Climate Change Awareness and Action Facilitator

Project Description

Climate change knows no borders. The viability and sustainability of our natural resources, including the air we breathe and the water we drink, depend on collective and cooperative action that transcends social, cultural, or political differences. As a Climate Change Awareness and Action Volunteer with Peace Corps Mexico, you will build bridges of peace and friendship between Mexico and the United States of America through technical cooperation and intercultural exchange.

Climate change impacts have been unexpectedly evident and rapid in Mexico in terms of severe weather and varying local climate. Rural communities that are inside of, or in proximity to, Natural Areas (NAs), and that are dependent on natural resources and eco-system services for survival, are particularly vulnerable. Conserving such natural areas while promoting the socio-economic development of the communities in and around them are priorities for the Mexican government. Peace Corps Mexico’s main host country partner agency, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), has identified priority activities for Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) in Mexico.

PCVs will collaborate with community members of all ages to design, implement, and facilitate program activities. Some areas of collaboration include:

• Supporting the development of environmental education resources.
• Increasing knowledge, awareness, and appreciation for nature, and the impact of climate change on local habitats.
• Training techniques to increase climate change resilience.
• Guiding the implementation and adoption of climate change adaptation practices in the areas of soil and water conservation, handling of solid waste, and appropriate biodiversity conservation practices.

Currently, Peace Corps Mexico is one of only a few Peace Corps countries with a project related to climate change. The work done by the host country partner agency and communities, with the support of PCVs, will not only be important for Mexico and for the world, but will also generate lessons learned and best practices for other Peace Corps countries. It’s an exciting time to be an Environment Volunteer with Peace Corps Mexico!

Climate Change Activities

As the impacts of climate change become ever more evident, the social, economic, and environmental conditions faced by local communities will become increasingly problematic, particularly for vulnerable households in low-lying areas and historically marginalized communities. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will be trained to use a participatory approach and tools to identify locally determined priorities and conditions, including those related to the impacts of climate change. The types of interventions undertaken will be guided by national and local priorities for climate change adaptation as identified in your country’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and those environment-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 6, 12, 13, 14 & 15) that have been identified for local action. As an Environment Volunteer, you will be trained to use this knowledge to work with government, local, and community stakeholders to mitigate some of the adverse impacts of climate change while promoting resiliency, and engaging in projects and activities that:

• strengthen the ability of vulnerable households and communities to respond to extreme weather events such as cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons;
• enhance local and community capacities for effective implementation of NAP and SDG priorities;
• reduce greenhouse gas emissions through promoting the expansion of renewable energy technologies;
• support the development of sustainable mechanisms that incorporate the “3 Rs” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) of effective solid waste management practices; and
• work with Volunteers in other sectors to integrate climate change adaptation practices into their activities (e.g., work with Health Volunteers to reduce respiratory health issues of women and girls through use of improved cook stoves; work with Education Volunteers to mitigate the impact of heat waves on local teaching or establishing tree nurseries and planting trees to reduce the time that students use in collecting firewood).

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

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 promoting environmental awareness in schools and communities, 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 at least one or more of the following:

• BA/BS in Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Environmental Education, or a related field;
• One or more year(s) of professional work experience in environmental education, environmental activities, and/or climate change resilience or adaptation activities;
• Experience organizing and/or facilitating environmental activities;
• Experience teaching environmental content to all ages, including effective classroom management and informal education.

Required Language Skills

Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position.

A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college‐level coursework within the past 6 years
C. Native/fluent speaker of Spanish

Candidates who do not meet the language proficiency levels above can take the language placement exams to demonstrate their level of proficiency. Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).

Candidates must meet the minimum language requirements to be considered for an invitation.

Spanish language is essential for a successful and satisfying service. Candidates who have more Spanish than the minimum requirement are most successful at integrating into their communities and work environment. There is high-quality, but limited, in-person language instruction during Pre-Service Training. Trainees are expected to integrate as much as possible with their host-families so as to maximize exposure to Spanish throughout the ten-week training program. Every Trainee will take a Language Proficiency Interview exam at the end of Pre-Service Training, and must achieve an ACTFL-certified level of Intermediate Mid in order to swear-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Candidates are encouraged to work on improving their language skills on their own before departing for Peace Corps Mexico.

Living Conditions

Most community assignments are in central Mexico. Volunteers will work in small rural communities or in small to medium-sized towns. Volunteers placed in medium-sized towns may travel frequently to rural sites to work on local community projects and to give support to rural-based Volunteers living nearby. Travel distance to reach these communities can vary from a few kilometers of walking or cycling (15 to 20 minutes) up to several tens of kilometers with motorized transportation requiring up to two hours, depending on road conditions.

In most of the central region of Mexico, especially in mountainous areas, it can be cold in the evening throughout much of the year. Daytime highs can be very hot, but a jacket and hat are often useful in the evenings. Temperatures can range from freezing to mid-90’s. Layering is a good strategy year- round, and Volunteers should also be prepared for rainy weather.

Mexico also has regional differences, in that some cities or towns are known as more traditional and others as more progressive. Rural areas and most small towns of Mexico are characterized by more traditional and conservative cultural and societal values, which may require significant adaptation from what Volunteers are accustomed to in the United States.

Host family stays are required during the 10-week Pre-Service Training (PST) and during the first three months of service. After living with a host family for the first three months, some Volunteers decide to live independently in apartments or small houses, while others continue to live with a host family. Host families may be a two-parent family with children, a grandmother living alone, a single parent who works all day, or any other type of family.

Additional information on living conditions you may encounter during service can be found at: https://www.peacecorps.gov/mexico/preparing-to-volunteer/living-conditions/

Through inclusive recruitment and retention of staff and Volunteers, the Peace Corps seeks to reflect the rich diversity of the United States and bring diverse perspectives and solutions to development issues in Mexico. Additionally, ensuring diversity among staff and Volunteers enriches interpersonal relations and communications for the staff work environment, the Volunteer experience, and the communities in which Volunteers serve. Our definition of diversity can include, but is not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, religion, education, ability. During PST, multiple sessions and guidance will be provided to discuss diversity and inclusion.

For more specific information about diversity and inclusion as it relates to serving as a Volunteer in Mexico, please visit https://www.peacecorps.gov/mexico/preparing-to-volunteer/diversity-and-inclusion/.

SPECIAL NOTICE ABOUT CITIZENSHIP: Candidates who are either dual citizens of Mexico and the U.S., or who were born in Mexico and became U.S. citizens after 1998, are not eligible to serve with Peace Corps Mexico. Volunteer safety is of paramount importance, and the protections of U.S. citizenship promote Volunteer safety. Under Mexican law, anyone born in Mexico who became a U.S. citizen after 1998, or anyone holding dual U.S. and Mexican citizenship, is considered a citizen of Mexico and not of the United States. If such an individual were to face a legal, safety or other emergency situation in Mexico, the Peace Corps' ability to intervene would be limited. If you fit either of these categories, we encourage you to look at other opportunities with Peace Corps.

Serving in Mexico

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Mexico: 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

Mexico can accommodate couples serving together in the same sector. Both partners must apply and qualify for:

Climate Change Awareness and Action Facilitator.

Couples can have a very positive and productive experience serving in Mexico. During the 10-week Pre-Service Training, couples have the option of living with the same host family or living separately in order to maximize Spanish language learning.

During the first three months of service, couples live together with the same host family. After this time, couples may choose to stay with the host family, or rent an apartment or small house. Some couples may encounter situations such as being asked questions about having children, or be the subject of comments or jokes about being monogamous. During Pre-Service Training, staff and Volunteers address these issues, and Volunteers formulate their own strategies to be resilient and adapt to such realities.

The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process Recruiters and Placement Officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities.

For more information please visit: https://www.peacecorps.gov/faqs/lgbtq/.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.


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