Community HIV/AIDS Outreach Coordinator

Before You Apply

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Project Description

NOTE: Due to government visa requirements, to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa, you must submit FBI Background check documentation with your visa application. If you have you ever been cited for, arrested, charged with, or convicted of any offense, regardless of whether a citation, charge, arrest, or conviction has been sealed, dismissed, or expunged from your record (excluding minor traffic violations, traffic citations, and parking tickets), you should be aware that your application for a visa to South Africa may be rejected, and you may want to consider serving in a country other than South Africa.

The goal of the project is to prevent HIV infection, discrimination, stigma, and mitigate the impact of the epidemic among those affected and infected. All Volunteers will be directly involved with activities targeting vulnerable populations including women, youth, PLHIVs (People Living with HIV), and OVCs (Orphans and Vulnerable Children). Activities will focus on building capacities to enhance planning, programmatic coordination, implementation, and evaluation of evidence based interventions and programs with targeted populations. Tasks would include:

• leading community based assessments to understand the local epidemic
• identifying local counterparts to implement interventions to reduce HIV vulnerability and impact
• promoting linkages between community and clinical services

Volunteers will work with counterparts to implement interventions to improve access to HIV prevention, care, treatment, and reduce stigma and discrimination, gender based violence, and alcohol and substance abuse. Most volunteers will be posted with community based, non-governmental, or faith-based organizations at a rural level; some may be posted with local government municipalities.

Volunteer placement organizations vary greatly. Some Volunteers will be placed with NGOs that receive sufficient funding from various funding sources. Other organizations may be entirely voluntary in nature and exist on a very limited budget.

Many of these organizations also utilize volunteers to support capacity building within the organization, as well as to assist with tasks such as reporting. Volunteers will work a full week based on the standards of the organization. Additionally, community-based work often demands a commitment after-hours and on weekends. Volunteers will be expected to set an example of excellent workplace values and adopt positive behaviors.

Peace Corps South Africa promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in your country and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of the initiative, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.

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

Candidates with the following skills and competencies are preferred:

• 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

Skills working with vulnerable populations including women, youth and children are essential. Post strongly prefers Volunteers for this project to have community service experience in the areas of health and social services.

Because of post-apartheid reality of South Africa, Volunteers must be prepared to live and work in a ‘post-conflict’ area and be prepared to deal with the issues that come with such, including post-trauma stress and challenges and unresolved conflict that will present barriers to day-to-day work. Conflict mediation, as well as peace and alliance building skills, will be beneficial.

Required Language Skills

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

While applicants are not expected to know a South African language before arrival, learning the assigned South African language is an integral part of the Volunteers’ success, and provides a deeper and more rewarding experience for Volunteers. Thus, we expect that language learning be taken seriously during pre-service training. By the end of PST, Trainees are required to meet the intermediate-low level.

Living Conditions

Your site assignment is decided by the Peace Corps staff, who match the needs of the organizations and communities with your skills, prior experience, expressed interest, and your performance during pre-service training (PST).

It is the responsibility of host agencies and communities to provide Volunteer housing. Given the variety of host agencies, it should not be surprising that there is a great deal of variety in the housing provided to Volunteers. Because of shortages in housing or funds, most sites have limited alternatives for Volunteer housing. Typically, housing is located in the same community as the work site or in one of the communities served by the host organization. It is likely you will live with a host family throughout the duration of your service, but have your own room/dwelling separate from the host family or a room that is attached to the house with its own entrance and exit. In this situation volunteers are expected to behave in a manner that is culturally appropriate, including following South African norms of cleanliness. While a few Volunteers may have housing with running water, the majority do not. While most volunteers have electricity, it is often inconsistent, and there are some communities where there is no electricity at all. Volunteers should be willing and able to live in rural, low resourced conditions and at the level of their fellow community members.

During the site identification process, Peace Corps evaluates the selected housing, ensuring that it meets the required housing and comprehensive security assessment criteria. Volunteers are placed on the basis of their skills and the needs of the organization, not on the basis of housing priorities. Your living space will come with basic Peace Corps-required furnishings including a bed, mattress, chair, and dresser or closet. The Peace Corps will provide you with a settling-in allowance that will enable you to purchase sheets, blankets, pots and pans, and other household necessities.

Most, but not all, partners hosting Volunteers have formal office space, though it may be limited and often shared by several staff members and volunteers. Rudimentary office equipment is usually available. Computer equipment is available in some but not all partner organizations, and when it is available it is often outdated and poorly maintained. Most of the sites are within a manageable distance from a town where services such as internet, photocopying and mailing centers are available.

Volunteers should be able and willing to walk 3+ miles daily getting to and from work, markets, community activities, etc. Because of post-apartheid reality of South Africa, Volunteers must be prepared to live and work in a ‘post-conflict’ area and the issues that come with such; including post-trauma stress and challenges and unresolved conflict that will present barriers to day-to-day work. South Africa is an exceedingly diverse country with a complex history that continues to affect the country politically, economically, and socially. Living and working in South Africa means negotiating the extreme economic disparity on a daily basis. Volunteers must be aware of this and consider the stress and challenges of such.

While South Africa is generally tolerant, values and mores concerning sexual orientation and gender identity may be different from 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 trainees.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in South Africa: 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

South Africa is able to accommodate couples in the same sector that allow them to remain together during the entirety of Pre-Service Training and 2 years of service. Therefore, your partner must qualify for:

Community HIV/AIDS Outreach Coordinator

Couples may be asked to work in the same organization, with different defined roles, or may be placed with different organizations that are in close proximity. Couples will live together and will be in similar housing to other volunteers. Couples will either live with a host family or in their own separate building. Housing will be large enough to host two people.

Medical Considerations in South Africa

  • South Africa 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: Adderall and Vyvanse.   
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified. 
  • After arrival in South Africa, 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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