela to Suriname. The open savannah and forests of the interior are dotted with small indigenous communities, some of whom still preserve their own language. The country is crisscrossed by myriad rivers, and transportation to and from the Volunteer’s community may involve a mix of minibus, hired car, small plane, motor boat, and canoe.

Adolescent Health Promoters live and work in villages and towns along the coast, and in rural and remote communities in the inner hinterlands 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.

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 the high heat and humidity of a tropical climate
• Use a latrine
• Wash clothes by hand in a bucket
• Live with limited or sporadic access to electricity, communication and internet
• Adapt to a diet with limited availability and seasonal variety of fresh fruits and vegetables
• Walk or ride a bike long distances (2 to 10 kilometers) over uneven terrain

While Peace Corps Volunteers of various gender expressions, gender identities and sexual orientations have served successfully in Guyana, it is important to note that Guyana has restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Adolescent Health Promoters 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 are available to provide support. They will address these topics during Pre-Service Training and identify support mechanisms to help those 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.

Adolescent Health Promoters who serve successfully in Guyana are open-minded, flexible, emotionally mature and very resilient. They deal well with ambiguity and isolation and are proactive in unstructured settings. They are culturally competent and show respect by following cultural norms.

Serving in Guyana

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

Couples Information

Guyana can accept couples serving together. Your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions:

Community Conservation Promoter
Primary Literacy Promoter

Following training, couples in Guyana will share living arrangements, but will have separate work sites. Couples will work at neighboring sites (not more than 30 minutes apart). Although a couple will live together in service, each individual is expected to work at their own school and encouraged to have their own Peace Corps experience.

During Pre-Service Training (first 10 weeks) couples could be required to live in separate villages/communities with separate host families, depending on their sectors. Following Pre-Service Training, the couple will be reunited and will then live together with a host family during the first five months at site. In that time, the couple will have their own bedroom in a single family home and share common living areas with family members, including the living room, kitchen/dining areas and bathroom or latrine. We cannot guarantee a particular type of living arrangement, and expect Adolescent Health Promoters and partners to be flexible and adaptable.

We strongly believe the Homestay program supports Volunteers’ safety and community integration. After the first five months of service, Volunteers may live in independent housing that meets Peace Corps Guyana’s safety and security criteria. Please note that independent housing may not be available in all communities and that some Volunteers may need to live with host families throughout their service.

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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