Agriculture Extension Agent

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Ghana is one of the friendliest and most peaceful countries in West Africa. Ghana is known for her stable democracy, forward-looking development, beautiful beaches, rich culture, and hospitable people. Ghana is a diverse country with different tribes and over 70 languages throughout the ten regions, co-existing harmoniously. Welcoming visitors is a point of cultural identity. Hosting visitors is the ultimate expression of Ghanaian culture. Acknowledging the presence of another human being by greeting them, honors their existence. In the local communities, visitors will be welcomed into families and quickly be made to feel at home. Ghana is Peace Corps’ oldest post, hosting nearly 5,000 volunteers since the Agency’s first cohort departed in 1961.

The Agriculture project has 3 objectives:
(1) Increasing smallholder farmers’ capacity to improve the diversity, productivity and/or sustainability of their agricultural production.
(2) Increasing small holder farmers’ capacity to generate agricultural income.
(3) Increasing the capacity of women of reproductive age and/or key decision makers to increase the dietary diversity of households.

To achieve these objectives, Agricultural Volunteers promote crop cultivation, focusing on home gardens including specific multi-purpose trees, small animal husbandry, sustainable soil and water conservation and management practices, and post-harvest management. They also assist agricultural organizations and promote better business practices, and add value to agricultural products to increase income and improve food security.

Another valuable component of many Volunteer assignments is the backing of community associations through Savings and Loans initiatives that allow community members to have a secure place to save their profits, and have access to funds all year long.

Volunteers collaborate with community leaders to identify community needs and implement appropriate interventions. Therefore, Volunteers play the role of catalyst for a wide range of activities limited only by the creativity of the community and the Volunteers. Activities may include but are not limited to:
• Training farmers to use Climate Smart Agriculture techniques to improve crop production and food security.
• Creating model vegetable gardens as a way to train community members on small scale gardening.
• Training farmers to increase small scale animal production through improving housing, supplementary feeding and implementing routine prophylactic treatment to reduce mortality.
• Conducting nutrition sessions and cooking demonstrations for women of reproductive age to improve household nutrition.
• Training farmers on composting, use of farm yard manure and other soil and water conservation practices.
• Training farmers on basic book and record keeping.

Of great importance in any community development work is the time one takes just being present, developing relationships, and building trust.

Cutting across the three objective areas, Agricultural Volunteers will incorporate engagement of women and youth (up to age 35) in all aspects of their project’s implementation. Volunteers and their local counterparts will involve women and youth in programs emphasizing literacy, numeracy, agriculture, nutrition, business knowledge, and skills development. Peace Corps Ghana promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in Ghana and you will 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.

Volunteers are trained and equipped with the skills necessary to carry out these activities during Pre-Service Training (PST).

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

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Familiarity with agriculture and farm work focusing on vegetable gardening, animal husbandry and/or integrated agriculture systems
• Experience talking to groups of people about agricultural practices and technologies
• Experience delivering training on agricultural topics
• Experience with small scale field experiments
• Knowledge of basic field crop, tree crop or vegetable production practices and technologies
• Experience in project planning is an added advantage
• Willingness to work in a team environment as well as be a dedicated self-starter
• Strong communication and interpersonal skills
• Flexibility and willingness to learn new knowledge, skills and attitudes

Required Language Skills

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

Ghana is a country with a plethora of local languages although English is considered one of the national languages. As such, we teach everyone a local language that will be most useful at their permanent site. Nonetheless, Volunteers should know that more than a third of our Volunteers end up acquiring a second local language when living at their site.

Living Conditions

Volunteers are placed in rural communities throughout the entire country. Volunteers are expected to live at the same socio-economic level as the people with whom they serve. Peace Corps Ghana requires the community to contribute housing that meets the minimum standard of at least one room with a porch or sitting area. Housing is to be adequately ventilated with a roof, a solid floor, walls, access to year-round water supply (via boreholes and wells), private latrine and bathing facilities (often a bucket bath), and secure doors and windows. That said, Volunteers’ sites vary widely due to a number of factors, including geography, and this extends to amenities available at each site (electricity, water), distances to travel, proximity of other Volunteers and general remoteness of sites. Some Volunteers will live in self-contained concrete houses while others will have one or two rooms inside a family compound or teachers’ quarters. Flexibility and a positive attitude will help greatly in adapting to your new living situation.

Pre-Service Training (PST) is an 11-week training that is intended to ensure that Volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for a successful service. PST in Ghana is community-based, meaning that Volunteers will be living with host families, interacting with community members, and they will be immersed in Ghanaian culture to give them a better understanding of their new environment.

Climate: The climate of Ghana is tropical, with two main seasons — the dry season from November through March and the rainy season from May through August. It is hot and comparatively dry along the southeast coast. It is hot and humid in the southwest and dry in the north. During the dry season, the Harmattan winds affect the northern regions with days of continual cool air, haze, and fine dust.

Communication & Transportation: Communication systems have been steadily improving throughout Ghana, and cell phone reception is available at most sites. The level of reception, clarity and speed of internet (where available) varies greatly throughout the country.

Transportation: Volunteers live and serve in rural, underserved communities anywhere from 2-5 hours from a larger district town. Transportation to and from your permanent community is primarily via public vehicles, which, depending on the remoteness of the site, can have irregular schedules and may or may not be well maintained. Often travel requires long hours on rough roads in buses and minivans. Volunteers generally walk or bike around their communities.

Dress: Ghanaians are meticulous about their dress in the workplace and wear their good clothes. They are particular about their personal hygiene (a real accomplishment in communities of mud-brick houses and no running water), and cleanliness is a sign of respect. Volunteers are expected to dress and behave accordingly. Personal appearance is important to people in Ghana. During Pre-Service Training, the dress code is business casual. Following Pre-Service Training, you will need to dress appropriately for work situations in your community. Dressing appropriately will help you gain respect in your host community, facilitate integration, and increase your credibility and effectiveness. It is advised to take cues from your Ghanaian colleagues, and dress to their standards of professionalism.

Volunteers with visible body piercings or tattoos may need strategies to conceal them. Having visible body piercings and tattoos may make it more difficult to integrate into your host community. Keep in mind that Peace Corps Ghana staff may ask you to be flexible with regard to personal appearance to facilitate integration in training and during your service. Remaining flexible is key to Peace Corps service in any country.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ghana: 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

Peace Corps Ghana welcomes couples serving together in any combination of programs. Your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following programs:

Business & Agriculture Advising Agent
Agriculture Extension Agent
Health Extension Agent

Couples with one Health Extension Agent and one Agriculture Extension Agent will be able to reside in the same community and host family during Pre-Service Training (PST), if desired. This arrangement would involve one individual “commuting” to their sector training facility – departing early and using public transportation to arrive on time. There will be a 2 week field-based training for each sector and during that time couples will reside separately.

When both partners are part of the same project (e.g., a Health Extension Agent with a Health Extension Agent), they will reside together in the same community and host family during Pre-Service Training (PST) and no one will need to “commute” to a separate training location.

During service at your permanent site, couples' living conditions are the same as those of other Volunteers but couples will share a house or living quarters.

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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