Ag & Forestry Extension Agent-Linking Income Food & Environment (LIFE)
Volunteers who have served in Zambia consider it to be the "quintessential Peace Corps" experience due to the rural, traditional communities where Volunteers are placed, the warmth and friendliness of the Zambian people, and the supportive professional environment in which they work.
Volunteers serving in Zambia under the Linking Income, Food, and Environment (LIFE) project have an opportunity to identify host country community counterparts to collaboratively work with rural communities to boost their food and nutrition security with sustainable agriculture while working to protect one of Zambia’s greatest resources: the forests that cover more than two-thirds of Zambia’s land area.
Volunteers focus on working side by side with host country counterparts in building the capacity of rural community members to be food secure in ways that do not destroy natural resources. Volunteers also work with community partners to promote the incorporation of agroforestry technologies in the farming system, help to enhance soil and water management practices, and highlight useful gardening and tree planting techniques. They provide training in basic business skills, such as planning, record keeping, and marketing for farmers who are interested in scaling up their activities. Volunteers and local counterparts work together to co-promote increase dietary diversity by conducting trainings and cooking demonstrations at the household level.
The most successful Volunteers in Zambia are extremely flexible and adaptable and have a passion for supporting host community members in building upon established strengths by offering their knowledge and skills in service of community-prioritized projects. Peace Corps Zambia offers exceptional technical training during pre-service training for those with the motivation to learn about the Environment and Food Security.
Please note that the Government of Zambia requires all Volunteers to be holders of a College Degree upon arrival in the country. If you have not completed your degree at the time of departure, you will not be able to serve in Zambia.
Peace Corps Zambia promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in your country and you will also have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.
Climate Change Activities
As the impacts of climate change become ever more evident, the social, economic, and environmental context within which smallholder farmers seek to maintain and improve their livelihood and support their families will continue to change. This will add significantly to the challenges of smallholder farming, particularly for the most disadvantaged communities. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will be trained to use a participatory approach and tools to identify locally determined priorities and conditions, including those related to the impacts of climate change. As an Agriculture Volunteer, you will be trained to use this local knowledge in engaging smallholder farmers in a climate-smart approach that:
• promotes the adoption of improved, appropriate, and adaptive agricultural practices and technologies that sustainably increase productivity;
• builds and strengthens household resilience by integrating and diversifying existing and new agriculture-related income-generating opportunities; and
• reduces greenhouse gas emissions attributable to ineffective and carbon intensive farming practices and encourages adoption of agricultural practices and activities that sequester carbon.
COVID-19 Volunteer Activities
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.
Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working in agriculture and:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
The most competitive candidates will have one or more of the following:
-Degree in Environmental Education, Environmental Studies, Natural Resources, Forestry, Agronomy, or Horticulture
-Experience in organizing/leading environmental education activities
-Experience promoting environmental awareness in schools and communities
-1 to 3 years farm, forestry, or nursery management experience
-5 years professional work experience
Required Language Skills
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. Please take a moment to explore the Language Comments section below to find out more on how local language(s) will be utilized during service.
While English is the official language of Zambia, Volunteers will need to speak the local language in order to effectively communicate in their communities. Very few community members may have intermediate or advanced levels of English, most will not. Therefore, Volunteers will be most effective when conversing and working in the local language and all Trainees must come prepared to learn a local Zambian language during pre-service training (PST). Trainees are provided with a comprehensive language immersion program throughout their service. Initially, they will receive three months of language instruction from native speakers in the predominant language spoken at the site they will be placed in and will be required to attain communication skills in listening and speaking. They will also receive a survival language kit for the dialect found in their site and encouraged to engage the services of a tutor once they get to their site.
Becoming an Agriculture and Forestry Agent in Zambia requires commitment to working in remote areas with mentally and physically challenging environments. Volunteers must be prepared to bike long distances (up to 12 miles in one direction) and to work and live in rural Zambian settings. Houses are typically made of mud bricks, with cemented floors, thatched or tin roofs, and no electricity. Water will be from a nearby well or stream, which is then filtered through a Peace Corps-issued water filter. Cell phone call coverage may be weak or not exist at your site, but all Volunteers are able to send or receive a text message.
Volunteers typically live on a large housing compound with two or three other families, but have their own housing structure, cooking area, private washing area, and latrine. Volunteers may choose to share meals with their host neighbors or cook on their own.
Peace Corps Zambia supports its Volunteers in this uniquely rural environment through a strong regional office model. In each province where Volunteers serve, PC/Zambia operates a Provincial Office, which is staffed year-round and serves as a resource center for work collaboration and training. Further, having Peace Corps Staff and resources nearby allows for more comprehensive and timely support of volunteers, especially in terms of their health and safety, which are Peace Corps' top priorities.
Volunteers may face challenges due to various aspects of their identity. This could be due to ethnicity, race, physical attributes, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or other traits. There are peer support networks and diversity trainings in place for assistance in navigating these challenges.
For Volunteers, the range of responses to their skin color may vary greatly: from being mistaken for a host country national to being questioned about their citizenship. Some Zambians may expect all U.S. citizens to be white. These encounters can be turned into positive intercultural exchanges for the Volunteer and the host country national.
Many countries have restrictive cultures in regard to sexual orientation and non-conforming gender identities. While people in Zambia are generally accepting, values and morals concerning sexual orientation and gender identity may be different from those in some parts of the U.S. Volunteers will need to implement a high degree of discretion, be mindful of cultural norms, and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during pre-service training and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees. While LGBTQ plus Volunteers are welcomed within Peace Corps Zambia, and many have served here successfully, it is recommended that applicants review State Department cautions for LGBTQ travelers, and be aware that it is an environment that requires caution.
All Volunteers should be mindful of the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in the Peace Corps context. You will receive training on intercultural competence, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility during your Peace Corps training and encouraged to be an ally to your fellow Volunteers.
Serving in Zambia
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Zambia: 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 are welcome. Your partner must apply to the following position in Zambia:
Agriculture Extension Agent-Rural Aquaculture Promotion (RAP)
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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