Community Health Specialist
The health project contributes to the Uganda Government Ministry of Health plan to address some of the most pressing needs in Uganda. Community Health Educators will be expected to contribute to Peace Corps Uganda Health goal of “Ending preventable child deaths and achieving a resilient and healthy generation of youth by 2030”. Volunteers will work with community-based and non-governmental organizations to address four major objectives:
1. End preventable childhood (age 0-5) deaths and keep them healthy.
2. Increase the resilience of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS improve their well-being including Orphans and Vulnerable Children, or OVC (age 0-18) and their families.
3. Increase the knowledge and skills of vulnerable youth (age 12-19) to remain HIV-free.
4. Improve community health service providers’ and/or school staff’s skills to address health needs of children and youth.
Volunteers collaborate with community members and their host organizations to identify community needs and implement appropriate interventions. As such, Volunteers will play the role of catalyst for a wide range of activities, not only limited by the creativity of the community and the Volunteers, but also guided by the project framework.
Volunteer primary activities include, but are not limited to:
• Formation and facilitation of youths’ sexual reproductive health and other related health interventions at clubs/small groups and or camps including menstrual hygiene management, comprehensive HIV prevention education (as a must), referral to HIV testing services and community linkages.
• Co-facilitate sports activities for health training targeting in and out of school youth in partnership with Grassroots Soccer.
• Co-facilitate groups for OVC and their care givers with evidence-based interventions and training curriculum, including sessions and activities on the following core areas: Nutrition education, psychosocial support, economic strengthening, life skills, HIV positive living, referral and linkages to health or social services (required). For groups of HIV-negative children and adolescents (or if the HIV-status is unknown), co-facilitated sessions with subject experts on the following: HIV prevention, life skills and mentorship, stigma and discrimination reduction using an evidence-based curriculum.
• Formation and facilitation of a series of Care Groups interventions with leader mothers/fathers to promote essential maternal and child health practices including: child immunization, nutrition, malaria prevention, breast feeding and hand washing.
• Conduct trainings to improve skills of community health service providers and/or school staff to improve on essential health care to the targeted populations.
• Coach and/or mentor community health service providers and/or school staff to improve their skills in essential elements of youth friendly and gender equitable health services.
• Community mobilization and sensitization for uptake of health services in early health seeking behaviors.
• Community-level health education and presentations for social and behavior change.
Peace Corps Uganda promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. For all the technical activities, Volunteers design interventions with a “gender lens.” Volunteers receive training on gender challenges and have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. As part of their work, Volunteers will also report on these efforts and their impact every trimester. Volunteers invited to this project are expected to work as professionals and will be periodically evaluated as such.
Following the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, health Volunteers shall contribute to the global fight against COVID-19 by leveraging its unique structure and reach to complement interagency and host country efforts to accelerate widespread and equitable access to and delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations.
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.
Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• 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
The most successful candidates will have a background or experience in one of the following:
• Health education, community mobilization, communication skills, and small group facilitation
• Working with children aged 0-17 or youth aged 12-19
• HIV prevention, care and support for children, youth and adults
• Basics in working with children
• Basic maternal and child health
• Designing for COVID- 19 prevention interventions and work with communities to increase demand creation for COVID-19 vaccination.
Required Language Skills
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
Trainees will receive 120 hours of training in the local language used in their assigned community. Each Trainee must attain an Intermediate-Low rating on the Language Proficiency Interview (LPI) before swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Structured instruction and extended tutoring among other accommodations are in place to support each Trainee achieve the language proficiency needed for community integration and effective work. It is important to note that each of the identified activities will require some level of language. Volunteers are therefore required to continue to improve their language skills throughout the course of their service. The set Benchmark at Close of Service (COS) is Advanced Low level, and soon the Benchmark at Mid-Service Training (MST) will be established and communicated accordingly.
Volunteers usually live in a rural or semi-urban community in accommodations provided by the host organization or a homestay. While housing seems modest by US standards, it is often provided at great expense to the host agency or community, given their limited means. Housing conditions vary according to organization resources, though it meets basic Peace Corps housing standards with some basic furnishings that may be supplemented with a modest settling-in allowance provided by Peace Corps. Most rural Volunteers are likely to have no running water and electricity, use a lantern or solar lamp for lighting and a stove for cooking. Outdoor bathing areas and pit latrines are likely in rural areas. Volunteers should come with modest expectations and a willingness to happily accept what your community has to offer.
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 with the family. The homestay accommodation provides an opportunity for Volunteers to be familiar with cultural norms in Uganda. In addition, some Volunteers will also live with home-stay families during their two years of service at site.
Cell phone service is available across the country. Wi-Fi and internet is not common in rural areas and usually unreliable if available. Cyber cafes and internet connectivity are available within urban areas. USB modems and smart phones are available for purchase and can be used for internet access in some places. Mail and post generally take a long time, but Volunteers can readily communicate through smart phones. Volunteers are encouraged to bring a laptop which will enable them to complete assignments off-line and upload them at a later date. Please note that tablets and smart phones are not an effective alternative.
Volunteers could be a 2-3 hours’ drive from another Volunteer in some areas, while others are much closer to each other. The site placement process will enable staff to determine where Volunteers are best suited based on their skill set and the organization needs. Getting around will be by walking, riding a bicycle for a distance of about 10 kilometers (about 6 miles), or using local transportation. Public transportation is available near most communities and allows for transit to and from the nearest urban areas or trading centers, though it is likely to be crowded, uncomfortable, and unreliable. Volunteers are provided funds to buy a local bicycle. Many of the community members use this mode of transportation, too. Due to safety risks, Peace Corps Uganda prohibits the use of public motorcycle taxis by Volunteers.
Uganda is a very conservative culture. As outsiders, Volunteers are often heavily scrutinized. Living and working productively in Uganda means being able to adjust to different cultural norms, as that can deeply impact community integration and credibility. Ugandans are interested in visitors and are welcoming and open when they feel mutual respect and understanding.
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 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).
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, build meaningful friendships with host country nationals, and feel rewarded by their service.
Serving in Uganda
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Uganda: 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.
Peace Corps Uganda accepts couples. Your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions:
• Agribusiness Specialist
• Business Development Advisor
• Literacy Teacher/Specialist
Couples will live within the same host family and community during Pre-Service Training (PST), but can be separated for certain technical trainings throughout PST depending on need.
During service, couples expect to periodically attend project-specific trainings, medical appointments, committee meetings, and other programming meetings separately as needed.
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/.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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