Community Health Educator

Project Description

The Community Health Education and System Strengthening (CHESS) program was co-designed with the Ministry of Health, Public Hygiene, and Universal Access to Health Care to support the Ministry and its partners to strengthen maternal and newborn health practices and co-develop culturally appropriate behavior change communication messages for rural communities. Peace Corps Togo Volunteers work alongside community members and partner organizations as co-educators, co-facilitators and/or co-trainers on health system strengthening (HSS) projects. They also collaborate with community counterparts and partner organizations in resource mapping, linkages and referral pathways that advance equity and accessibility in delivering quality healthcare services. Community Health Educator Volunteers will collaborate with the following entities at the community and district level.

• Partner Organizations
• Community Counterparts
• Village Development Committees
• Water Management Committees
• Clinic Pharmacy Management Committees
• District Directors of Health
• Midwives
• Nurses
• Public Sanitation Agents
• Community Health Workers
• Birth Attendants

CHESS Program Goal: Improve community health outcomes through health systems strengthening activities in rural communities, including:

1. Maternal and Newborn Health
2. Community Health Education and Linkage
3. Health Worker Capacity Building

A Community Health Educator Volunteer will collaborate with and work alongside host community counterparts and/or partnered organizations to promote locally prioritized health promotion and disease prevention projects with an emphasis on positive maternal and newborn health practices and behavioral change communication. The overall goal is to co-facilitate authentic person-to person engagement that supports community-driven activities towards a healthier lifestyle.

Community Health Educators will use the project framework as a roadmap to co-plan and co-implement the below activities:
• Visits to households with pregnant and/or lactating women to promote essential practices that contribute to a healthy pregnancy and newborn.
• Collaborate with community counterparts and partner organizations to identify and map out resources, linkages, and referral pathways available to address quality healthcare service delivery.
• Co-facilitate workshops to strengthen capacity building of healthcare personnel in:
o Respectful patient care practices
o Technical knowledge
• Co-participate in health promotion awareness activities using culturally appropriate health information, education, and communication messages to bring about behavior change.
• Work together with counterparts to monitor and evaluate outcomes.

Peace Corps Togo is grateful for the strong monitoring, reporting, and evaluation culture it has developed in recent years, which enables Volunteers, their host communities, and our partners to measure the impact of Peace Corps interventions and inform decisions that influence the direction of future work. Volunteers report activities conducted within their sector and cross-sector activities. To that end, Community Health Educators Volunteers also work on cross-sector activities.

Promoting Gender Equity and Women’s Empowerment:
Volunteers receive training on gender-equity challenges in their communities and co-implement activities like “gender race”, training on flexible gender roles, and female role model shadowing. Volunteers are also trained on Student Friendly Schools principles to foster inclusivity, belonging and integration amongst host communities.

Climate Change and Food Security:
The impact of climate change on different sectors of society are interrelated. Drought and flooding can harm food production and human health, causing an increase in mortality and shortage of food availability. You will be equipped with the necessary information to facilitate awareness raising activities on the impact of climate change and food security in your respective community.

Endemic, Epidemic, and Pandemic Diseases Preventive Measures:
Endemic, epidemic, and pandemic (Malaria, Lassa Fever, Cholera, HIV, COVID-19 etc.) diseases such, and other infectious diseases remains a national threat to the Togolese health infrastructure and national population. You will receive training on the various infectious diseases in Togo to better quipped your awareness raising engagement and activities with community members to facilitate prevention and mitigation measures.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

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 working in the health sector and one or more of the following criteria:

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field.
• 5 years of relevant work experience.

Desired Skills

Qualified candidates will have the following desirable skills:

• Experience working or volunteering alongside health organizations and/or community counterparts/members at a local health clinic.
• Co-coordinating and co-implementing locally prioritized health projects at community/district level.
• Knowledge of health promotion, community engagement/social mobilization best practices
• Knowledge of Monitoring, Reporting and Evaluation (MRE) tools.

Required Language Skills

There are over 40 local languages spoken in Togo. French is spoken by many but not all Togolese as a second language. Trainees will learn and improve their skills in both French and one of Togo’s local languages throughout their service.

Applicants who know some French or other romance language, as well as other language skills, are encouraged to apply.

Peace Corps Togo places great emphasis on language acquisition and intercultural immersion through-out the continuum of service. Trainees arriving in Togo are expected to be prepared to learn French, a local language of the assigned community, and the diverse cultures of Togo. Togo has dedicated Language and Cultural Facilitators (LCFs) who will work intensively with you during PST. An intermediate mid-proficiency in French must be attained before learning a local language. Local language acquisition is essential for community integration and relationship building with host community counterparts. Peace Corps Togo identifies a language tutor at each Volunteer site. Peace Corps Togo Volunteers are strongly encouraged to take advantage of all language acquisition opportunities throughout the service journey to advance professionally and strengthen relationship building with host community members.

Living Conditions

Togolese people are known for their generosity, hospitality, and humble nature. Peace Corps Togo has sustained 60 years of friendship with host governmental representatives, partner organizations and host communities, whom all regard Volunteers with respect and as co-development partners. In turn, Volunteers live and serve with equal respect and humility in their host communities. Volunteers find the opportunity to adapt and adjust to new ways of living to be both a challenge and rewarding experience. Peace Corps Togo staff provide training and coaching to facilitate Volunteer integration.

During Pre-Service Training (PST), Peace Corps Togo uses a Village Based Training (VBT) model. VBT allows Peace Corps Trainees to live and work in an environment that reflects the conditions of their permanent sites. Opportunities to speak French and the local language are greatly enhanced through VBT and Trainees’ interactions with Togolese community members. Integration within the host community is also accelerated which better prepares Trainees for their life in their community after swearing-In. In addition to language and cross-cultural skills, Trainees will also learn how to keep themselves healthy, safe and secure during their service as well as technical skills necessary for their work.

After swearing-in, Volunteers are assigned to their permanent communities, each having their own private residence (a bedroom and kitchen) within a shared compound. Living in a shared compound enriches Volunteers intercultural experience and facilitates the establishment of collaborative social positions with host communities. Shared compounds provide Volunteers with secure and supportive living environments including continued opportunities for language practice, learning and intercultural exchange.

Many Volunteers do not have electricity in their homes. Water sources in communities could be traditional wells or village pumps. Volunteers will be given a water filter and trained to properly treat drinking water. A Volunteer diet will consist of locally grown foods or a combination of local and (usually imported) preserved foods. A typical Togolese meal is corn ‘pâte’ (paste), with a spicy/hot sauce. Meat is available throughout Togo, as is dried fish, but fresh fish is only available in larger towns. Fruits and vegetables are seasonal, limiting the diversity of a vegetarian diet at certain times of year. However, tofu (soy) and beans are available throughout the country.

Peace Corps Togo welcomes Volunteers from diverse backgrounds and sexual orientations. However, the government of Togo has restrictive laws that prohibits certain sexual acts/orientations. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms and country-specific laws and exercise judgment and personal responsibility to protect their health, safety, and well-being and that of host community members. Due to safety and security concerns, LGBTQI+ Volunteers are advised not to serve openly in Togo. We recognize and acknowledge the difficulty of not having the liberty to openly express one’s sexual orientation. Peace Corps Togo staff are committed to support LGBTQI+ Volunteers amidst these challenges. Post has a Peer Support Network made up of current Volunteers to provide support to fellow Volunteers.

During PST and in-service training, Trainees and Volunteers will be trained to work in partnership with counterparts, fellow Volunteers, and host communities to facilitate, mitigate and/or manage potential safety and security and/or health related risks and challenges. These trainings permit Trainees and Volunteers to work alongside community members within the policies and rules of Peace Corps and the local and national laws of the government of Togo.

Serving in Togo

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Togo: 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

Togo is always eager to accept couples whenever possible. Your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions in Togo:
- AA 117 Sustainable Agriculture Educator or
- AA 171 English Teacher

Couples from differing sectors will live in different Pre-Service Training communities and with different home stay families. They can be together on weekends after training activities. Couples will be responsible for their own transportation between communities, which will not exceed 19 miles
Once in service at a permanent site, couples will live in the same accommodation.

Medical Considerations

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

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