Public Health Educator

Before You Apply

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Project Description

The Health project targets impoverished rural families who have children under the age of 3 and vulnerable rural youth ages 12-17. Health Volunteers work with rural health posts and schools to initiate and sustain healthy behavior change in mothers and other caretakers by promoting appropriate nutrition, improved hygiene practices and indoor air quality, and early childcare and stimulation. Volunteers will also work to form youth peer educator groups to help promote and sustain healthy behavior change, such as improved life skills and leadership, adolescent pregnancy and STI prevention, including abstinence and correct condom use. Volunteers in this program will also have opportunities to develop public health monitoring and evaluation skills.

While your specific daily work will depend on your work site and the needs of your community, you will be working to improve the quality of life for Peruvians by introducing new ideas, skills, and practices. Considering gender issues in your project activities will be an important component of your job, including promoting equal access to services, training and other activities.

As an active member of your community, you will have numerous opportunities to participate in secondary activities. You might teach a computer class to the local mothers' club or organize environmental awareness workshops for local community leaders. You may develop a community or school gardening project, start a running club or coach sports. You might organize a community clean-up day, community libraries, teach English classes or help a local youth club with a recycling project. The possibilities are endless.

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
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• 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

Additional desired skills include:
• Health education work or volunteer experience, such as HIV/AIDS prevention, sexual and reproductive health promotion, youth leadership and/or early childhood development.

• Six months of accumulated work experience (including volunteer experience).

• Experience or interest in working with youth, mothers with toddlers and/or pregnant women.

• Experience working with either Spanish-speaking populations, low-income rural populations, or working within a context of gender inequalities.

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 in Peru work in the Spanish language, and some in Quechua. Trainees must demonstrate an intermediate level of written and oral proficiency in Spanish after 12 weeks of pre-service training in order to swear-in as a Volunteer. Some trainees may be placed in the Quechua language training, instead of Spanish.

Living Conditions

Volunteers are required to live with a host family during 12 weeks of pre-service training and the first 12 months of service in order to develop their cultural competency. After that, if appropriate housing is available in the Volunteer's community to live alone, they may request to live independently. Host families are often traditional Andean families with a typical sierra diet, including potatoes and rice on a daily basis, while coastal families also have repetitive diets. Volunteers can expect to eat with host families, respecting local practices. Many Peruvian families are quite different than the typical US family; including having multiple generations living in one house, living conditions/lack of amenities, different gender dynamics and child-rearing practices.

Due to Peru’s vast geography, there is a great variety in Volunteer communities.

Different communities include:
• High altitude sites with cold weather, especially during the winter months
• Areas with a long rainy season
• Areas with uneven terrain and physically challenging work conditions
• Coastal areas with a hot climate

Volunteers serve in many types of communities ranging from very traditional Andean sites in the highlands to coastal areas, where they tend to have a more conservative value system.

Peace Corps is challenging regardless of where you serve, and in some way or another you will be a minority and may experience unwanted attention. For example, in some communities Volunteers of color or women may initially experience additional unwanted attention. While Peru is generally tolerant, values and morals concerning sexual orientation and gender identity may be different from those in the U.S. Peace Corps Peru’s Pre-Service training will address these types of issues to prepare you for service and post is also committed to supporting Volunteers of all backgrounds throughout their service. Volunteers representing a wide diversity of Americans have served with great success in Peru.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Peru: 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 Peru

  • Peru may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: insulin-dependent diabetes; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; 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 Peru, 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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