Agriculture Extension Volunteer

Before You Apply

You can only have one active Peace Corps Volunteer application, so choose a position that best fits your skills and interest. You have the opportunity to tell us if you’d like to be considered for other openings and more about the ones that interest you most! See application process

Project Description

To address food security in rural Ghana, the Agriculture project has three goals:
• Increase farmers’ capacity to improve diversity, productivity, and/or sustainability of smallholder farmer agricultural production
• Improve farmers’ capacity to increase agriculture-related income
• Develop the capacity of women of reproductive age and key household decision makers to increase the dietary diversity within households

Volunteers will collaborate with community leaders to identify their community’s needs and implement appropriate interventions. As such, Volunteers will 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:
• Train farmers on improving crop cultivation, small animal husbandry, and natural resource management practices
• Train farmers on increasing profitability by adding value, selecting for quality, and monitoring markets, including reducing post-harvest loss
• Train farmers on basic agriculture-based business skills
• Create model vegetable and/or perma-garden(s) as a method of training community members on small scale gardening
• Teach women of reproductive age the importance of consuming nutrient rich foods.

Volunteers are trained and equipped with the skills necessary to carry out these activities during pre-service training (PST). Successful Volunteers have a willingness to work with farmers and farming input suppliers to test ways to increase production using fertilizers, herbicides, and improved seed varieties. They also have a willingness to work with farmers on improving business practices, including accessing micro-credit if appropriate.

Volunteers also work with community members to develop secondary projects. Examples of secondary projects include: teaching at local schools, promoting sports for boys and girls, improving school or health center facilities, construction of wells and latrines, or working on local capacity building projects. Of great importance in any community development work is the time one takes just being there, developing relationships, and building trust.

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.

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

Most successful candidates will have the following relevant qualifications and qualities:
• Familiarity with agriculture and farm work focusing 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
• 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
• Experience in project planning is an added advantage

Required Language Skills

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

Ghana is a country with a plethora of local languages. As such, while we teach everyone a local language that will be one of the most useful at their eventual site, Volunteers should know that more than 1/3rd of our Volunteers end up acquiring a second local language when living at their site. We use an invitee questionnaire to identify Americans who are adept at learning languages, and oftentimes use that information to place certain candidates in communities where we know that more than one local language is going to be spoken. Be comprehensive on your responses to the invitee questionnaire so that Peace Corps Ghana can make the best placement for you and your unique set of skills.

Living Conditions

Culture: Ghana is one of the friendliest and most peaceful countries in West Africa. With different tribes and over 70 languages throughout the ten regions, Ghana is a very diverse country which exists harmoniously. Ghana is known for its stable democracy, forward-looking development, beautiful beaches, rich culture, and hospitable people. 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. You will be expected to take on this practice. Indeed, your ability to greet and to form relationships will be a significant factor in your success. Especially in the local communities, visitors will be welcomed into families and quickly be made to feel at home.

Living Conditions: Volunteers are placed in rural communities throughout the entire country. Volunteers are expected to live at the same socio-economic conditions 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/sitting area. Housing is to be adequately ventilated with a roof, a solid floor, walls, access to year-round water supply, latrine (often a long drop or pit), bathing facilities (often a bucket bath), and secure doors and windows. Some Volunteers find that their housing greatly exceeds these minimum standards, while others live in mud huts at the minimal level. Flexibility and a positive attitude will help greatly in overcoming such challenges.

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 affects 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.
Volunteers live and serve in rural, underserved communities anywhere from 2-5 hours from a larger district town. Transportation to and from site 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, placement requires long hours of travel on rough roads. Volunteers generally walk or bike in and around their communities.

Dress: Ghanaians are very 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.

LGBTQ: Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, or Queer (LGBTQ) Volunteers have served successfully in Ghana; however, it should be noted Ghana 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 host countries. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during pre-service training, and identify support mechanisms for trainees

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

Ghana is always eager to accept couples whenever possible. Your partner must qualify and apply for:

Health Extension Volunteer
Agriculture Extension Volunteer
Business Advising Volunteer

However, if and when possible, Peace Corps Ghana prefers cross-sectoral couples.

Couples with one Health Volunteer and one Agriculture/Business Volunteer 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.

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 in Ghana

  • Ghana may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: insulin-dependent diabetes; HIV; airway support; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified.   
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified. 
  • After arrival in Ghana, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and to receive mandatory immunizations.

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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