Community Health and Youth Services Promoter

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Project Description

Can you imagine sitting on the porch of your little house—hearing the rain drumming on your tin roof while drinking tea with your neighbor? Can you see yourself wearing a colorful capulana (sarong) as you present an HIV training to the youth in your community gathered under the shade of a mango tree? Can you envision riding your bike to the local market to buy pumpkin leaves and peanuts to make matapa and hearing boys and girls in the youth group you facilitate shout greetings to you in Portuguese? If the answer is yes, Peace Corps seeks applicants like you who also have the passion, flexibility, and resiliency to support public health initiatives in the amazing African country of Mozambique.

In coordination with the Ministry of Health and other partners, Peace Corps Mozambique’s community health project goals are designed to help Mozambicans live long and healthy lives, by encouraging improved health behaviors, training of community health workers and strengthening of local health systems. Through a co-placement with the health facility and a community based organization, PCVs can build stronger linkages between the youth population and health facilities while also strengthening the capacity of the health center to service youth. By establishing (or sustaining) health focused youth groups and using evidence based curricula that emphasize behavior change within the technical topics of HIV, youth sexual reproductive health (YSRH), malaria, gender, and nutrition; not only will the Volunteer see behavior change in their group participants, but they will be able to see secondary changes in the youth’s households and wider community.

Volunteer activities may include the following:
• Co-facilitate gender-equitable clubs for youth 10–24 years of age that provide culturally appropriate comprehensive youth health information and allow youth to practice skill building that include sessions and activities on the following topics:
• YSRH and HIV prevention
• Malaria
• Nutrition
• Stigma and discrimination reduction
• Life and leadership skills and mentorship
• Facilitate linkages to youth-friendly health services
• Co-facilitate youth clubs with orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) including sessions and activities on the following:
- HIV prevention
- Nutrition support
- Stigma and discrimination reduction
- Life skills and mentorship
- Academic mentoring and support
- Psychosocial support
• Co-facilitate household sessions with OVC caregivers on nutrition
• Co-facilitate parenting/caregiving sessions for the parents and caregivers who are engaged in savings groups
• Strengthen community structures by co-facilitating trainings that provide information and skills for community members to support youth health and well-being
• Coach school-based staff to utilize innovative techniques to integrate health and life skills messages into academic curriculum
• Coach youth-focused health-care workers to provide age-appropriate, youth-friendly services in a respectful and gender-equitable way
• Coach the supervisors of community health workers to improve planning data collection, and training of CHWs in these topics:
• Adult learning facilitation skills
• Active listening
• Organizational skills
• Negotiation techniques
• One-on-one mentoring
• Behavior change communication
• Coach health staff in health system strengthening in the following areas:
• Data management (quality of reporting, M&E, data analysis for decision making, data visualization, file management)
• Quality of Care

Peace Corps Mozambique also integrates gender awareness and girls' empowerment themes into all of its programs. Volunteers receive training on gender challenges in the country and have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are culturally and contextually appropriate. During service, Volunteers will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of one’s work, Volunteers will also report on these efforts and their impact.

NOTE: Due to government visa requirements, to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique, you must submit the result of a secondary FBI Background check with your visa application. If you have you ever been cited for, arrested, charged with, or convicted of any offense, regardless of whether a citation, charge, arrest, or conviction has been sealed, dismissed, or expunged from your record (excluding minor traffic violations, traffic citations, and parking tickets), you should be aware that your application for a visa to Mozambique may be rejected, and you may want to consider serving in a country other than Mozambique.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working in the health sector and a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field

Desired Skills

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Health/Public Health, Nursing
• Master of Arts/Master of Science degree in Public Health
• Certified Physician Assistant or Public Health Nurse with expressed interest in public/community health
• Experience, knowledge, and interest in HIV/AIDS or malaria prevention
• Experience, knowledge, and interest in working with youth
• Training and leadership skills
• Resiliency and resourcefulness

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 or Portuguese
D. Prior Portuguese language competency

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 should have either a willingness to take a Portuguese course or commitment to self-study prior to arrival.

Candidates who do not meet the language requirement but have a strong interest to work in the health sector are encouraged to apply

Volunteers are expected to bring a language background in a romance language or either Spanish or Portuguese to Mozambique. Volunteers will use Portuguese as the primary means of daily communication; therefore Volunteers should be fully committed to learning the language.

Peace Corps strongly recommends Portuguese coursework or self-study prior to arrival in Mozambique. Prior significant experience in Spanish is very helpful, but candidates should make an attempt to learn basic Portuguese prior to arrival, as this will speed up the rate at which the Portuguese language is learned once in-country.

Preferred candidates will have strong language skills and an interest in learning a local language in addition to Portuguese. Local languages are spoken throughout communities, in markets and within families, and learning a regional language can help Volunteers better integrate into a community (a limited number of hours of local language are taught during Pre-Service Training, and Volunteers should continue learning on their own in their community).

Trainees must demonstrate an intermediate level of written and oral proficiency in Portuguese after 13 weeks of Pre-Service Training in order to become a Volunteer.

Living Conditions

Volunteers generally live in a rural setting, though a few may live in semi-urban areas. Rural in this context refers more to limited amenities and less about geographic isolation, as most Volunteers live in populated communities with dwellings positioned in close proximity.

Volunteers may live in a cement house with a tin roof or a house constructed of local materials (reed, mud or cement walls, cement floor, and a thatched or tin roof). The toilet, bath, and cooking facilities may be indoors or outdoors.

Most Volunteers, but not all, will have some access to electricity, but all Volunteers should be prepared to live without this amenity. Very few Volunteers have access to running water in their houses, instead the norm in Mozambique may be to haul water from a well, pump or tap nearby one’s home. Most Volunteers, even those without electricity, have decent mobile phone service and access to internet through thumb drive modems or their smart phones.

Crowded buses and taxis provide most of the transportation in urban settings. Rural transportation ranges from minibuses and pickup trucks to bicycle taxis, boat taxis, or simply lots of walking. Transportation options may be unreliable, especially off the main paved roads and during the rainy season.

At all times, Volunteers are expected to maintain a professional appearance and to behave in culturally appropriate ways. During the first 13 weeks in-country, Volunteers will be trained and prepared to do so effectively. Volunteers should also be aware that in Mozambique beards and long hair on men are unusual. In some cases, Volunteers have chosen to shave their facial hair or cut their hair to facilitate integration, and regrown hair after a period of acceptance in the community. Tattoos would need to be covered as much as possible in any professional or formal setting and due to cultural perceptions, could create additional integration challenges.

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. 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.

Volunteers who are of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the majority of their country of service may find they experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention from host country nationals. Please be aware that American concepts of politeness and appropriate behavior are not universal. Ethnically, nationally, or racially diverse Americans may be asked where they are “actually from” or if they are “really” American. Many Volunteers have been able to turn these encounters into learning experiences, share American values, and deepen local community members’ understanding of Americans.

While Mozambique is generally tolerant, values and mores concerning sexual orientation and gender identity in Mozambique are different than those in the U.S. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms, and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and host countries. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during Pre-Service Training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming Volunteers.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Mozambique: 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

Peace Corps/Mozambique can accept couples. Both candidates must apply and qualify for the Community Health position. Couples will live in the same house during Pre-Service Training and for their entire two years of service. They must also be willing to work together in the same health center/organization.

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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