Agriculture Extension Agent

The Peace Corps continues to monitor and assess the COVID-19 pandemic domestically and internationally. The locations and timing of returning Volunteers to service will be determined on a country-by-country basis. The positions and projected departure dates listed below are subject to change.

Project Description

Ghana is located in West Africa, and is known for having a stable democracy and forward-looking approach to development Ghana is a diverse country with different tribes and over 70 languages throughout the sixteen 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 agriculture-related income, and
(3) Increasing the capacity of women of reproductive age (WRA) and/or key household 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 members to identify local needs and implement appropriate interventions. 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.
• Facilitating farmer-to-farmer demonstrations on improved crop cultivation management practices and technologies.
• 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 animal mortality.
• Training farmers on composting, use of farm yard manure and other soil and water conservation practices.
• Guide learning of individual farmers to reinforce efficacious use of improved management practices and technologies to conserve, store, and/or transform agricultural products to add value.
• Training farmers on agriculture-based basic business skills (record keeping).

Of great importance in any community development work is the time one takes just being there, 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. 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. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact. Volunteers receive training on how to tell success stories and report numeric/statistical data to Peace Corps.

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

Competitive candidates will have the following relevant qualifications:
• 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
• Experience in farm management and/or agribusiness.
• Experience in business development such as financial literacy/numeracy

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, Peace Corps Ghana will teach everyone a local language that will be most useful at their permanent site. Nonetheless, more than a third of Volunteers end up acquiring a second local language when living at their site. Acquiring a local language will endear the Volunteer to community members as well as other host country nationals. While English may be sufficient in professional settings, many community members may be more comfortable in their local language. Developing a deep understanding and proficiency in local language will make it easier for a volunteer to navigate and work in the local culture and community.

Living Conditions

Volunteers are placed in generally rural communities and are expected to live in the same socio-economic conditions as the people with whom they serve. Volunteers’ sites vary widely due to a number of factors including geography, 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 nurse’s quarters. Flexibility and a positive attitude will help greatly in adapting to your new living situation.

Ghanaian host communities generously contribute Volunteer housing that meets the minimum standard of at least one room with a porch or sitting area,
adequate ventilation, a non-dirt floor, secure doors/windows, and access to year-round water supply in the community (borehole or well). Some Volunteers will have private latrines and bathing facilities (often a bucket bath); others will share latrines and bathing facilities with no more than 6 persons in the household. Volunteers will be issued a cook stove to be used in a designated cooking area and all housing will maintain the standards of household safety. The Peace Corps and host community will ensure that you have safe cooking environment and equipment.

Pre-Service Training (PST): 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 may be community- or center-based depending on COVID-19 restrictions and mitigation factors. Volunteers will receive training in their technical area, language, personal health and safety, security, as well as a practicum. Volunteers will be held accountable for competencies in each of these areas. Outside of formal training there will be opportunities for Volunteers to interact and live with community members to provide an immersive approach to understanding Ghanaian culture.

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

Communication: Communication systems have been 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.

Transportation: Volunteers live and serve in rural communities. Transportation to and from your 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. Volunteers are not permitted to drive or ride on motor bikes.

Dress: The standard of dressing for the workplace in Ghana includes wearing business casual attire in good to excellent condition and freshly cleaning attire on a regular basis. Dressing appropriately is a sign of respect in your host community, and demonstrates that you take your job seriously. During Pre-Service Training, the dress code is business casual. You will need to dress appropriately for work and social 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.

Serving in Ghana

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ghana: 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

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

Agriculture Extension Agent
Community Health Extension Agent

Couples with one Community Health Extension Agent and one Agriculture Extension Agent will be able to reside in the same community 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 (ex. Community Health Extension Agent with Community Health Extension Agent), they will reside together in the same community during Pre-Service Training 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 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 medical clearance process.


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