Health and Wellness Promoter

Before You Apply

You can only have one active Peace Corps Volunteer application, so choose a position that best fits your skills and interest. You have the opportunity to tell us if you’d like to be considered for other openings and more about the ones that interest you most! See application process

Project Description

The main purpose of the Peace Corps’ Community Health Program is to provide technical assistance for health promotion and health education activities to the Ministry of Public Health and other local agencies’ initiatives. Volunteers work within the primary health care model under the coordinated efforts of health professionals, community leaders and other health organizations in order to link communities with invaluable resources and services.

Ecuador's health project has 3 goals: 1) to promote nutrition, 2) to improve water sanitation, and 3) to increase knowledge about healthy sexual and reproductive health behavior.

Ecuador faces a range of nutrition issues related to under-nutrition as well as obesity and high rates of diabetes. Activities that a Volunteer may work on related to nutrition include education, cooking demonstrations, and workshops.

Volunteers within the HIV/AIDS Prevention Education assignment provide educational and technical assistance for prevention and promotion of HIV services to expecting mothers and at-risk populations. A Volunteer’s work may be dedicated to working with Ecuadorian health specialists in preventing vertical (mother-to-child) transmission of HIV and/or assisting women, men, and children living with HIV, as well as their families, to have access to medical, psychological, and social services available in Ecuador. A Health/HIV/AIDS Extension Volunteer works with different communities and organizations to help them develop programs to improve their knowledge of sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS prevention, and anti-retroviral treatment.

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

• Master of Public Health degree or Master of Arts/Master of Science degree in Public Health
• Certified Physicians 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 important element of being a successful Community Health volunteer is an open, positive, and respectful attitude, along with a willingness to learn and adapt.

PC/Ecuador strongly prefers applicants who possess the following:

Knowledge: Experience or interest in needs assessments, food security, gardening, nutrition, wellness, hygiene, HIV/AIDS and STI prevention and education.

Skills: Strong facilitation skills, organizational skills, and assessment and leadership skills. Nursing experience is also desirable.

Attitudes: Willing to work with low literacy levels and
vulnerable populations, willing to live in rural, possibly
isolated communities.

Required Language Skills

Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position. A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college‐level coursework within the past 6 years C. Native/fluent speaker of Spanish
Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position. A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college‐level coursework within the past 6 years C. Native/fluent speaker of Spanish.Candidates who do not meet the language proficiency levels above can take the language placement exams to demonstrate their level of proficiency. Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam or a score of Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language.

Volunteers work in the Spanish Language. Trainees must demonstrate intermediate level written and oral proficiency after 10 weeks of language training.

Living Conditions

After Volunteers swear in, they are all required to live with Ecuadorian families in their community for at least the first six months of their service in Ecuador (this is in addition to the 10 weeks spent living with a family during training). Living with a family is the norm in Ecuador, even for adult professionals, until they are married and have a family of their own. Living with a family will increase a volunteer’s safety, credibility, community integration and acceptance.

While Health Volunteers work in both urban and rural areas in Ecuador, Volunteers are most likely to work in urban and semi-urban settings. It is very rare for volunteers in these projects to be assigned to rural locations. Volunteers working in certain areas in larger cities do not live in the communities where they work, but rather commute to and from the work-site each day. These Volunteers may feel challenged by not having a strong sense of community. On the other hand, some Volunteers report that they enjoy the sense of independence that comes from living in a larger city and not being in the "fish bowl" as they might be living in a smaller community.

Volunteers working with HIV positive populations, as well as marginalized urban populations, have faced struggles in the past as they can find themselves in very challenging and emotional environments.

While Ecuador is generally tolerant, and the PC/Ecuador office is an open, non-judgmental place for all Volunteers, values and mores concerning diversity (race, religion, sexual orientation, 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 diversity issues in their communities and host countries.

Volunteers who are 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 curiosity or unwanted attention from host country nationals. Ethnically, nationally, or racially diverse Americans may be asked where they are “actually from” or if they are “really” American. Many Volunteers have been able to turn these encounters into learning experiences, share American values, and deepen local community members’ understanding of Americans. Peace Corps/Ecuador has support groups in place for diverse volunteers and seeks to support the rich diversity of volunteers.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ecuador: 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 Ecuador can only accept couples who apply for positions within the same sector. You and your partner must apply for the same position to be considered as a couple.

Generally speaking, Volunteer couples should expect living conditions to be the same for them as for single Volunteers. Every effort will be made so that couples can live together with a single host family during Pre-Service Training, but there is always a small chance that they may have to live apart during Pre-Service Training due to space or other limitations.

Medical Considerations in Ecuador

  • Ecuador may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; insulin-dependent diabetes; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; 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, peanuts and shellfish.
  • After arrival in Ecuador, 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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