Ag & Forestry Extension Agent-Linking Income Food & Environment (LIFE)

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

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 work with rural communities to improve 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 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 teach improved 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. And they work to 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 inspiring others. 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 hold a College Degree upon arrival in-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 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.

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 or forestry and must have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field.

Desired Skills

-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.

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 are encouraged to engage the services of a tutor once they get to their site.

Living Conditions

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.

While people in Zambia may be generally tolerant, values and mores concerning sexual orientation and gender identity may be different from those in some parts of the U.S. Zambia has some restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms, and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and host countries. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during pre-service training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees. Many LGBTQ Volunteers have served successfully in Zambia.

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

Couples Information

Peace Corps Zambia welcomes couples serving in the same sector. Your partner must also apply and qualify for this position.

Couples will be placed in the same homestay during pre-service training (PST).

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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