Maternal & Child Health and HIV/AIDS Educator
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The Community Health Empowerment Project (CHEP) is a comprehensive rural health project in which Volunteers work with community health centers and build capacity within community-based organizations to encourage community members to take charge of their health. Volunteers will engage partners at the district and community levels to implement health activities. All Volunteers will work in three focus areas:
1) Maternal Health
2) Child Health and Nutrition
3) HIV/AIDS Prevention
Regardless of the project that one belongs to, all Volunteers in Peace Corps Zambia are trained in evidence-based malaria prevention interventions as the rates of infection vary from one region to the next.
As a CHEP Volunteer, you may be involved in the following types of activities in a typical work day:
- Partnering with local groups to conduct health activities/events, such as an HIV testing campaign
- Working with community health center staff on data collection, workshops, training, and one-on-one mentoring
- Using sports (such as soccer) as a means to engage and educate youth on HIV/AIDS
- Linking communities to health services at the district and national levels
You will typically work with community members known as Community Health Workers, many of them volunteers, and your work schedule will vary from that of a 9 am – 5 pm type of “business” work day, to a less formal schedule involving activities occurring on a variety of days, times, and locations in the community. Work meetings and activities can happen on any day of the week and some days you may have no formal work activities and will be free to work on your own personal and secondary projects. In addition to health centers and organizations, you will also have opportunities to work in schools and with out-of-school youth on health education activities.
Additionally, Zambia is one of the Peace Corps countries participating in important initiatives that promote gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers receive in-depth training on incorporating methods of gender analysis into community assessment and development efforts. During their service they look for culturally appropriate ways to incorporate gender awareness and the promotion of youth- especially girls- into their work.
Maternal & Child Health
Please Note: a Bachelor’s degree is required for all candidates as a requirement for Zambian work permits.
-Prior experience or interest in working in the areas of:
-Maternal & Child Health
-BA/BS in Nutrition, Health, Nursing or Dietetics
-MA/MS in Public Health (MPH)
-Certified Physician's Assistant with interest in public/community health
-RN, LPN, LVN Nursing Degree or Diploma, or other post-grad health/medical degree with interest in community health
-Volunteer or work experience in a health related field, i.e. HIV/AIDS outreach; sexual education; contraception or family planning counseling.
Required Language Skills
Trainees are offered a comprehensive language immersion program during Pre-Service Training (PST). They will have three months of language learning from native speakers in the predominant language spoken at the site in which they will be placed. They will be required to attain an intermediate level score in this language and will receive a language survival kit. Once at site, Volunteers are encouraged to engage the services of a language tutor (paid for by Peace Corps) to continue building their language skills.
Clinics where Volunteers work are usually nearby, ranging from a few meters to about 8 kilometers or more from their houses. However, volunteers are expected to work within the community clinic’s catchment area at outreach posts which have a radius of about 20 kilometers or more. Bicycles will be provided and you will receive riding and maintenance training to ensure its reliability and safety.
Transportation from your site to the provincial capital may take up to a full day and will generally be by crowded and dusty forms of public transportation. It may take two days to reach the capital city, Lusaka. Some Volunteers walk or ride bikes up to 30 kilometers to catch a ride at a main road.
In each province where Volunteers serve, PC/Zambia operates a Provincial Resource Centre, which is staffed year-round and is used for work collaboration and training. Having Peace Corps Staff and resources nearby allows for more comprehensive and timely support of volunteers’ programming and administrative needs, along with their health and safety -which are Peace Corps’ top priorities.
Cell phone coverage for sending and receiving calls may not be completely reliable in all communities, but all Volunteers report having enough coverage for at least text messaging. Many Volunteers choose to bring a laptop, as internet is available at both Peace Corps’ Provincial Resource Centers and through cell phone providers. Please note that Peace Corps cannot accept responsibility if electronics are lost, damaged, or stolen. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to get insurance for them before arrival.
Zambians regard dress and appearance as demonstrating respect for one another. As a Volunteer, you are expected to dress appropriately, whether you are in training, traveling, or on the job. CHEP Volunteers spend much of their time in the field, so it is advisable to bring clothing that is comfortable and modest. Footwear appropriate for considerable standing, walking, and biking is also a necessity.
For women, dresses and skirts should fall below the knee and spaghetti straps are not appropriate unless covered with a sleeved shirt, coat, or jacket. Skintight sports shorts or leggings/yoga pants worn alone are also inappropriate, but may be worn under a skirt or dress, especially when riding bicycles. Men and women should wear shorts only at home, when exercising, or when doing work where Zambian counterparts are also wearing them.
Hair should be clean and combed, and beards should be neatly trimmed. Long hair for men, tattoos, and some piercings may not be culturally accepted and may impede community integration, especially throughout your first few months at site. Facial piercings are considered inappropriate and should not be worn during Volunteer service. Large tattoos should be covered with clothing as much as possible.
Food availability and variety will depend on your site location. The staple food in Zambia is nshima (shee-muh), which is made from maize meal and cooked into soft lumps that are eaten with cooked vegetables, fish, meat, beans, or chicken, typically by hand. Vegetarians should have little trouble maintaining a healthy diet, though vegetarianism is relatively uncommon. A few words of polite explanation usually suffice to be excused from eating meat in any situation.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Zambia: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
- Maternal & Child Health and HIV/AIDS Educator
- Secondary Education English Teacher - TEFL Certificate
The pre-service training sites for Health and Education Volunteers are in two different locations in Zambia. Cross-sector couples should note that they will not be living together during the three months of pre-service training. Couples also need to be aware that additional but compulsory trainings such as In-Service Training and Mid-Service Training will be held at different times. However, they will then live together at their permanent site.
Medical Considerations in Zambia
- Zambia may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; gastroenterology; insulin-dependent diabetes; mammography; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; some types of gynecologic support; seizure disorder, peanut allergies; ongoing counseling.
- The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanse.
- Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: gluten; peanut.
- After arrival in Zambia, 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 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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