Food Security Volunteer

Before You Apply

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Project Description

• The Food Security Project aims to improve the food and nutrition security of rural families. The target communities of the project are rural smallholder farming families, particularly women and children. The project focuses on nutrition-sensitive agriculture

- The key components of the framework are soil conservation/management, bio-intensive gardening, fruit tree cultivation, and nutrition education. The project framework has also outlined four anchor activities - composting, establishment of fruit tree nurseries, improved cook stove, and mushroom cultivation. You will be a catalyst on a wide range of activities including but not limited to:
- Train and coach smallholder farming families to implement bio-intensive gardening techniques to meet the daily requirement of vitamins and minerals;
- Train smallholder farming families on improved composting methods and green manure;
- Assist smallholder farming families to establish a vegetable nursery;
- Train smallholder farming families on integrated pest management and use of bio-pesticides;
-Train smallholder farming families on seed production and guide them to establish seed banks;
- Conduct nutrition education with community people and school students;
- Train and follow up with smallholder farming families to adopt improved nutrition-related behaviors;
- Train smallholder farming families on fruit tree nursery establishment, vegetative propagations (grafting, budding and layering) and promote fruit tree cultivation;
- Train smallholder farming families on mushroom cultivation;
- Assist smallholder farming families on construction of improved cook stoves; and/or.
- Establish and/or maintain an agriculture/nutrition youth club at a local school.

Peace Corps Volunteers will be asked to incorporate their food security training to focus on young women and girls' empowerment. The involvement may include leading and/or participating in women and girls’ empowerment camps, fostering discussion of barriers to adolescent girls in school attendance, and/or related activities in the communities' food security projects.

There is good potential for Volunteers to contribute to improving the food security situation of rural community people; however, the work is not structured. We encourage Volunteers to make their day-to-day work more structured through proper planning and developing work plans with counterparts. Working on a food security project in a rural area requires motivation and commitment.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working in agriculture and meet one or more of the following criteria:

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field before April 2018


Most competitive candidates will meet or exceed the following criteria:

• 5 years of professional work experience in large-scale commercial or family-run businesses including vegetable gardening, nursery work/management, tree planting, and/or tree care. Candidates must have a strong interest in nutrition education, the promotion of improved nutrition related practices, and behavior change.

• Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree in agronomy, horticulture, or other agricultural discipline; or

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with one year of farm experience; or

• Bachelor of Science degree in botany or entomology with 6 months practical experience growing vegetables or fruit or working in a nursery; or

• Bachelor of Science in biology including 15 semester/22 quarter hours in an agriculture science, botany, entomology, with 6 months practical experience growing vegetables or fruit, or working in a nursery.

Desired Skills

The most successful Volunteers will be creative and flexible with a talent for, and an interest in, working with community members and groups to promote bio-intensive gardening, fruit tree cultivation, and have an interest in incorporating nutrition-related practices and possible education into their daily routines.

Required Language Skills

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

Additional Language Information

Volunteers will be doing the majority of their work in Nepali. Volunteers are expected to obtain an intermediate-mid score in Nepali by the end their initial three months of training (PST) and to commit to improving their language throughout their service.

Living Conditions

• Housing: Houses identified for PCVs are generally built of bricks, mud, and/or cement with the bathroom and toilet either separate or attached. All houses have passed earthquake-safe inspections. Expect to use a “squat” style toilet throughout your service.

• Host Family Situation: You will live with a Nepali host family throughout Pre-Service Training and two years of your service. You will eat with the family, but later in your service, you may also be able to shop and cook for yourself. Apart from having your own room, you will probably have very little privacy. Living with a host family can increase your language learning and community integration.

• Diversity Challenges: Attitudes in Nepal toward LGBT-identified Volunteers are similar to those experienced in the United States. In some villages, there is greater acceptance of LGBT-identified individuals than might be expected. However, LGBT-identified Volunteers who are open about their sexual identity in a traditional Nepali community might find added difficulty integrating into their communities and being successful at their worksites.

• Transportation: Some Volunteers have to walk 2-5 miles in the course of everyday life. Volunteers also use bicycles, jeeps, and buses as means of transportation. The availability of public transportation depends upon each Volunteer’s individual site but is generally low.

• Climate: Most of the Volunteer worksites are located at an altitude ranging from 300 m to 2000 m above sea level. Nepal has four climatic seasons: cold, hot, monsoon, and cool. The average temperature ranges from 23-35 degree Celsius (73-95 degree Fahrenheit) in summer and 5-20 degree Celsius (41-68 degree Fahrenheit) in winter. There is monsoon season from June to September and it rains almost every day. The average rainfall in Nepal during Monsoon is around 350 mm.

• Dress: Nepalis dress professionally at work. Women wear kurta suruwal (sari) or a long skirt with blouse and/or sweater or shawl when it is cold. Men wear trousers, and button down shirts with collars. Male Volunteers may want to bring a pair of nice pants, a jacket, and a tie for special functions. A well-groomed and clean appearance is very important to Nepalis. Shorts, flip-flops, sleeveless shirts, unruly long hair, or an untidy appearance can cause people to confuse you for a tourist and not accept you in their community. Volunteers with visible body piercings or tattoos will need strategies to conceal them. Likewise, having visible body piercings may make it more difficult to integrate into your host community. Keep in mind that Peace Corps/Nepal staff may ask you to be flexible with regard to personal appearance to facilitate integration in training and during your service, including, but not limited to covering all tattoos and removing piercings. Remaining flexible is the key to Peace Corps service in any country. Applicants should be aware that in Nepal, hair such as long beards and long hair on men are unusual. Male Volunteers are required to shave/trim their facial hair and cut their long hair to no more than collar-length to facilitate integration.

• Physical Requirement: Volunteers must be able to walk between 2-5 miles daily over unpaved/dirt/gravel roads. It is also recommended, but not required, that Volunteers know how to ride a bike, and are comfortable doing so, before arriving in Nepal. Volunteers need to be prepared to use “squat-style-“toilets for the duration of their service.

• Most Nepalis eat rice, flat breads, and legumes as their staple. Corn, potatoes, or other tubers are also eaten where available. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are consumed when available. Bread and noodles are available in most towns. Imported goods are available in the cities, but they are expensive. Meat is consumed but not often, and maintaining a vegetarian diet would not be as challenging as it would be in other countries.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Nepal: 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 Nepal

  • Nepal may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; cardiology; dermatology; insulin-dependent diabetes; gastroenterology; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; some types of gynecologic support; seizure disorder; 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: gluten.
  • After arrival in Nepal, 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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