Community Health Educator

Before You Apply

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Project Description

The Community Health Project contributes to the Ugandan Ministry of Health’s plan to address some of the most pressing needs in the country. With over 48% of the population under the age of 14 years old, Ugandan youth make up a large portion of those in need of health services. Community Health Specialists work with local health centers and community based organizations towards the goal of ending preventable child deaths and achieving a resilient and healthy generation of youth.

To do this, Volunteers’ work focuses on increasing the knowledge and skills of caregivers, people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, and vulnerable youth as well as improving the skills of community health service providers and school staff to better address the health needs of youth.

This strategy has been developed with insight from PCVs, work partners, and stakeholders and founded on community and national priorities. Volunteers collaborate with community members and their local organizations to identify assets that can be strengthened and challenges which can be overcome through collaborative evidence based activities.

Volunteer activities can include, but are not limited to:

• Co-facilitating youth clubs and camps that address sexual reproductive health issues and present HIV prevention education (e.g. Grassroots Soccer)
• Co facilitating a series of group meetings with mothers to promote child health practices
• Co-facilitating peer support groups for orphans and vulnerable children including sessions and activities on nutrition education, psychosocial support, economic strengthening, and linkages to health and support services
• Co-facilitating trainings for health service providers and school staff on elements of youth friendly and gender equitable health services, facilitation, mentoring, and communication skills
• Coaching community health service providers and school staff to improve their facilitation, listening, and mentoring skills

Peace Corps Uganda promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers receive training on gender challenges and have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During service, Volunteers look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working in the health sector 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 one or more of the following criteria:
• Experience working with People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV);
• Community organizing; and
• Health education and awareness

Required Language Skills

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

Trainees will receive 5 weeks of training in the local language used in his/her assigned community and must attain intermediate proficiency in said language before swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Support, such as extended tutoring or accommodations for learners with special needs, are in place to help each trainee achieve the language proficiency needed for community integration and effective work.

Living Conditions

During service, Volunteers usually live in a rural or semi-urban community in accommodations provided by the host organization or with a homestay family. While housing seems modest by US standards, it is often provided at great expense to the host agency and/or community, given their often limited means. Housing conditions vary according to organizations' resources, though it will meet basic Peace Corps housing standards. Most rural Volunteers are likely to have no running water and some will not have electricity thus using solar lanterns for lighting, outdoor bathing areas, and pit latrines. The situation is often different in urban communities, with some improved amenities.

Cell phone service is available across the country especially where Volunteers are placed. Wi-Fi and internet is not common in rural areas and usually unreliable if available. Cyber cafes and internet connectivity are available within urban and semi-urban areas. USB modems are available for purchase and can be used with computers for internet access in some places. Internet may also be accessed through Volunteer cell phones. Mail generally takes a long time, but Volunteers can readily communicate through cellphones and app-based messaging services.

Trainees stay with host families for four weeks during Pre-Service Training (PST). A private, lockable room will be provided within the host family accommodation. Trainees will, however, share common areas like bathroom, kitchen, and sitting room with the family. The homestay accommodation provides an opportunity for Volunteers to be familiar with cultural norms within Uganda and improve their language skills. In addition, some Volunteers will also live with home stay families during their two years of service at site after training.

Volunteers may be located several hours from another Volunteer in some areas, while others are much closer to each other. Walking, riding a bicycle, and using local transportation are typical modes of transportation. Public transportation is available near most communities and allows for transit to and from the nearest urban areas or trading centers. Volunteers are provided funds to buy a local bicycle.

Although polite, warm and welcoming, Ugandans have a conservative culture compared to what many Americans may be used to. As outsiders and leaders in their communities, Volunteers are often heavily scrutinized and held to high standards. Living and working productively in Uganda means being able to adjust to different cultural norms which will impact community integration and credibility.

Peace Corps Uganda provides support to a diverse group of Volunteers of various faiths, identities, and sexual orientations. It is important to note that Uganda has restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms and country-specific laws, and use their best judgment to determine how to approach topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and host country. Please refer to the Local Laws and Special Circumstances of the U.S. Department of State's travel page for more information on Ugandan laws. (https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/uganda.html).

Peace Corps Uganda offers a wide range of volunteer-led diversity and support committees including: Peer Support Network, Diversity Committee, Geographic (GEO) Club, Gender, Youth and Diversity Committee, and others. Volunteers have opportunities to join these committees and take on leadership roles.

Uganda can be a challenging cultural and physical environment, but the majority of Volunteers are able to adjust and find great satisfaction in their work as Community Health Specialists, build meaningful friendships with host country nationals, and feel rewarded by their service.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Uganda: 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

Your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions:
• Community Health Educator
• Business Development Advisor
• Community Health Specialist
• Agribusiness Advisor

An ideal match will be where one person has strong business/finance skills, and the other with strong Agriculture or nutrition skills.

Couples will live within the same host family and community during Pre-service training, but can expect to spend 4-5 hours per day attending different technical training's throughout the 10 weeks.

During the two years of service, couples can expect to be separated periodically for several days at a time for project-specific training's, medical appointments, committee meetings, and other programming meetings as needed.

Medical Considerations in Uganda

  • Uganda may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; insulin-dependent diabetes; gastroenterology; some types of gynecologic support; seizure disorder; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified.  
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified.
  • After arrival in Uganda, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and to receive 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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