Maternal and Child Health Volunteer

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Maternal and Child Health Volunteers collaborate with health clinics, community organizations, and family members to promote healthier lives for mothers and children. Volunteers are assigned to health clinics in the most rural and needy communities where many children suffer from chronic malnutrition and most of the population is indigenous. You will help improve the training system of public health clinics to deliver high quality trainings to women, community members, and midwives to deepen their understanding of maternal, neonatal, and child health topics. All work done within the project will have a focus on behavior change, community empowerment, and sustainability.

Volunteers train health workers in adult education methodologies, behavior change theory, motivational interviewing, lesson planning, and overall development of educational resources. These actions will enhance health workers’ abilities to deliver high quality education. Having trained health workers and developed educational resources, Volunteers will co-plan and co-facilitate educational activities with household and community members, especially with women who are of reproductive age.

Volunteers with also work with the community at large, as community organization and empowerment is key to promoting community health. Volunteers and community members will engage in campaigns, activities, and projects to address community health needs. Methods include raising awareness around health issues, providing training on community project design and management, implementing educational projects, and implementing structural projects such as latrines, improved cook stoves, or vegetable gardens. The project is being implemented in the most rural and needy communities where as many as 75% of children suffer from chronic malnutrition and 95% of the population is indigenous.

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
OR
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

• 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
• Experience in adult health education and behavior change training.
• Experience working with adults with low literacy levels.
• Experience in teaching or facilitation.
• Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
• Competitive candidates will have 2-3 years of professional experience.

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 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 Languages (ACTFL OPI).

Additional Language Information

Volunteers need to demonstrate an Intermediate level of oral and written proficiency in Spanish for site placement by the end of Pre-Service Training (PST). Most Volunteers will work directly in Spanish and some may work in Spanish with a Mayan language translator. Volunteers serving in areas where Mayan languages are spoken will study the local language once they arrive in their community to assist with integration into the community and basic communication.

Living Conditions

Most Volunteers live in medium-sized to larger rural communities (3,000 - 40,000 people). Volunteers are placed in the Western Highlands of Guatemala which is quite mountainous and due to the altitudes, can be cool to cold at night. Most communities do have electricity and almost all have running water, but that does not guarantee a steady, continuous supply of either. Fruits, vegetables, and meats are available either in site or in nearby communities. Local cell phones are required for all Volunteers and will be provided by Peace Corps. Most Volunteers have access to internet in their communities either in a local internet café or by purchasing a small modem that can provide basic internet service.

Volunteers are required to live with a host family during the 10-week Pre-Service Training (PST) and during the 2 years of service to increase integration and for continuous orientation to the local safety and security concerns. It is important that applicants be not only willing but eager to interact and live with a Guatemalan host family. Most Volunteers cook for themselves during service, but some may opt to eat with their host family or in small restaurants. (Couples: During PST, couples will live in separate communities and can visit one another on the weekends.)

Guatemala is a very traditional and religious society. People’s roles in regards to gender, work, and society are much more clearly defined than in the U.S. Volunteers must be aware, tolerant, and respectful of their practices, customs, and way of life.

Security Policies:

The security environment in Guatemala requires Volunteers to follow policies in order to mitigate potential safety and security risks, such as those related to transportation and travel. As a result, Peace Corps Guatemala has implemented a comprehensive and strict transportation and travel policy for Trainees and Volunteers. We are looking for mature applicants that are willing to comply with this policy, which includes utilizing identified transportation methods, restricted travel zones, day-light travel only, and using appropriate overnight accommodation. All communities are accessible by public transportation and/or use of the Peace Corps Guatemala shuttle system. Volunteers on official travel or personal leave MUST adhere to these transportation and travel policies.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Guatemala: 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 Guatemala

  • Guatemala may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; insulin-dependent diabetes; 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: none identified.
  • After arrival in Guatemala, 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 also 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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