Health Extension Volunteer
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!
Volunteers may be required to engage and/or jump start community health and water and sanitation committees that often need additional assistance and training in project design and management, and incorporating sustainability plans into the construction of small scale, community-based water and sanitation systems.
Volunteers are expected to build a foundation for activities that can be sustained by the community after the Volunteer departs.
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelors of Science degree in any field, or;
• 5 years’ professional work experience
• Training, facilitation and capacity building skills to help local health service providers and village health committees conduct their own health education activities
• Ability to live and work in an isolated, undeveloped, rural tropical island environment with limited resources
• Strong interpersonal skills and the willingness/ability to build good working relationships with local people, including identify non-traditional leaders or individuals who can assist in supporting sustainable work activities
• Ability to adapt to unforeseeable changes such as personnel or policy changes
• A willingness to develop and implement multiple alternative strategies to achieve goals
• A willingness to learn more than one language (i.e. National dialect and specific island dialects)
Required Language Skills
Additional Language Information
Isolation – Volunteers serve on 14-18 different islands. Volunteers are clustered but often separated by several hours of walking or an arduous truck ride. Air travel by small plane is required to reach the majority of Volunteer sites. Travel between islands is expensive thus Volunteers seldom come to the capital city, Port Vila.
Underdeveloped Infrastructure – Vanuatu’s transportation infrastructure is mostly undeveloped; many islands only have one road and most roads are not paved. Travel by small boat or truck is required for almost all sites. Walking on dirt roads or single track is also a common mode of Volunteer transportation. Volunteers should be able to swim and feel comfortable traveling in small boats for short (5-10 minutes) or long distances (2-3 hours).
Rural – Electricity may be provided by a school generator while often solar panels are the only option. Stores in villages have very limited goods and no services (banks, mail, or internet). Stores in provincial centers have limited goods but will have an ATM/bank branch, post office, and slow internet. Transportation from site to a Provincial center may be unreliable.
Tropical – The weather is hot and humid. Cyclones and earthquakes are expected. Severe weather may limit or interrupt transportation (rough seas, heavy rain, or flooding). Seasonal tropical fruit is abundant; only a handful of Volunteers have access to refrigeration. Most island families grow food in their gardens.
Housing- All Health Volunteers will live in or near the compound of a host family and should be prepared to interact with this family in a way that demonstrates respect, equity and facilitates community integration. This will be discussed in more detail during your Pre-Service Training. Most Volunteers don't have running water in their house, electricity or internet connectivity.
Dress- Dressing appropriately will help you gain respect in your host community, facilitate integration, and increase your credibility and effectiveness. For teaching in a classroom or working in an office setting, men should wear a nice collared shirt and trousers. Women usually wear nice blouses and dresses or skirts. All skirts and dresses should be below the knee. Inappropriate dress may attract unwanted attention.
Religion- Longstanding traditions and customs are still strong outside of the major population centers. Christianity has been thoroughly integrated into Vanuatu culture since Christian missionaries first arrived in the middle of the nineteenth century. Village church attendance will likely be expected within communities, especially in rural communities. Volunteers will not be pressured to join in religious traditions, though are encouraged to seek to understand and respect the importance religion hold in the lives of many Ni-Vanuatus.
Demographic groups/Aspects of Diversity - Through inclusive recruitment and retention of staff and Volunteers, the Peace Corps seeks to reflect the rich diversity of the United States and bring diverse perspectives and solutions to development issues. Peace Corps/Vanuatu provides support to a diverse group of Volunteers LGBTQ individuals. LGBTQ Volunteers have served successfully in Vanuatu; although it is not illegal in Vanuatu, it is often not accepted in Vanuatu Society.
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 a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention from host country nationals. Please be aware that American concepts of politeness and appropriate behavior are not universal.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Vanuatu: 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 Vanuatu
- Vanuatu 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; ongoing behavioral health support; ophthalmology; seizure disorder; urology.
- 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: shellfish.
- After arrival in Vanuatu, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and 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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