Health & HIV/AIDS Capacity Building – Local Government Volunteer

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

Botswana is one of the hardest hit countries in the HIV/AIDS global epidemic with prevalence at 17%. There are 378,184 people currently living with HIV and 13,797 new infections each year (Botswana PEPFAR Strategic Direction Summary 2018). Under its Third Botswana National Strategic Framework for HIV & AIDS 2016-2022 (NSF III), the Government of Botswana embraces Treat All as a mechanism for ending the epidemic by 2030 with no new infections by 2023. The strategy calls for increased community-level service delivery and targeted interventions aimed at sub-populations, including adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), and high prevalence geographic areas. Peace Corps Botswana has partnered with the Government of Botswana and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to strengthen Botswana’s response to the HIV epidemic. The focus of the Health Project and this assignment is system strengthening for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for youth ages 10-24 years.

As a Local Government Capacity Building Volunteer, you will be assigned to a District AIDS Coordinator’s (DAC) office, responsible for coordinating the district HIV response, or a Social and Community Development (S&CD) office, responsible for community development and social welfare programs, including orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and community home-based care for People Living with HIV.

If placed in a DAC office, you will work alongside the District AIDS Coordinators and the Assistant District AIDS Coordinator to coordinate the development of an annual Evidence-Based Plan (EBP) for the district HIV response using, identifying and analyzing available data during the planning process. You will also work with the District Multi-Sectoral AIDS Committee (DMSAC) and sub-committees, including civil society organizations supported by the DMSAC to identify organizational gaps and to facilitate relevant trainings; as well as assisting in implementing, coordinating and monitoring the implementation of HIV programs, projects, and strategies as articulated by the evidence based plan.

If placed in an S&CD office, you will work alongside social workers to provide care and support to families affected by HIV and AIDS illness and death. You may assist in identifying families in need and linking them to social services in the community and strengthening social service systems. You may work in the Social Welfare section (e.g., OVC, community home-based care, working with already established community support groups) and/or the Community Development (e.g., home economics, poverty eradication), sections of the S&CD office. Volunteers in S&CD offices are also instrumental in data and database management.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working with Youth in Development 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

Competitive candidates will meet one or more of the following criteria:
• Master of Public Health degree or Master of Arts/Master of Science degree in Public Health
• Certified Physician Assistant or Public Health Nurse with expressed interest in public/community health
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition, Health, or Nursing

Additional desired skills include:
• Degree in social services or community development
• Master's in Social Work or a related field
• Experience working with youth, especially youth health services
• Experience working in a government office
• Experience working in or with non-governmental organizations
• Experience in HIV and AIDS programs, social work, counseling, project planning, implementation and coordination, and monitoring and evaluation
• Experience in overall organizational management

Required Language Skills

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

Trainees receive intensive training in Setswana, the national language, and must attain an “intermediate low” level by the end of Pre-Service Training. Business is often conducted in English, the official language, but true successful service and integration only happens when the Volunteer learns Setswana. The prevalence of English makes language learning a challenge, thus trainees and Volunteers must actively pursue their language learning to succeed.

Living Conditions

Botswana is blessed with beautiful weather with up to 340 days of sunshine each year! You will arrive at the end of winter, which is windy, sunny and warm. The rainy season follows in October when temperatures start to rise. October to February is the hottest period. Spring follows in April and winter begins in May. Summers are very hot, reaching temperatures into the 90s, and winters are cold with freezing temperatures at times. Botswana is an arid country characterized by lack of surface water, low humidity and dry heat. Rainfall is low and the country experiences periodic and prolonged drought.

During Pre-Service Training, you will live with a local family who will share Botswana culture and traditions, teach you how to manage village life and practice speaking Setswana with you. During your service, you will live in accommodations identified by your organization and approved by Peace Corps. You will have a modest dwelling that may be on a family compound. Volunteers in rural towns may have electricity and running water, while this may not be available in rural villages. You will be matched to your community based on your knowledge, skills and experience. You must be prepared to accept the living conditions in your community, as you will be living under the same conditions as the people with and for whom you work. Some communities are isolated with the closest shopping up to 2 hours away.

As a Volunteer in Botswana, you will be assigned to an organization and work a full week based on the hours of the organization. The typical work day is 7:30 am to 4:30 pm. You will be expected to dress professionally and abide by your host organization’s dress code.

While Botswana is generally tolerant, values and mores concerning sexual orientation and gender identity are more conservative than in the U.S. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms, and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and host countries. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during Pre-Service Training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees. It is not a crime to identify as non-heterosexual in Botswana and the decision to serve openly is left to each individual Volunteer. Many LGBTQ Volunteers have served successfully in Botswana.

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 works diligently to identify and train host country partners on the rich diversity of the United States. Still, when engaging with some individuals, Volunteers who are of an American racial or ethnic minority, have visible disabilities or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the majority of their country of service may be mistaken for other nationalities and/or experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention or even discrimination from host country nationals. Furthermore, these Volunteers may not be treated with the same level of respect as other Volunteers, and may even be told that they are not “genuine Americans.” Many Volunteers have been able to turn these encounters into learning experiences, sharing American values and deepening local community members’ understanding of Americans. Peace Corps Botswana works diligently to provide a supportive environment for Volunteers when coping with these challenges.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Botswana: 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 Botswana welcomes couples serving together in the health sector. Therefore, your partner must qualify for and apply to one of the following positions:

• Health & HIV/AIDS Capacity Building – Civil Society Volunteer
• Health & HIV/AIDS Capacity Building – Clinic & Health Team Volunteer

Couples will have the same living conditions as other volunteers and will be living together during Pre-Service Training and service. Going through the Peace Corps experience as a couple allows for ample growth in trust, confidence, and communication. There will be times when you will both need each other’s support. Understand that you will need to put in an extra effort to be an ally to your partner. Although you will not be able to completely eradicate many of these challenges, they can be coped with and overcome with time, patience, and most importantly, a good sense of humor.

Medical Considerations

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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