Community and Youth Development Volunteer

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Armenia, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, has been a country in transition politically, socially and economically, but a country with tremendous possibilities. Local community development, particularly youth development, is often overshadowed by investments in infrastructure, economic development, and legislative reforms. Youth organizations throughout Armenia lack resources and assistance to provide continuous services to develop their communities. Community and Youth Development (CYD) Volunteers work to fill community-identified service gaps and empower young community members to build skills and strong communities and organizations.

In this assignment CYD Volunteers work with local NGOs and community-based partners, schools, informal community-based youth groups and educational institutions in towns and villages across Armenia. These organizations have diverse missions addressing issues related to children and youth, including: youth with disabilities, at-risk youth, human rights, environment, women’s empowerment, and other community-specific issues.

Depending on the partner and the community’s specific needs, Volunteers work with youth and NGO staff to build individual and organizational capacity. Volunteer activities include, but are not limited to: facilitating workshops and seminars for young people, NGO staff and community members, developing and leading youth clubs and camps, community projects, event planning, strategic planning, project writing, fundraising, and monitoring and evaluation. Volunteers in this assignment should also expect to work directly with youth in student councils and youth clubs. Volunteers may also initiate and or organize clubs and activities related to the community’s interests and needs (i.e. clubs developing youth employability skills).

Community integration is an indispensable part of Volunteer work. To be successful in service, Volunteers should be accepted by their communities. The responsibility for integration rests on Volunteers and host communities. During Pre-Service Training (PST), Peace Corps Armenia provide tools and strategies for Volunteers to enhance their community integration and language acquisition. The Volunteers’ main assignment during the first three months is community integration. By devoting adequate attention to community integration at site, Volunteers lay the groundwork for their future community work.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor's of Arts/Bachelor's of Science degree in any field
• 5 years' professional work experience
• A desire to work with young people and various groups of community members.

Desired Skills

• Recent experience with youth in summer camps, clubs, sports, mentoring, volunteerism, service-learning, community service project planning and implementation, or other areas of non-formal education.
• Experience teaching life skills, leadership, and/or employability skills through clubs, sports and mentoring.
• Experience working in, or a strong understanding of, the non-profit/NGO sector.
• Experience with community-based programs, including knowledge in needs assessments, strategic planning, project planning, and/or community outreach.
• The ability to adapt to unfamiliar customs and family norms is an important skill to have or obtain.
• Candidates with a Bachelor in Social Work are encouraged to apply.

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. Please take a moment to explore the Language Comments section below to find out more on how local language(s) will be utilized during service.

Armenian is a phonetic language with a unique 39-letter alphabet in the Indo-European language family. Invitees must be motivated and ready to dedicate themselves to learning a complex language that is not spoken widely outside of Armenia. Trainees receive 3 months of training in Armenian and must attain a Novice High level in order to serve as a Volunteer. This is tested at the end of Pre-Service Training. In order to help facilitate language learning, invitees are invited to participate in a 6-week pre-departure course and an 8-week post-PST course. If invitees choose to study Armenian before arrival, they should study Eastern Armenian.

Living Conditions

Armenia is a small and beautiful country. The winter months (November to March) come with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures, similar to Chicago. Volunteers are required to stay with host families during Pre-Service Training and for an additional three months after training. The host family experience is a unique opportunity for Volunteers to fully immerse themselves in the Armenian culture. Many Volunteers choose to live with their host families for the entirety of their service because of their close relationships and a scarcity of independent housing options in many rural sites.

Despite limited exposure, host families and counterparts are accepting of diversity among Volunteers and close relationships are formed. It is true, however, that Volunteers who do not resemble the Armenian profile should expect to receive additional unwanted and sometimes negative attention. Further, although homosexual relationships are not criminal in Armenia, open gay relationships are not socially accepted by the general population and Volunteers are advised to be cautious. Peace Corps Armenia’s Pre-Service Training will address these types of concerns to prepare Volunteers for service. Peace Corps staff and second-year Volunteers also serve as a support system for new Volunteers.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Armenia: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Medical Considerations in Armenia

  • Armenia may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: cardiology; insulin-dependent diabetes; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; seizure disorder; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse.
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified. 
  • After arrival in Armenia, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot and 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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