Climate Change Education and Youth Empowerment Volunteer

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Project Description

Climate change impacts have been unexpectedly evident and rapid in Mexico in terms of severe weather and varying local climate. Rural communities inside or in proximity to Natural Protected Areas (NPAs) and that are dependent on natural resources and eco-system services for survival are particularly vulnerable. Conserving such natural areas while promoting socio-economic development for the communities in and around them are priorities for the Mexican government. Peace Corps Mexico’s main Mexican host agency, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), has identified priority activities for Peace Corps Volunteers in Mexico. Climate Change Education and Youth Empowerment Volunteers will focus on promoting environmental education, youth environmental organizations, and appropriate green technologies.

If selected to serve in Mexico, you will focus your efforts on working with youth in your community, promoting community-based environmental education, primarily in co-facilitating environmental outreach workshops and programs, creating and/or working with existing environmental youth organizations (eco-clubs), promoting life skills, and fostering youth leadership. You will work to build environmental awareness in rural communities, often conducting environmental outreach and workshops in local schools. As part of your community-based environmental education projects, you will promote and co-facilitate community environmental activities and appropriate green technologies (eco-tecnias in Spanish). As typically low-cost, practical interventions, eco-tecnias seek to directly address some of the most basic environmental challenges faced by families living in rural communities.

Required Skills

Candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• BA/BS in Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Environmental Education, Environmental Interpretation, Natural Resources, Conservation, or Ecology; with expressed interest in promoting environmental awareness in schools and communities -OR-
environmental awareness in schools and communities
• BA/BS in any environmental discipline plus six months of experience organizing/leading environmental activities and expressed interest in promoting environmental awareness in schools and communities -OR-
• BA/BS in any discipline plus one year of experience organizing/leading environmental education activities

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following desired skills:
• Professional environmental education experience with youth
• Community outreach, planning, and organizing
• Designing, delivering, and evaluating training events
• Coordination and collaboration with local, city, state and/or federal governmental agencies
• Professional experience working with youth in general
• Classroom management
• Strong communication and facilitation skills

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 must take a language placement exam 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).

Qualified candidates for this program will meet at least the minimum Spanish language requirement. Candidates that have an intermediate level, combined with the required skills for the position, are highly competitive. Peace Corps Mexico strongly encourages all applicants to our program to continue studying Spanish in preparation for service. Language skills are key to integration as well as a safe and productive service. The more Spanish you have before arriving will only positively contribute to a productive service.

Living Conditions

The U.S. and Mexico are so interdependent and share so much more than just a border. Should you be accepted to serve in Mexico, you will have an incredible opportunity to build bridges of peace and friendship between Mexico and the U.S. As a Climate Change Education and Youth Empowerment Volunteer in Mexico you will have endless opportunities to contribute to Goals 2 and 3 of the Peace Corps mission, in addition to your Goal 1 work in your site.

Most site assignments are in central Mexico. Volunteers will either work in small rural communities or small-to-medium size 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.

In most of the central region of Mexico, and throughout the mountainous areas, it can be cold in the evening through much of the year. Daytime highs can get very hot, but a rain jacket and hat are often useful in the evenings. Layering is a good strategy year round. 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. Volunteers should learn and be respectful of their practices, customs, and way of life.

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 of service, you may arrange to stay with your host family if they are able to continue hosting you, or you can seek other options which may include a room in a shared house, an unoccupied house for rent, or a section of a family’s house. Your host family may be a two-parent family with kids, a grandmother living alone, a single parent who works all day, or any other variation of a host family you can think of based on the people who are willing and able to host a Volunteer in your site.

Mexico is very safe for Peace Corps Volunteers. You will be responsible for your safety, and you will receive professional training and support from Peace Corps staff to develop your own safety strategies. Sites and host families are vetted to increase the probability of safe and secure service, but incidents do happen. When they do, Peace Corps provides the highest quality support to victims of crime. For your safety and in order for staff to coordinate emergency responses, Peace Corps worldwide policy requires that you report your whereabouts to Peace Corps every time you spend the night outside of your site. Failure to do so may result in administrative separation from Peace Corps service.

Peace Corps Mexico seeks to reflect the rich diversity of the U.S. and bring diverse perspectives and solutions to development issues in Mexico. During Pre-Service Training (PST), multiple sessions and guidance will be provided to discuss diversity and inclusion. For more specific information about serving as a diverse Volunteer in Mexico and the support networks in place, please visit

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 faced 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.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Mexico: 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

Mexico can accommodate couples serving together as Climate Change Education and Youth Empowerment Volunteers. Therefore, your partner must apply and qualify for the following position:

Climate Change Education and Youth Empowerment Volunteer

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 the first three months, couples may live together in a rented room inside a family’s compound or rent their own modest apartment. Some couples may encounter situations such as being asked questions about having children or being 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.

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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