Literacy Education Facilitator

The Peace Corps continues to monitor and assess the COVID-19 pandemic domestically and internationally. The locations and timing of returning Volunteers to service will be determined on a country-by-country basis. The listed positions and projected departure dates are subject to change.

Project Description

Peace Corps has been operating in The Republic of Vanuatu since 1989 with over 900 Volunteers who have served throughout the islands. Home to the indigenous Ni-Vanuatu and over 100 native languages, Vanuatu is an archipelago consisting of 83 islands with 6 provinces. Vanuatu is often referred to as the “happiest place on earth” and has a rich diversity of culture across the islands. The simplicity of life, island style and pace, and strong expression of collectivist cultural values is a beautiful strength of the country. Tourism is a main source of income and many tourists visit the main island Efate, and some key outer island destinations, from neighboring Australia and New Zealand. Occupied by both the British and the French until its independence year, Vanuatu has lasting influences from both cultures. From Black-birding connections with Australia, to Christian missionary presence in the 1800s, to U.S. military presence during World War II, Ni-Van culture and tradition is uniquely expressed with these influences, while custom culture is strong and maintained through oral traditions.

Vanuatu has embarked on a 15-year National Sustainable Development Plan. The plan, which is titled “Vanuatu 2030, the People’s Plan,” provides a more in-depth look at the previous national plan, which sought to deliver a just, educated, healthy and wealthy Vanuatu. The current National Sustainability Development Plan follows three main pillars: social, environmental, and economic. Therefore, the Vanuatu Ministry of Education has identified Literacy as a national priority.

Literacy Education Facilitators will focus on building the capacity of students, teachers, school leadership and community members. Working alongside primary school teachers will be central to the work through collaborative planning including co-teaching in the classroom, designing and refreshing innovative lesson plans, and co-facilitating teacher workshops. During Pre-Service training (PST), Literacy Education Facilitators learn and strengthen prior learned skillsets on ways to incorporate alternative teaching methodologies, classroom management techniques, and introduce or strengthen computer skills into the Vanuatu education system, in order to build the capacity of local counterparts. After identifying groups of underachieving students or students who need increased support for equitable access, Literacy Education Facilitators will establish systems and co-develop resources to directly improve literacy skills. They may also provide further Information Communications Technology (ICT) support to teachers, students, and school administrators. There will also be opportunities to develop school resources including, but not limited to, digital and printed materials, libraries, and computer labs to provide a more well-rounded learning experience for students. Literacy Education Facilitators will be assigned to one school but may work with community groups, school committees, provincial leadership and several institutions.

Peace Corps responds to requests for assistance from the most remote corners of Vanuatu. Most Volunteers live on outer islands with limited resources and are typically clustered (placed within a reasonable proximity of one another) for safety and security considerations and due to the remote nature of living in an archipelago. Literacy Education Facilitators may be placed in an area that complements the service of a nearby Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) and Nutrition Facilitator. Both Peace Corps assignments encourage cross-sector engagement, however Volunteers are not typically placed in the same community. All Volunteers may take on secondary projects in areas such as WASH, climate change, gender equality, youth development, or volunteerism.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline and a strong desire to improve literacy.

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will also have one or more of the following additional skills:

• Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Education
• Certificate in Elementary Education, TESOL, TEFL, or equivalent
• Classroom teaching and/or co-teaching experience at any level with primary level teaching experience preferable. Montessori teaching experience is also acceptable
• Language or literacy tutoring experience with children and/or adults, or developing literacy materials and other educational resources
• Experience teaching large multi-level classes and/or classroom management experience
• Experience working within challenged educational systems, including untrained or undertrained teachers and/or administrators
• Administrative experience or experience participating in school leadership
• Experience working with students with special needs or developing resources in support of accessible classrooms
• Experience in teacher training and workshop facilitation
• Experience in developing and facilitating afterschool or extracurricular youth programs and clubs

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 130 vernacular languages in Vanuatu, used almost exclusively at home or in social situations between Ni-Vanuatu people. Bislama is a pidgin language, meaning it is derived from several languages, mostly English and French.

Trainees will receive Bislama language training during the 10-week Pre-Service Training (PST) and must achieve an Intermediate-mid level of proficiency in order to swear in. Volunteers may enlist Peace Corps office support for ongoing language learning throughout service for both Bislama and local dialects in the communities in which they serve.

A basic knowledge of French can be useful as there are many Francophone communities and schools in Vanuatu, however Literacy Education Facilitators are not typically placed at French schools. Bislama has been accepted in many schools as a language of instruction. While the Ministry of Education’s national language strategy disseminated in 2015 supports and encourages the teaching of literacy in local dialectic vernacular from kindergarten to class 3 schools, Bislama continues to be used mostly in urban and semi-urban schools. Interest in languages and ability to learn the foundations and structures of different languages is a desired strength for this position.

Living Conditions

Volunteers serve on a variety of different islands where communities range from isolated rural areas to urban provincial centers, though Peace Corps tends to place Volunteers in rural communities. All Volunteers should be prepared to live and work in an often undeveloped rural, tropical island environment. Volunteer communities on the same island are arranged in clusters, but may be separated by several hours of walking, a boat ride, or a truck ride. Air travel by small plane is required to reach some Volunteer communities. While air travel between islands can be expensive, Volunteers are brought into the capital at no cost to them for required trainings and learning events. Volunteers should be open to learning to swim and feel comfortable traveling in boats, canoes, or small planes. Severe weather and natural disasters may limit, delay or interrupt transportation.

Most Volunteers will live in or near the compound of a host family and many Literacy Education Facilitators are placed on school grounds. All Volunteers will have their own house but should be prepared to interact with their assigned host family in a way that facilitates community integration. Host families often refer to Volunteers (of all ages) as their adult children. Volunteers often share meals with their family and participate in culturally relevant activities like weaving mats, fans, or baskets. In addition, Volunteers will likely find themselves working in the garden, fishing/spearfishing, and preparing meals with family members and enjoying similar diets as their community. Other activities vital to integration may include extended conversations with family or community members, attending church services, as well as drinking kava at community nakamals (village meeting place).

Electricity might be available via a generator or solar grid, however most Volunteers don't have running water or electricity in their house. Village stores have limited goods, while services such as formal banks, mail, or internet may not be available in some communities. Provincial centers have more access to goods and will have an ATM and post office. Staff train Volunteers to prepare accordingly and allowances are made where necessary. Transportation from villages to a Provincial center may be unreliable and Volunteers often rely on relationships built with key community members to manage accessing transportation. Cell Service such as 3G or 4G is increasingly common across the outer islands of Vanuatu.

Volunteers with non-medical dietary restrictions are creative to ensure that a well-balanced diet is sustained. Locally available produce may not be regularly consistent and access is determined by the planting and harvesting seasons, and proximity to a market. Some Volunteers plant a garden or help with their host family’s garden to diversify their produce. This may be in collaboration or with support of nearby Volunteers in the health sector. Trainees will receive guidance and practice during Pre-Service Training for sustaining healthy diets in Vanuatu and cooking island food (aelan kakae) with traditional stoves and on open fire.

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 and village church attendance will likely be encouraged within communities. Most communities have multiple denominations of Christianity and there is a large predominance of Seventh-day Adventists. While Volunteers will not be pressured to join in religious traditions, participation can aid in understanding cultural values and some Volunteers may attend church with their families on Saturdays. Volunteers are encouraged to seek understanding of and respect for the role of Christianity in the lives of the people they serve and will have support from staff cultural informants to navigate these differences.

Serving in Vanuatu

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Vanuatu: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Vanuatu prefers couples to work in different sectors. Therefore, your partner must qualify and apply for the following position: Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) and Nutrition Facilitator

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

Couples that are not married may be assumed to be married or expected to be married because of the commitment to live together. Marriage commonly happens after a couple cohabitates and has children in Vanuatu because the cost of paying a bride price is expensive and it takes time to save up. Many Ni-Vans living together may not be married but are working toward it; a U.S. American couple that is not married will be asked questions about their plans to get married as it is a goal for Ni-Vans and being single or divorced is frowned upon.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.

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