Agriculture and Forestry Extension

Project Description

By working alongside the people of The Gambia, Volunteers serving as Community Gardening and Agroforestry Facilitators will have the opportunity to contribute to/ support local efforts to improve food security in rural communities through partnering with counterparts and community members to implement these core activities: 

• Co-creating tree nurseries and tree planting using promising techniques, and assist with the establishment of woodlots and orchards
• Collaborating with women's groups or village development committees to promote new and improved gardening and vegetable production techniques
• Educational exchange with farmers on beekeeping
• Support smallholder farmer's, particularly women and youth seeking to increase capacity
• Partner with community members to improve the diversity, productivity and/or sustainability of their agricultural production
• Partner with community members on effective and appropriate approaches for generating agriculture-related income
• Support household decision makers seeking to increase the dietary diversity of their household

The Gambia has a short rainy season (3-4 months) and a long dry season. Most traditional agricultural activities are done during the short rainy season. The project plan explores with local farmers, strategies for establishing and supporting dry season vegetable gardens and tree nurseries.

Volunteers will have a unique opportunity to partner with farmers to identify the applicable techniques from rainy season farming and to identify emerging techniques for dry season farming.

Malnutrition is a concern in The Gambia, especially among children and pregnant women. In addition to partnering with farmers to address this challenge by implementing nutrition-sensitive agricultural projects, Volunteers will work alongside mothers and children to improve nutrition education within their community.

Volunteers will have an opportunity to learn from farmers about the role of beekeeping in their communities.   Bees are essential for pollination and thus enhance gardening and farming efforts. Additionally, products made from beekeeping can be a source of income, and this income also inspires the new beekeepers to protect existing trees and woodlots which house the hives.

Peace Corps The Gambia promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers will receive training on gender challenges in the country and will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate.

During service, Volunteers will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. 

As part of their work, Volunteers will monitor and report on their efforts and impact.

Peace Corps enjoys a long and positive history with The Gambia. The first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in 1967, and since then over 1,800 Volunteers have worked with Gambian men and women to make a lasting impact on their communities.

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 agriculture 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

Experience in any of the following areas is preferred:
• Gardening
• Tree nurseries and tree planting
• Beekeeping
• Environmental education
• Subsistence farming
• Poultry
• Working with youth on agricultural activities

Required Language Skills

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

While the official language of The Gambia is English, Volunteers are expected to learn the predominant local language of the village to which they will be assigned. Instruction in a local language will be provided during Pre-Service Training. Volunteers will work with many counterparts that may not speak English fluently, so it is extremely important to understand and be able to communicate in the local language.

Living Conditions

Most Volunteers are assigned to remote, rural communities, without electricity, where transportation can be infrequent and unreliable. Volunteers typically live in simple, private quarters on the property of a host family for your entire service. Houses in rural areas are usually made of mud block and are round with thatched roofs. They are generally situated in or near a family compound which contains several other such houses. Volunteers have a private pit latrine, and will likely need to fetch water from the village water source, up to 300 yards away. You may need to walk or bike up to 3 miles to access public transportation and up to 6 miles to a larger town for shopping. All incoming Volunteers are placed in rural environments.
There are a few internet cafes in some of the larger towns, but access is slow, patchy and depends on unreliable electricity. There is internet access at the Peace Corps office near the capital, the Peace Corps Training Center in Massembeh, and in the transit houses on either side of the country. Communication between staff and Volunteers, as well as among Volunteers, is mainly by phone and text (you will receive a simple cell phone for local texting and calling on arrival if you do not bring your own).
Many vegetarians have managed to maintain a healthy diet here. However, as the supply and range of vegetables in the country is limited, this can present challenges and requires some flexibility. It is very difficult for Volunteers to persist with a vegan diet throughout their service.

The Gambia is a small country. Contact between Staff and Volunteers is high and this is appreciated by the Volunteer community.

The Gambia has some restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms and country-specific laws, and use their best judgment to determine how to approach topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and the country as a whole. Staff will address this topic during Pre-Service Training, and identify support mechanisms available for incoming trainees and Volunteers throughout service.

Serving in The Gambia

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in The Gambia: 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

The Gambia can accommodate couples where one person serves in the Health sector and the other serves in the Agriculture sector. Therefore, your partner must qualify and apply for:

Community Health Facilitator

Couples will live and serve together in a common site that might be in either a larger community or in a village where one would primarily work in a neighboring village.

The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process recruiters and placement officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities. For more information please visit: https://www.peacecorps.gov/faqs/lgbtq/.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.


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