Rural Development Facilitator

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Guatemala faces high rates of food insecurity that disproportionally affect vulnerable populations living in rural areas. The government of Guatemala is working to meet the challenges of food insecurity by strengthening its national extension system, which is a system focused on rural development initiatives. Specialists working within this system have expertise in the areas of agriculture, animal husbandry, home health and economics. While these specialists have strong technical expertise for their position, they often lack formal training on the teaching and group development methodologies necessary to effectively empower communities. Additionally, community promoters, who hold an important role in sharing new knowledge with fellow farmers, do not always understand their role and lack the skills necessary to provide the support and leadership required of them. Therefore, Volunteers do not need to be subject-matter experts themselves. Rather, Volunteers support the work of the specialists and community promotors by providing training, support and mentorship that will help them transfer their knowledge more effectively.

Volunteers provide one-on-one and group training to specialists working within the national extension system as well as to community promoters. Training topics range from facilitation techniques and adult experiential learning methods to leadership and organizational skills. Volunteers will use their own facilitation skills to teach the process of participatory community development as well as techniques. In addition to providing trainings, Volunteers will conduct need assessments, identify gaps in available resources, and develop new materials to support the work of rural development initiatives. Volunteers are expected to play a facilitator role to minimize community dependency on their skills and to improve the sustainability of the project within the national extension system and the greater community.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working in agriculture 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

• Experience in agriculture or animal husbandry.
• Experience in home health in rural communities.
• Involvement in rural community planning, organizing, mentoring, or leadership processes within the past four years.
• Experience working in an adult-centered teaching environment.
• Business or organizational management or development experience.
• Willingness to work in unstructured settings.
• Self-starter, open-minded, friendly, and persistent in the face of challenges.
• Strong communication and interpersonal skills.

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).

Volunteers’ success in this project directly relates to their ability to express themselves in Spanish since Volunteers will be coordinating work with Guatemalan professionals. Therefore, Volunteers must demonstrate an Intermediate level of oral and written proficiency in Spanish for site placement by the end of Pre-Service Training (PST). Spanish self-study before arriving in Guatemala is highly encouraged.

Most Volunteers will work directly in Spanish and some may work in Spanish with a Mayan language interpreter. 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.

Guatemala presents a complex security environment for Volunteers and increased vigilance regarding personal safety is always necessary. Peace Corps has made tremendous efforts to maintain safety and security of all Trainees and Volunteers by implementing comprehensive and strict transportation and travel policies. It is expected that Trainees and Volunteers adhere to these policies and all post guidelines. For these reasons, we are looking for mature applicants who will willingly comply with all policies. Failure to comply with policies results in early termination or administrative separation from Peace Corps Guatemala, and is zero tolerance.

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.

Couples Information

In Guatemala, couples can serve together in the Agriculture sector or one person can serve in the Agriculture sector and the other in the Health sector. Therefore, your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following positions:
Rural Development Facilitator
Maternal and Child Health Promoter

During Pre-Service Training (PST), couples will be placed in separate communities and can visit one another on weekends. Each partner will live with a host family. Once in their permanent community, couples will live together with a host family for the duration of service. This could be a private room in a family home or a separate unit within a family residential compound. Couples will be separated for workshops and conferences for up to two weeks at a time due to in-service training events.

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 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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