Community Health Facilitator

Project Description

Peace Corps The Gambia's health project seeks to work alongside host country counterparts to promote positive health-related practices with a focus on youth, women, and children.

Volunteers work alongside community members and with the support of counterparts to co-develop effective and appropriate approaches towards the goal of:
• Sharing/or exchanging best practices with community members on how to promote maternal, neonatal and children's health
• Exchanging knowledge with community members on effective infant and young child feeding practices. For example, the benefits of breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life.
• Participate in awareness raising activities for the prevention of malaria. For example, the potential benefits of using insecticide treated bed nets.
• Sharing about the WASH method (Water and Sanitation Hygiene) and assisting with the construction of community water and sanitation systems
• Creating linkages to youth friendly services
• Sharing best practices on non-communicable disease prevention

Peace Corps The Gambia promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers will receive technical and cultural training on gender challenges in country and will have the opportunity to work alongside counterparts and community members to co-implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate.

During service, Volunteers will look for ways to work with community members and be encouraged to look for ways to support existing community-based promising practices that promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency.

As part of their work, Volunteers will monitor and report on their efforts, impact, and the ways in which counterparts and community members contributed to the success of the project.

Peace Corps enjoys a long and positive history with The Gambia. The first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in 1967, and since then over 1,800 Volunteers have worked with Gambian men and women to make a lasting impact on their communities.

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 working in the health sector, with youth 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

Experience in any of the following areas is preferred:
• Strong knowledge of a range of community health issues (Maternal, Child and Neonatal Health, Malaria, Nutrition, Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs), Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) and Youth)
• Experience teaching life-skills and behavior change

Required Language Skills

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

While the official language of The Gambia is English, Volunteers are expected to learn the predominant local language of the village to which they will be assigned. Instruction in a local language will be provided during Pre-Service Training. Most of the people Volunteers will work with may not speak English, so it is extremely important to understand and be able to communicate in the local language.

Living Conditions

Most Volunteers are assigned to remote, rural communities, without electricity, where transportation can be infrequent and unreliable. Volunteers typically live in simple, private quarters on the property of a host family for your entire service. Houses in rural areas are usually made of mud block and are round with thatched roofs. They are generally situated in or near a family compound which contains several other such houses. Volunteers have a private pit latrine, and will likely need to fetch water from the village water source, up to 300 yards away. You may need to walk or bike up to 3 miles to access public transportation and up to 6 miles to a larger town for shopping. All incoming Volunteers are placed in rural environments.
There are a few internet cafes in some of the larger towns, but access is slow, patchy and depends on unreliable electricity. There is internet access at the Peace Corps office near the capital, the Peace Corps Training Center in Massembeh, and in the transit houses on either side of the country. Communication between staff and Volunteers, as well as among Volunteers, is mainly by phone and text (you will receive a simple cell phone for local texting and calling on arrival if you do not bring your own).
Many vegetarians have managed to maintain a healthy diet here. However, as the supply and range of vegetables in the country is limited, this can present challenges and requires some flexibility. It is very difficult for Volunteers to persist with a vegan diet throughout their service.

The Gambia is a small country. Contact between Staff and Volunteers is high and this is appreciated by the Volunteer community.

The Gambia has some 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 the country as a whole. Staff will address this topic during Pre-Service Training, and identify support mechanisms available for incoming trainees and Volunteers throughout service.

Serving in The Gambia

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in The Gambia: 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

The Gambia can accommodate couples where one person serves in the Health sector and the other serves in the Agriculture sector. Therefore, your partner must qualify and apply for:

Agriculture and Forestry Extension

Couples will live and serve together in a common site that might be in either a larger community or in a village where one would primarily work in a neighboring village.

The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process recruiters and placement officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities. For more information please visit: https://www.peacecorps.gov/faqs/lgbtq/.

Medical Considerations

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


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