Public Health and Malaria Educator

Before You Apply

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Project Description

The purpose of the Community Health and Malaria Prevention (CHAMP) project is to assist the Ministry of Health and its partners in improving and expanding community health education, especially in rural areas. The CHAMP project focuses on public health education in three main areas: malaria prevention, maternal/newborn care, and water sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Maternal and newborn health encompasses reproductive health/family planning, infant growth monitoring and nutrition education, and sexually transmitted infections (STI) /AIDS prevention while Hygiene and sanitation projects focus on education for behavior change.

The first group of Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Togo in 1962, the year after John F. Kennedy created the Peace Corps. Over the course of 55 years, more than 2,850 volunteers have served in Togo. Peace Corps/Togo is very proud to be one of only 10 Peace Corps posts in the world with a record of continuous and uninterrupted service.

At the request of the Togolese Ministry of Health, Peace Corps/Togo has worked in the public health sector for over five decades. Currently, Peace Corps/Togo Public Health Volunteers act as catalysts on a wide range of activities aligned with government and community priorities that seek to impact maternal and child health, nutrition, water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and Malaria prevention and control. Therefore, your main role will be that of an educator, a facilitator, a liaison, a mentor, and a resource to assist your community.

The CHAMP program's current goals are:
1. Community members will adopt behaviors and practices that contribute to improved maternal, neonatal, and child health outcomes; and
2. Reduce the malarial disease burden.

The CHAMP program’s core activities are:
• Monitoring infant and child growth and promoting practices that encourage healthy growth, and participating in pre-natal consultations
• Conducting malaria prevention activities; monitoring long lasting insecticide net usage through home visits, training community members on how to wash and dry nets
• Improved hygiene and sanitation practices to eliminate intestinal worms and other diseases transmitted through exposure to fecal matter in throughout Togo and promoting improved nutrition for children through intensive nutrition trainings for mothers in northern Togo.

Peace Corps Togo promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in your country and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.

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

Peace Corps Togo would prefer that all Volunteers have experience and/or interest in health education or outreach; a degree in a field related to public health is preferred. Experience in health program management and coordination of activities is preferred, as is demonstrated leadership and planning skills. Facilitation and/or public speaking skills are assets.

Highly qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working in the health sector and one or more of the following criteria:
• Masters Degree in Public Health
• Certified Physician’s Assistant or Public Health Nurse with expressed interest in public/community health
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition, Health, or Nursing.

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 coursework within the past 8 years in a Romance language
B. Completed a minimum of 2 semesters of college level coursework within the past 6 years in a Romance language
C. Native/Fluent Romance language speaker

Candidates should have either a willingness to take a French course or commitment to self‐study prior to arrival.

Additional Language Information

Togo has dedicated Language and Cross Culture Facilitators to teach French and local languages during Pre-Service Training (PST). Volunteers are expected to learn French and achieve an intermediate level by the conclusion of Pre-Service Training. The French language proficiency requirement must be attained before Trainees can begin learning local language.

In addition, having an interest in learning a local language for basic communication with rural community members is helpful.

Living Conditions

Accommodation
Most Volunteers live in two-to-three-room houses within a Togolese family compound. Sanitation amenities will be modest, but adequate. Some Volunteer houses have tin roofs; a few have straw roofs. You will probably have no running water, electricity, or cooking gas. Water sources in villages could be traditional wells, a bore hole equipped with a pump, cisterns, or natural water sources, including rivers. Whatever your source of drinking water, you will have to boil and filter it or filter and bleach it. Peace Corps/Togo will provide you with a water filter and provide training on use and maintenance of the filter.

Food
Your diet will consist of locally grown foods or a combination of local and imported packaged foods. A typical Togolese meal is corn or millet ‘pâte’ (paste), accompanied by a hot, spicy sauce. Rice and beans, usually eaten for breakfast, is another common meal. Meat is available throughout Togo, as is dried fish, but fresh fish is only available in larger towns. Fruits and vegetables are seasonal, limiting the diversity of a strictly vegetarian diet at certain times of year, especially in more remote areas. However, tofu (soy) is available throughout the country. Volunteers are encouraged to plant vegetable gardens to supplement their diet.

Transportation
Distance between villages and regional capitals vary, but can be as far as sixty kilometers. Some Volunteers like biking these distances, others prefer local public transportation (bush taxis) to the nearest mail point, bank, and shopping locations. You will be provided with funds to purchase a bicycle to facilitate work and enable you to have greater access to nearby villages and towns. Alternatively, as a Volunteer you will be able to ride as a passenger on the back of a motorcycle on certain prescribed roads provided that you comply with the Peace Corps/Togo helmet policy and wear a pre-approved motorcycle helmet (with full face mask) any time you are riding on a motorcycle. Peace Corps/Togo will provide you with a helmet.

Communication
Volunteers are encouraged to rent their own mail box at their local post office in order to receive mail from family members and friends during their service. Regional capitals and some larger towns in Togo have internet connections (though these connections are often very slow). The large majority of Volunteer communities are villages without electricity, and therefore do not have such luxuries. You will, however, have access to internet at least once a month when you travel to your regional capital to do banking. Periodic access to the internet has greatly influenced Volunteer life by allowing limited technical research and contact with friends and family, as well as with the Peace Corps office in Lomé. Most Volunteers bring their own small laptop computers.

Cell phones are operational in most parts of the country.
You will be required to dress appropriately and respectfully for training as well. Wearing less modest clothing can diminish the respect community members have for you and can make your work much more challenging.

Diversity
Peace Corps Togo provides support to a diverse group of Volunteers. Togo has some restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms and country-specific laws, and use their best judgement to determine how to approach topics to sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and host countries. Staff and currently serving volunteers will discuss this topic during Pre-Service Training and identify support systems.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Togo: 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 Togo

  • Togo may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; cardiology; gastroenterology; some types of gynecologic support; insulin-dependent diabetes; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; seizure disorder; 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: gluten, lactose, and shellfish.
  • After arrival in Togo, 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 Important Medical Information for Applicants [PDF] to learn about other health conditions typically not supported in Peace Corps service.


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