Community Health Services Promoter

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Peace Corps Mozambique’s community health project seeks 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 mix of training and other community-based activities, Volunteers focus on HIV prevention, care and treatment, malaria prevention, and supporting local health facilities and community-based organizations provide better services. Peace Corps Mozambique has developed these project goals in coordination with the Ministry of Health and other partners throughout the country.

Volunteers are placed with governmental health clinics, international and national non-governmental organizations, or community-based organizations working in HIV/AIDS and general health activities. Volunteers play the role of facilitator, mentor, educator, and catalyst for their institution, to help improve health outcomes in communities throughout the country. Volunteers will be involved in a wide range of activities, depending on the goals of their host institution, as well as their own interests and skills. Volunteer activities may include the following:

• Forming and strengthening community adherence and support groups for people living with HIV/AIDS
• Conducting general preventative health education activities
• Training local health staff on management, presentation, facilitation and customer service skills
• Designing and developing training support materials for community health workers
• Improving nutrition of people living with HIV/AIDS and the community at large
• Assisting health workers to improve systems and processes, including better data management and stronger planning and implementation
• Strengthening communication and coordination between government-run health facilities and community-based health services
• Supporting various health activities serving orphans and vulnerable children
• Working with youth in groups and clubs, through sports and other creative activities, to share health messages and encourage positive behavior and choices.

Peace Corps Mozambique promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers will receive training on gender challenges in their country and have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are 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.

Required Skills

Competitive 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

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition, Health, or 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
• 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 coursework within the past 8 years in a Romance language
B. Completed a minimum of 2 semesters of college level coursework within the past 6 years in a Romance language
C. Native/Fluent Romance language speaker

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.

Additional Language Information

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).

Volunteers must demonstrate an intermediate level of written and oral proficiency in Portuguese after 13 weeks of Pre-Service Training in order to swear in as 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. Most Volunteers, even those without electricity, have decent mobile phone service and access to internet through thumb drive modems or their smart phones.

Couples will live in the same house during Pre-Service Training and for their entire two years of service. They also must be willing to work together in same health center/organization.

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.

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.

Medical Considerations in Mozambique

  • Mozambique may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; cardiology; insulin-dependent diabetes; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; seizure disorder; urology; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanse.
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve:  gluten.  
  • After arrival in Mozambique, 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 also review Important Medical Information for Applicants [PDF] to learn about other health conditions typically not supported in Peace Corps service.

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