Literacy Education Facilitator

Before You Apply

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Project Description

The Vanuatu Ministry of Education has identified Literacy as a national priority. Volunteers involved in this project will focus on building the capacity of students, teachers, and community members. Working alongside primary school teachers will be central to Volunteers’ service through co-teaching in the classroom, designing innovative lesson plans and co-facilitating teacher workshops. During Pre-Service training (PST), Volunteers learn how to incorporate alternative teaching methodologies, classroom management techniques, and computer skills into the Vanuatu education system in order to build the capacity of local counterparts. After identifying groups of underachieving students, Volunteers will establish systems to directly improve literacy skills. They may also provide further Information Communication Technology (ICT) support to teachers, students, and school administrators. Lastly, Volunteers help to develop school resources such as libraries and computer labs to provide a more well-rounded learning experience for students. Volunteers will be assigned to one school but may work with several institutions.

Peace Corps Vanuatu responds to requests for assistance from the most remote corners of the country. Volunteers should expect to live in communities with limited resources ranging from remote and sparsely populated rural areas to densely populated provincial centers. Most Volunteers live on outer islands. All Volunteers are expected to reach out beyond the school grounds and engage the community. Volunteers may take on secondary projects in areas such as: water, sanitation, climate change, gender equality, youth development, or volunteerism.

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will have:

• A Bachelor’s degree in any discipline and a strong desire to improve English literacy

Desired Skills

Peace Corps Vanuatu desires the following additional skills:

• Bachelor’s degree in Education
• Elementary Education state certificate
• TESOL/TEFL certificate or equivalent
• Classroom teaching experience at any level. Montessori teaching experience is also acceptable.
• Language or literacy tutoring experience with children or adults
• Experience teaching large multi-level classes or classroom management experience
• Experience working within challenged educational systems, as well as with untrained or undertrained teachers

Required Language Skills

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

The national languages of Vanuatu are French, English, and Bislama, though Bislama is most commonly used in formal or business scenarios. In addition to the national languages, there are over 100 vernacular languages in Vanuatu, used almost exclusively at home or in social situations between villagers. The 10-week Pre-Service Training (PST) will include Bislama language training. Bislama is a pidgin language, meaning that it is derived from several languages, mostly English and French. Some Volunteers may strive to learn local languages to improve community integration. A Trainee must achieve an intermediate proficiency in Bislama in order to swear in. A basic knowledge of French is useful as there are many Francophone communities and schools in Vanuatu. Education Volunteers will not be posted at French schools.

Living Conditions

Volunteer communities range from isolated rural areas to urban provincial centers, though Peace Corps tends to place volunteers in rural communities. Volunteers can expect to work in a developing tropical island environment.

Volunteers serve on a variety of different islands. Volunteer Communities on the same island are arranged in clusters, but may be separated by several hours of walking or an arduous truck ride. Air travel by small plane is required to reach a majority of Volunteer communities. Because travel between islands is expensive, Volunteers seldom come to the capital city, Port Vila, more than once every few months. Volunteers should be able to swim and feel comfortable traveling in boats or small planes. Severe weather and natural disasters may limit or interrupt transportation.

Volunteers with non-medical dietary restrictions may have to be creative to ensure that a well-balanced diet is sustained. Locally available produce is not regularly consistent and is determined by the planting and harvesting seasons and proximity to a market.

Electricity might be available via a school generator, or solar grid. Most Volunteers don't have running water or electricity in their house. Village stores have limited goods, while services such as banks, mail, or internet are not available in most villages. Provincial centers have more access to goods, and will have an ATM and post office. Transportation from communities to a Provincial center may be unreliable. 3G cell service is increasingly common across the outer islands of Vanuatu.

Most Volunteers will live in or near the compound of a host family. All Volunteers should be prepared to interact with their host family in a way that facilitates community integration. Volunteers often share meals with their family or participate in culturally relevant activities, like weaving mats or baskets. In addition, Volunteers will likely find themselves working in the garden, fishing/spearfishing, and preparing meals with family members. Other activities vital to integration may include extended conversations with family and/or community members as well as drinking kava at community nakamals (village meeting place).

Longstanding traditions and customs are still strong outside of the major urban areas. Christianity has been accepted in Ni-Vanuatu culture since missionaries first arrived in the middle of the nineteenth century. Village church attendance will likely be expected within communities and will aid in integration. While Volunteers will not be pressured to join in religious traditions, they are encouraged to seek understanding of and respect for the role of Christianity in the lives of the people they serve.

Through inclusive recruitment of its Volunteers and staff, 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 for its diverse group of Volunteers, including LGBTQ individuals. Although identifying as LGBTQ is not illegal in Vanuatu, it is culturally taboo in most islands. Despite this challenge, LGBTQ Volunteers have served successfully in Vanuatu. There is an “Inclusion Group” comprised of Volunteers which works to address diversity challenges and provide support to Volunteers.

Volunteers who are of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority, or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from those of most Ni-Vanuatu 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 and rarely apply in Vanuatu.

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.

Couples Information

Vanuatu can accommodate couples in the same sector or different sectors. Therefore, your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following positions:

Literacy Education Facilitator

Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) and Nutrition Facilitator

Couples may not live together during the 8-10 week Pre-Service Training, but will live together once assigned a community for their 24 months of service.

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; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; ophthalmology; 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: 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 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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