Community Services Volunteer

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Peace Corps domestically and internationally.

The information provided for each assignment is subject to change, including the tentative departure date.

Project Description

The CYF (Children, Youth, and Family) project works closely with the Philippine Government’s Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in implementing youth and community services. Volunteers will have an extraordinary opportunity to contribute in the empowerment of the communities that need it most. CYF Volunteers have a direct impact on the lives of the youth who are on the brink of losing hope. Volunteers will be able to motivate and inspire young people to dream and become a part of the solution and will play an active role in the development of the lives of youth and their communities.

CYF Volunteers help improve the quality of life of the Filipino youth and other populations served by DSWD. This is done through youth empowerment projects and enhancing the capacity of youth service providers. CYF Volunteers work alongside youth development professionals and youth leaders to co-facilitate sessions on life skills, financial literacy and employability. They also work with youth to conduct community assessments and create volunteer opportunities for youth in their schools and communities. Additionally, CYF Volunteers co-facilitate gender sensitivity trainings, support the organization of gender advocacy youth groups, and mentor youth in the design and implementation of gender advocacy projects. CYF Volunteers may work with a Non-Government Organization (NGO); Local Government Unit (LGU); DSWD-managed Regional Shelter for children, women and youth; or other organization depending on their strengths, skills and experience. Volunteers may work with high school and college aged youth by conducting life skills/Youth Development Sessions (YDS) and other developmental activities.

Volunteer activities include, but are not limited to: facilitating workshops and seminars for young people, Filipino youth development professionals, and community members; developing and leading youth associations/groups in facilitating youth camps and other community projects; assisting in event planning, strategic planning, project and grant development, writing, and monitoring and evaluation; and assisting organizations in implementing health and wellness activities for children such as handwashing and promoting healthy lifestyles. Volunteers in this assignment must also expect to work directly with youth in student councils, youth councils and other formal or informal youth groups. Volunteers may also initiate and organize activities related to other community members’ interests and needs (e.g. child protection councils, Family Development Sessions for parents). Additionally, CYF Volunteers will play a crucial role in supporting youth who are struggling to cope with the impact of the pandemic such as psycho-social services, remedial classes, digital learning and innovative ideas on blended learning. CYF Volunteers will also have a chance to assist youth service providers in strategizing creative approaches in supporting children and youth in the communities. There is also a unique opportunity for the CYF Volunteers to help enhance or establish economic related programs for youth such as vocational and livelihood development, financial literacy and employability.

Community integration is an indispensable part of Volunteer work. To be successful in service, Volunteers must be accepted by their communities. The responsibility for integration rests on Volunteers and host communities, and that includes learning the local language. During Pre-Service Training, Peace Corps Philippines provides tools and strategies for Volunteers to enhance their community integration and language acquisition. The Volunteers’ main assignment during the first three months is community integration. By devoting attention to community integration at site and to language learning, Volunteers lay the groundwork for their future community work.

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 one or more of the following criteria:
• BA/BS in any discipline
• 5 years’ professional work experience.
Due to Philippines government visa requirements and the government’s current strong stance and action on combatting drug production, distribution/trafficking, and use, applicants will not be considered for Peace Corps positions in the Philippines at this time if they have ever been convicted of any crime, even if it was expunged or sealed, and even if they otherwise would meet the standards for legal clearance to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer more generally.

Desired Skills

Highly desired skills for this position include:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Social Work, Sociology, Human Development, Psychology, Counseling, or Community Development
• Background in mental health support for children and youth, as well as their service provider.
• Coaching and mentoring skills.
• Passion for addressing the needs of the most marginalized at-risk youth populations including those who have been sexually and/or physically abused, juvenile offenders, street children, out-of-school youth, and those in extreme poverty, etc.
• Strong interpersonal, and social skills especially in establishing rapport with youth populations
• An interest in Filipino culture and willingness to integrate into a Filipino community
• Experience in community development, youth empowerment, team building and leadership development
• Strong facilitation skills

Required Language Skills

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

Filipino (a dialect of Tagalog) is the national language of the Philippines. Volunteers must demonstrate an intermediate level in Tagalog by week 8 of Pre-Service Training. Starting the last 2 weeks of Pre-Service Training, most Volunteers will start to learn a secondary local language associated with their assigned site. A Volunteer’s dedication to learning language will set them up for success during their service. Having this skill will help Volunteers better integrate into their community. Additional language resources to improve Volunteers’ local language skills will be offered at Peace Corps training events and through independent tutoring during service.

Living Conditions

Housing:

Housing conditions for Volunteers vary widely depending upon their community and can range from heavily urban to very rural. In underdeveloped areas, housing typically is a hollow concrete block or a mix of concrete, wood and bamboo structure. In more developed areas, housing can be either the same or built with full concrete and modern design. Most houses have running water and electricity.

Host Family Situation:

Volunteers will live for eight weeks in a training center during Pre-Service Training. Typically, Volunteers live with host families for the first four months in their permanent communities. After this period, Volunteers may choose to continue living with a host family or move into their own rented accommodations. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to continue living with host families to strengthen their language fluency and integration into the community.

Cultural Challenges:

Volunteers will encounter very different social and cultural norms that require patience, and flexibility. For example, the American sense of privacy in terms of information-sharing or physical space does not exist in many Philippine communities. Volunteers are frequently asked personal questions, e.g. one’s religion and marital status, and people will wonder why a Volunteer might want quiet moments alone.

Some American women may experience difficulties in adjusting to the limitations on women that are imposed by the culture. Views and attitudes about what is proper for girls and women can be very traditional and conservative such as being home by sunset and having a host family member or relative accompany them when going out with male friends or community members. Philippine families and co-workers automatically take great responsibility for protecting female Volunteers.

Diversity Challenges:

Volunteers 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. This can be uncomfortable, but Volunteers are encouraged to use these moments as opportunities to deepen local community members’ understanding of U.S. diversity by sharing their values and experiences. The Peace Corps recognizes that this is challenging. Staff will address identity related concerns during Pre-Service Training. There are support networks within Peace Corps Philippines including trained staff that can advise Volunteers on cross cultural integration throughout their service.

Transportation:

There may be limitations for taking public transportation, due the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers will need to demonstrate added flexibility and understanding, as evolving COVID-19 mitigation policies may limit available modes of transportation. Volunteers should feel comfortable walking up to 30 minutes to reach their work site, and may be required to bike up to 6 miles a day in the heat. Typically, the most common means of transportation are jeepneys, buses and minibuses.

Climate:

The climate of the Philippines is tropical and characterized by relatively high temperatures and high humidity. Generally, the country experiences two major seasons: (1) the rainy season from June through November, and (2) the dry season from December to May.

Dress:

Philippine culture is conservative with strict norms related to appearance. Therefore, Volunteers must be prepared to abide by these guidelines to ensure a successful service. Volunteers with visible body piercings or tattoos will need strategies to conceal them, especially when they are teaching. Volunteers are looked upon as role models in the community and are therefore expected to be neat, clean and well-groomed even in informal occasions. Men should be clean shaven and may not have visible piercing especially if they are working in schools.

Serving in Philippines

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Philippines: 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.

Couples Information

The Philippines welcomes and can accommodate cross-sector couples. Your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions:

Primary Education Program Facilitator
Youth Development Facilitator

Volunteers serving as a couple will be living together during Pre-Service Training. As a couple, they will go to the same community for Peace Corps service after training. Peace Corps Philippines has sites available for couples who are married or in a domestic partnership. In the Philippines, there is an expectation that couples are married and there will be many questions about the marriage. (When did you get married? How many kids do you have? When will you have children? Etc.) The staff will guide the couples on how to approach living together in a site and how to respond to questions.

Medical Considerations

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


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