Community Health Facilitator

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Project Description

Community Health Facilitators work directly with health service providers and school professionals to promote healthy behaviors that will contribute to the reduction of malnutrition, anemia, and adolescent pregnancy in rural communities. They build the capacity of and enhance the efforts of health professionals and local community health promoters to encourage the adoption of healthy behaviors in the local population, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the Integrated Health Service Model, mandated by the Ministry of Health. The work will include visiting the local health facility on a daily basis to coordinate health education promotion activities that include training of local health service providers, local community health promoters, and school-based staff in rural settings.

Community Health Facilitators also leverage relationships and capacity-building methodologies to work effectively with health service providers and school professionals. Together, they will help deliver curriculum focused on sexual reproductive health and life skills, and to provide systems of support for youth to make positive lifestyle choices. This will entail collaborating with local high schools to form youth peer educator groups to help promote and sustain healthy behavior change, such as improved life skills, leadership, adolescent pregnancy, and STI prevention. Community Health Facilitators also work with teachers to identify and coach youth peer educator groups so that they take on leadership roles in supporting healthy choices among their peers. This will include using interactive and participatory training approaches to role model how to train sexual and reproductive health topics more effectively so teachers and youth peer educators learn how to apply these training methods in their work. There will be opportunities to develop public health monitoring and evaluation skills and facilitation techniques as trainers of trainers. Considering gender issues in project activities will be an important component of the job, including promoting equal access to services, training, and other activities.

There will also be numerous opportunities to participate in secondary activities. These may include (but are not limited to), organizing summer classes, organizing environmental awareness workshops, coaching sports, teaching English classes, or organizing community-wide activities.

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' professional work experience

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following desired skills:

• Master of Public Health degree or Master of Arts/Master of Science degree in Public Health

• Certified Physician Assistant or Public Health Nurse with expressed interest in public/community health

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition, Health, or Nursing

• Health education work or volunteer experience, such as sexual and reproductive health promotion, HIV/AIDS prevention, youth leadership, early childhood development and/or maternal and child care

• Experience and/or interest in working with youth, peer mentors, mothers with young infants and/or pregnant women

• Experience as trainer of trainers

• Experience training and/or coaching adults

• Experience working in the high school environment leading youth development programs and using non-formal education techniques

• Experience working with either Spanish-speaking populations, low-income rural populations, or working within a context of gender inequalities

• Six months of accumulated work experience (including volunteer experience)

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

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 Oral Proficiency Interview (ACTFL OPI).

All Volunteers learn and work in Spanish. Trainees must demonstrate an intermediate-mid level proficiency in Spanish after 11 weeks of pre-service training in order to swear-in as a Volunteer.

Some Volunteers may be placed in the Quechua speaking communities. To be considered for placement in one of these communities, Trainees must arrive to Post with a Spanish proficiency level of intermediate high or higher. While continuing to learn Spanish, these Trainees will receive 7 weeks of basic Quechua language training (equivalent to 40 hours of Quechua). Trainees studying Quechua should demonstrate novice-mid proficiency in Quechua after 11 weeks of Pre-Service training.

Living Conditions

Geography and Climate:
Peru has three primary geographic regions: Pacific coast, Andean mountains, and Amazon rainforest. The climatic conditions in each of these 3 regions are vastly different depending on the time of year. Pacific coastal sites can experience hotter, drier climates year round with little to no rainfall. The Andean mountain areas are often high altitude sites with cold weather, experiencing a wet and dry season. Amazon rainforest sites experience more rain throughout the year and sometimes hotter climates.

Community Health facilitators are primarily assigned to the Andean mountains of Peru where there is greater need for public health education. The project focus is working in small, rural sites where there is a high rate of malnutrition and anemia, poor hygiene practices and traditional gender roles. Most Community Health Facilitators will be assigned to small, rural communities with populations ranging from 500 to 2,000 people. Some Community Health Facilitators may be placed at the district level to work with the health center network that supports the rural communities in that area.

Host Family:
All Volunteers are required to live with a host family during the 11 weeks of pre-service training and the first 6 months of service. Couples will live together with the same host family. If appropriate housing is available, a Volunteer may request to live independently after the first 6 months of service. However, the home stay experience is often the most memorable and rewarding experience in a Volunteer’s service and for this reason most Volunteers continue to live with their host family for the entirety of service.

Peruvian diet varies based on geographic location, but in general will include a high-starch diet (potatoes, rice, or cassava) and potentially include an option of meat, chicken, or fish. Host families will prepare meals based on what’s available in their area and Volunteers should be prepared to eat with host families to show respect for their hospitality and culture.

All Volunteers will have access to regular/daily transportation options in their communities, however some may be required to walk up to an hour to gain access. For interregional travel, Volunteers typically take large, double-decker buses which provide a comfortable experience on long journeys.

Internet cafés are common in Peru, especially in urban and semi-urban areas. However, once a Volunteer is placed in their permanent community, they may or may not have access to internet. International telephone service to and from Peru is relatively good and there are various international phone cards and service plans available in the country. More information about communication options is provided during Pre-Service Training. A Volunteer’s ability to adapt to infrequent and inaccessible communication options is the key to a successful service.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Peru: 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

Peru cannot accommodate couples within the same sector. Therefore, your partner must qualify and apply for: Youth Development Facilitator

Couples will live together with a host family during Pre-Service Training but may be separated for certain field-based activities because they are in different project sectors. During service, couples will live together with the same host family. Couples will be separated for workshops and conferences for up to two weeks at a time due to in-service training events.

Medical Considerations in Peru

  • Peru may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: insulin-dependent diabetes; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; 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 Peru, 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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