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. Though the first Volunteers arrived in Guinea in 1963, the 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 (NGOs), 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 your counterpart’s capacity to provide food security and understand natural resource management.

According to the needs of the assigned community, Volunteers can expect to promote sustainable agroforestry practices through many of the following activities:

• Collaborating with individuals, households, and partner organizations to encourage permaculture and organic methods of gardening
• Improving the diversity, yield, and sustainability of crops and multi-purpose agroforestry tree production
• Promoting alternative farming practices, such as beekeeping, food transformation and conservation, 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 Sensitive Agriculture. This includes teaching gardening skills and encouraging local preparation and consumption of nutrition-rich vegetables not commonly eaten in the community. Education Volunteers also rely on the technical expertise of Agroforestry Volunteers to develop school gardens.

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

Competitive 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.

Agroforesty Volunteers will be taught to speak a local language based on their assignment – Malinke, Susu, and Fula are the most common of these. You will receive 100+ hours of local language during Pre-Service Training.

Volunteers will also be provided with an introduction to French, but it is highly recommended that Invitees do an intensive French course (online or in-person class) before departing the US. Between 10-20 hours of French will be taught during Pre-Service Training to provide you the language needed to navigate transportation and see to your own basic needs. 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 a few thousand inhabitants. The size and style of housing varies depending on the region and resources available. Peace Corps works with communities to prepare housing and assure that it is safe and secure, near a source of water, accessible to a market and shops, and within walking distance of a clear cell phone reception site.

Houses are typically modest, consisting of one to three room structures, or a simple round hut, 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 phone service is improving. Phones work in almost all areas of the country, but internet access can be limited at the village level. Peace Corps recommends that Volunteers bring their own laptop for use at site or at the regional office. The three regional offices are also equipped with computers with internet access.

Personal appearance is important to people in Guinea. During pre-service training, the dress code is business casual, but can vary when you have training days in the field. 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 your Guinean colleagues.

Volunteers are provided bikes for transport should they choose to have a bike. Most volunteer sites are within walking distance, so it is not required to be able to ride a bike. For longer distances, Volunteers use bikes or public transportation (in small passenger vehicles) to get to their regional capital or to another site.

Rice, maize, cassava or a local grain “fonio” is eaten for most main meals, along with leaves (like 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. Guineans do not eat vegetables with the same passion as Americans do and they are usually cooked into sauces. One of your goals is to assist Guineans to not only grow nutritious vegetables, but to also educate community members on the importance of eating these vegetables in new ways.

While people in Guinea are generally tolerant, values and mores concerning sexual orientation and gender identity are very defined and there are 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, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and other currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during pre-service training, and identify some potential support mechanisms for incoming trainees.

During your two years in Guinea, you will have an incredible experience that will without a doubt have its challenges, but nonetheless will bring incredible rewards as you develop social and working relationships with a variety of people, learn to communicate in local languages, develop an understanding of local expectations and customs along with an appreciation of local foods, and learn to live and work in Guinea where the concepts of comfort and necessity get redefined.

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 ten 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

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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