Community Conservation Promoter

Currently, departure timelines are not available and the Peace Corps is not issuing invitations to serve. Once we begin issuing invitations, applicants will have a minimum of three to four months’ notice between invitation and departure.

The information provided for each assignment is subject to change.

Project Description

Known as the Land of Many Waters, Guyana with its diverse culture and rich biodiversity is South America’s best kept secret.

The Peace Corps Environmental Education for Community Conservation Project aligns with the Government of Guyana’s commitment to providing a better quality of life for all Guyanese derived from the country’s natural wealth – its diversity of people and abundant natural resources including land, water, forests, mineral and aggregates, and biodiversity. Community Conservation Promoters focus on environmental education and planning.

Peace Corps Guyana’s Community Conservation Promoters live and work in villages and towns along the coast, or in rural and remote communities in the hinterlands (interior) of Guyana. They work with youth and adults in communities to build their capacity to be better environmental stewards and support the effective management and sustainable use of Guyana’s natural resources.

Community Conservation Promoters will work in the classroom, alongside local teachers in a primary school, teaching grades 3-6. They will co-plan lessons and co-teach general science classes, as part of Guyana’s National Science Curriculum five days per week. The primary grade science curriculum focuses on the following areas of science: animal and plant kingdoms, environment, weather, materials, earth and space, and forces (gravity and electromagnetism). There is significant need and opportunity for infusing the teaching of the curriculum with inquiry-based methods, such as citizen science and use of the local environment as a classroom.

Community Conservation Promoters will also identify and work with interested community members to co-plan and co-facilitate a wildlife club for youth that will meet after school, on weekends and/or during school breaks. The purpose of the club is to build awareness and appreciation of nature and to develop youth leadership skills. Finally, they will collaborate with youth and adults to build awareness of local conservation/environmental issues and help develop and implement activities to address them.

With the impact COVID-19 has had on the Education sector in Guyana, Community Conservation Promoters will be exposed to a larger number of children whose reading skills may be below the expected grade level. These children may have suffered learning loss due to limited access to technology and the internet as well as the consistent supply of learning materials

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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
•5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following:
• Bachelor’s degree or higher in biology or other scientific field
• Strong working knowledge of natural history and ecology
• Classroom teaching experience in general science and/or environmental science in primary or secondary schools
• Experience developing and facilitating outdoor environmental education programs for youth in camps or clubs
• Experience in community-based, natural resource conservation (such as biodiversity inventory and monitoring, sustainable land use planning/management, eco-tourism or related fields)
• Strong presentation and facilitation skills

Required Language Skills

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

English is the official language, spoken by nearly all Guyanese including indigenous people in remote communities. Other languages include Guyanese Creolese (widely spoken), and nine indigenous languages including Macushi, Wapishana, and Patomona. Community Conservation Promoters receive training in Guyanese Creolese language and culture during Pre-Service Training, as well as a very limited introduction to the language spoken in their community. Emphasis is placed on self-directed, immersion language learning techniques to enhance Volunteers' ability to learn a local indigenous language in their community.

Living Conditions

Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America. It lies five degrees north of the Equator, and its climate is warm and tropical throughout the year. December to January and May to June are the rainy seasons. Guyana combines a Caribbean-flavored culture on the coast, featuring a mixture of Afro- and Indo-Guyanese influences, and a variety of indigenous cultures in the vast, forested hinterland in the interior.

Most of the population lives in a long narrow strip along the Atlantic Ocean stretching from Venezuela to Suriname. The open savannahs and forests of the interior are dotted with small indigenous communities, some of whom still preserve their own language. The country is crisscrossed by myriad rivers, and transportation to and from the Volunteer’s community may involve a mix of a minibus, hired car, small plane, motorboat, and canoe.

Many Community Conservation Promoters live and work in the inner hinterlands of Guyana. The hinterland regions are the most rural areas of the country. They are vast and varied and include communities in savannah, forest and riverine areas. There is typically little or no cell network and internet access in their communities, so most Volunteers will be issued satellite phones for emergencies and to contact Peace Corps staff. Transportation to and from their communities may be by mini-bus, hired car, small plane and/or small motorized boat or canoe.

Living conditions vary, but Community Conservation Promoters in all locations should be prepared to do the following:
• Live with extremely limited or sporadic access to electricity, phone and internet within their community
• Endure long rides on public transportation over rough terrain and/or water
• Walk or ride a bike long distances (2 to 10 kilometers) over uneven terrain
• Adjust to the high heat and humidity of a tropical climate
• Use a latrine toilet
• Adapt to a diet with limited availability and seasonal variety of fresh fruits and vegetables
• Fetch water by bucket from a river or community well
• Stay in their communities for extended periods of time

Professional dress and behavior is extremely important in schools in Guyana. School administration expects all teachers, including Volunteers, to adhere to the Ministry of Education’s Code of Conduct which includes being well-groomed, dressing professionally (slacks, belt and button-down dress shirts for men, dresses and skirts or slacks with blouses for women) and respecting the organizational structure. Guyanese teachers are viewed as role models in the community and are cautioned by the Ministry to display publicly acceptable behaviors when not in school. Community Conservation Promoters will also be held to this standard as they live and dwell in the local communities.

While Peace Corps Volunteers of various gender expressions, gender identities and sexual orientations have served successfully in Guyana, it is important to note that Guyana has restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers will need to be mindful of Guyanese law and cultural norms, and use their best judgment to determine how to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in the country and within their host communities. Peace Corps Guyana staff are available to provide support. They will address these topics during Pre-Service Training and identify support mechanisms to help Volunteers who may experience a lack of openness and acceptance during their service. Please refer to the Local Laws and Special Circumstances of the U.S. Department of State’s travel page for more information.

Community Conservation Promoters who serve successfully in Guyana are open-minded, flexible, emotionally mature and very resilient. They deal well with ambiguity and isolation and are proactive in an unstructured setting. They are culturally competent and show respect by following cultural norms.

Serving in Guyana

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Guyana: 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

Guyana can accept couples serving together. Your partner must qualify and apply for the following position:

Adolescent Health Promoter

Following training, couples in Guyana will share living arrangements, but will have separate work sites. Couples will work at neighboring sites (not more than 30 minutes apart). Although a couple will live together in service, each individual is expected to work at their own school and encouraged to have their own Peace Corps experience.

During Pre-Service Training (first 10 weeks) couples are required to live in separate villages/communities with separate host families, depending on their sectors. Following Pre-Service Training, the couple will be reunited and will then live together with a host family during the first five months at site. In that time, the couple will have their own bedroom in a single family home and share common living areas with family members, including living room, kitchen/dining areas and bathroom or latrine. We cannot guarantee a particular type of living arrangement, and expect Volunteers to be flexible and adaptable.

We strongly believe the homestay program supports Volunteers’ safety and community integration. After the first five months of service, Volunteers may live in independent housing that meets Peace Corps Guyana’s safety and security criteria. Please note that independent housing may not be available in all communities and that couples may need to live with host families throughout their service.

Medical Considerations

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

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