Agroforestry 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

Peace Corps has a rich history in Guinea. The first Volunteers arrived in Guinea in 1963 and the first Agriculture project was launched in 1990, when Volunteers piloted a watershed development project. As an Agroforestry Volunteer in Guinea, you will continue this tradition by working with rural communities to sustainably improve their food security, livelihoods and resilience.

Agroforestry Volunteers work with a variety of stakeholders to support this goal, including local cooperatives, individuals, non-governmental organizations (NGO), government field agents, and researchers. As a Volunteer, you will form strong collaborative partnerships with community members in order to analyze community needs and increase their counterpart’s capacity to improve food security and natural resource management.

Depending on the needs of the assigned community, Volunteers can expect to promote sustainable agroforestry practices through some of the following activities:

• Collaborating with individuals, households, and partner organizations to encourage permaculture and organic methods of gardening

• Improving diversity, yield, and sustainability of crops and multi-purpose agroforestry tree production

• Promoting alternative farming practices, such as beekeeping, food transformation, soap making with herbal products or honey

• Increasing household incomes by working with community members to identify and develop income generating activities, develop products, and strengthen basic business practices

• Increasing dietary diversity through nutrition education and food preparation

Volunteers also have the opportunity to pursue secondary projects, based on the needs and resources available in their local community. Cross-sector collaboration with Public Health and Education Volunteers is encouraged, particularly in the area of Nutrition.

Peace Corps Guinea promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers receive training on gender challenges in their country and they 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. Part of your work in this area will include reporting on your 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
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

• Experience in vegetable gardening, nursery work and management, tree planting and care, urban forestry, and/or beekeeping
• Experience in forestry, botany, or field work in greenhouse or farming management or staple crop and/or rice production
• Demonstrated leadership experience or experience in community organizing
• Knowledge of natural resource management
• Knowledge of Food Security and household nutrition education
• French language proficiency

Required Language Skills

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

Agroforestry Volunteers will be trained to speak a local language based on their assignment and will be provided with an introduction to French to assist them in getting around outside of their community. It is highly recommended that invitees take an intensive French course before departing the US. Between 10-20 hours of French and 100 plus hours of a local language will be taught during Pre-Service Training. Optional French tutoring will be offered two nights per week in the second half of the training.

Living Conditions

Agroforestry Volunteers are assigned to serve in small villages in remote areas; these villages can range in size from several hundred to several thousand inhabitants. The size and style of housing varies depending on the region and resources available. Peace Corps works with communities to prepare housing that is safe and secure, near a source of water, and within walking distance to a market and shops. Houses are typically modest, consisting of one to three room structures or round huts with thatched roofs. Many are situated within a family compound and most houses do not have electricity or running water. Some houses have inside toilet and shower areas but most are equipped with a private pit latrine and enclosed bathing area.

Cell phones work in almost all areas of the country and internet access, while limited, is becoming more common. Three regional offices are equipped with computers with internet access.

Personal appearance is important to people in Guinea. During pre-service training, the dress code is business casual. Following pre-service training, Volunteers will need to dress appropriately for work situations in their community. Dressing appropriately will help Volunteers gain respect in their host community, facilitate integration, and increase their credibility and effectiveness. It is advised to take cues from Guinean colleagues.

Volunteers are provided funds to purchase bikes for transport should they choose to do so. Almost all work places are within walking distance, so it is NOT required to be able to ride a bike. For long distances, Volunteers rely on bikes or public transportation in small passenger vehicles.

Rice, maize, cassava or a local grain “fonio” is eaten for most main meals, along with spinach, peanut and/or tomato based sauce with vegetables, meat or fish. Fruits such as mangoes, avocado, pineapples, papaya, oranges, and limes are available seasonally.

While people in Guinea 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. 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.

During your two years in Guinea, you will develop social and working relationships with a variety of people, become familiar with local expectations and customs, develop an appreciation of local foods, struggle with local languages, and learn to live and work with necessities rather than comforts.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Guinea: 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

Your partner must qualify and apply for the following position:

• Public Health Educator

Couples will likely be separated during the nine weeks of Pre-Service Training and live with different host families. Once at site, couples will share a home that meets the same standards for all Volunteers. There will be times during service when couples will spend days and nights apart, such as when one is attending a meeting, routine medical appointments, etc.

Medical Considerations in Guinea

  • Guinea may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: insulin-dependent diabetes; dermatology; some types of gynecologic support; mammography; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; seizures; 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: peanuts.
  • After arrival in Guinea, 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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