Environment and Food Security Educator

Before You Apply

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Project Description

As an Environment and Food Security Educator, you will help to address some of Malawi’s most critical environmental and food security issues. Working as a representative of a community agricultural extension office (known as an Extension Planning Area -- EPA), you will teach environmental education at primary and secondary schools in your community to foster your students’ knowledge of and values for environmental conservation and dietary diversity. You and your students will plant trees and conduct lively community campaigns to promote environmental awareness throughout your community. The central focus of your work with students will be the construction of school gardens that teach and demonstrate sustainable agricultural techniques, such as composting, intercropping, bio-intensive planting, and organic pest management. You will work with your students and school to devise a system to share the produce grown from these gardens and encourage the students to use the sustainable agricultural techniques at their homes to support their own families.

Additionally, you will educate mothers in your community on the importance of nutrition and dietary diversity by promoting production and consumption of vitamin rich foods. You will work together with EPA staff create a demonstration garden at the Extension Planning Area office to teach mothers how to grow and consume nutritious foods at their own homes. You will also work with them to grow trees at their homesteads that can provide nutritious fruits or firewood fuel for cooking and help them to use less firewood by working with them to construct fuel-efficient cook stoves with locally-found materials.

This work is vitally important, but not easy. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, and people have very few resources with which to work. During the planting and harvesting times of the year, you may work very long hours. In the rainy season, you may have a slower pace due to the fact that most of the people you work with being subsistence farmers will be heavily engaged in their fields. Use the time to engage your community members on HIV and malaria prevention activities and gender equity issues. Additionally, most of the work may be physically demanding. But, remember, you will never conduct your work alone. The friendliness of its people has given Malawi the title of the “Warm Heart of Africa.” You’ll always be working alongside the people of your community to create a better and more secure environment for themselves and their children.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working in agriculture 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

Applicants with bachelor’s degrees in environmental sciences, forestry, ecology, agriculture, natural resources are strongly encouraged to apply.

Previous experience in gardening, farming, natural resource management, environmental education, conservation and/or a demonstrated commitment to community development are highly valued. Ideal candidates also have experience in training and facilitation as well as monitoring and evaluation.

Required Language Skills

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

There are no language requirements before arrival in Malawi. At the end of Pre-Service Training, Trainees must achieve a benchmark level of local language ability before being sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Living Conditions

Environment and Food Security Educators are based in rural villages throughout Malawi and live with limited resources and infrastructure. Volunteers live in houses that are comparable to their Malawian neighbors, constructed of bricks with concrete flooring and corrugated metal roofs.

Like most rural residences in Malawi, the homes of Peace Corps Volunteers typically do not have electricity or running water. Volunteers utilize candles and solar lamps for lighting, wood for cooking, and collect water from a nearby communal pump. Toilets are typically in the form of outdoor latrines, or squat toilets, and bathing is done using a bucket. Mobile phone coverage is available, but spotty in some areas. Basic necessities such as vegetables, grains, and household goods can be purchased in the community or at a nearby market town.

Travel in Malawi can be strenuous, involving long bus rides on dirt roads. Peace Corps Volunteers may walk long distances on a regular basis or cycle between villages for their work. Peace Corps can provide a bike to assist with these daily routines.

Peace Corps Volunteers are strongly advised to bring a laptop to Malawi in order to complete required reports and work during their service

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Malawi: 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

Peace Corps Malawi can accommodate couples. Your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following positions in Malawi:

- Youth Health Advisor

or

- High School English Teacher

Couples have the same living conditions as single Volunteers.

Medical Considerations in Malawi

  • Malawi may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; cardiology; dermatology; gastroenterology; some types of gynecologic support; insulin-dependent diabetes; mammography; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; seizure disorder; urology; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified. 
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: peanuts.
  • After arrival in Malawi, 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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