Sustainable Agriculture Volunteer

Project Description

Sustainable Agriculture Volunteers collaborate with partners to introduce improved technologies to maximize crop production, diversify farming, encourage appropriate agricultural practices, and create new opportunities for smallholder farmers. Through training and capacity building, Peace Corps Tanzania’s Sustainable Agriculture project promotes food security, sustainable livelihoods, and increased resilience. Volunteers mobilize community leaders, identify community counterparts and work with individual farmers and community-based organizations interested in learning new and improved ways of farming. They support awareness raising and play the role of development catalyst. Examples of Volunteer activities include collaborating to:

• Train farmers to employ new crop cultivation technologies and management practices to improve crop production, mainly horticulture crops, and food security.
• Educate farmers on sustainable soil and water conservation technologies and management practices.
• Train farmers on basic business skills to facilitate a process to identify, develop, and implement agriculture-based income generating activities (IGAs).
• Train farmers on technologies and management practices to conserve, store, and/or transform agricultural products to add value.
• Train farmers on improved small animal husbandry technologies and management practices, principally small-scale poultry production and/or bee keeping.
• Teach women of reproductive age and/or key household decision makers the importance of consuming and cooking nutrient-rich foods.
• Train farmers on agroforestry tree production and system design technologies and management practices.

Using this participatory approach, Volunteers help to assess the local knowledge, resources and needs, collaboratively determine the best and most appropriate interventions, and select sustainable projects that they can undertake during the time frame of their two-year service.

Working with a community counterpart, Volunteers also have the opportunity to undertake secondary projects that address other community needs. Examples include: teaching English or science at local primary schools, promoting healthy behaviors through sports for boys and girls, improving school or health center facilities, supporting rain water catchment projects, and rehabilitating latrines. While much of the work will take place during weekday daytime hours, some activities, particularly in the community, may take place at night or on weekends. Key dates such as the International Malaria Day and World AIDS Day are opportunities to implement social-mobilization activities, and many Volunteers work with their village government to prepare a community-wide awareness event. Of great importance in Peace Corps community development work is Volunteer integration and being present in the community, developing relationships with neighbors and key community members such as teachers and religious leaders, and building trust.

Peace Corps Tanzania promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers receive training on gender challenges in Tanzania and have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate, to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of their work, Volunteers will also report on these activities and results achieved.

Having a laptop is important as it enables Volunteers to complete required reporting assignments offline, and uploading them at a later date. While Volunteers may also complete assignments through local internet cafes or other access points, having a laptop will alleviate challenges of connectivity and facilitate access to technical resources for service as a Sustainable Agriculture Volunteer and for secondary projects. Unfortunately, as is the case across the world, this also comes with the risk of potential damage and theft of your laptop.

Due to mandatory retirement limitations by the Tanzanian government, applicants to Tanzania’s Peace Corps program must conclude their Peace Corps service prior to the age of 60.

Climate Change Activities

As the impacts of climate change become ever more evident, the social, economic, and environmental context within which smallholder farmers seek to maintain and improve their livelihood and support their families will continue to change. This will add significantly to the challenges of smallholder farming, particularly for the most disadvantaged communities. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will be trained to use a participatory approach and tools to identify locally determined priorities and conditions, including those related to the impacts of climate change. As an Agriculture Volunteer, you will be trained to use this local knowledge in engaging smallholder farmers in a climate-smart approach that:

• promotes the adoption of improved, appropriate, and adaptive agricultural practices and technologies that sustainably increase productivity;
• builds and strengthens household resilience by integrating and diversifying existing and new agriculture-related income-generating opportunities; and
• reduces greenhouse gas emissions attributable to ineffective and carbon intensive farming practices and encourages adoption of agricultural practices and activities that sequester carbon.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have a degree in Agriculture, Environment or agriculture-related field. Eligible degrees include the following:
• Bachelors of Science/Bachelors of Arts in an agriculture or environment-related field; OR
• Bachelors of Science/Bachelors of Arts in any field with agriculture or environment-related certification; OR
• Bachelors of Science/Bachelors of Arts in any field with a minor or equivalent (15 semester/22 quarter hours) in agriculture, science or environment/natural resources management-related field

Desired Skills

• Work experience in agriculture is highly desirable (e.g. backyard or community garden, urban gardening).
• 6 months practical experience growing vegetables or fruit or working in nursery
• 1 year experience in large-scale commercial or family-run business including vegetable gardening, nursery work/management, tree planting, tree care, urban forestry, soil science, agribusiness, animal husbandry production

Priority areas of specialization (to be specified in the application):
a. Agriculture tutor/instructor
b. Crop specialists (edible oils, root crops, traditional crops, food crops and pulses)
c. Horticulturalist (vegetables, fruits, flowers, spices, herbicides and honey)
d. Agronomists (soil, crop water management and pest control)
e. Seed scientists (seed technologists of various crops)
f. Agribusiness (marketing, management, value addition, post harvesting management, value chain of animal products and entrepreneurship)
g. Agricultural engineering
h. Agricultural economics
i. Food scientist
j. Nutritionist
k. Agricultural co-operatives
l. Environmentalist
m. Animal Scientist
n. Veterinarians
o. Aquaculture

Required Language Skills

There are no language requirements for this program.

Trainees will receive 11-weeks of pre-service training in the predominant language, Kiswahili, and are required to attain an Intermediate-Mid oral proficiency level before swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Additional language training can be offered through independent tutoring during service.

Living Conditions

Tanzania is a large country located in East Africa and known for Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti Wildlife National Park. It has a diverse geography, ranging from hot and dry in the central part of the country, hot and humid in the coastal areas, and highland and mountainous areas in the South and North which have cool to cold temperatures depending on the season.

During the hottest months (November-February) temperatures in the lowlands range from 90-105 °F, and 70-80 °F in the highlands. During the cold season (June-August), temperatures range from 60-75 °F in the lowlands and coast, and from 40-50 °F in the highlands. There are short rains in November or December, and longer rains between March and May.

Volunteers are placed primarily in underserved rural communities. These sites are generally within a few hours of small to mid-size district towns, with banks, a variety of shops, markets, local restaurants and guesthouses. Travel to Dar es Salaam can take anywhere from five hours to three days by road. Volunteers generally use public buses as a main mode of transportation.

The host village provides Volunteer housing. This is typically a stand-alone house. Housing structures vary from mud houses with metal roofs to concrete houses with glass windows. Volunteers use pit latrines, outdoor bath facilities, and fetch water from a village water source. There may be no electricity, in which case solar lamps will be the main source of lighting, and charcoal stoves or gas stoves are used for cooking and heating during cold spells. Despite the modest conditions, Tanzanians keep their homes and courtyards clean and tidy. Peace Corps Volunteers are expected to do likewise, and if need be, can obtain help with washing clothes, fetching water and/or other household chores at an affordable cost.

Personal appearance is of great importance in Tanzania. Female Volunteers are expected to wear modest dresses and long skirts (well below the knees, with upper arms and shoulders covered) and nice flat shoes or sandals in their communities. On the island of Zanzibar or in other coastal Muslim communities females tend to be more accepted when they cover their heads, as is the custom for women in those communities. When out running or exercising, females should wear a sarong or cloth tied over shorts or yoga pants. Male Volunteers should wear slacks, collared shirts, and loafers or other closed toed shoes when presenting themselves professionally. A Volunteer’s professional appearance, work habits, and positive attitude towards colleagues and community members will go a long way towards helping them gain the respect of their community.

Volunteers will encounter very different social and cultural norms that require flexibility and understanding. For example, the American sense of privacy in terms of information-sharing or physical space, doesn’t really exist in many Tanzanian communities. Volunteers are frequently asked personal questions, e.g. one’s religion and marital status, and people will wonder why a Volunteer might want quiet moments alone. As a foreigner, there is also the added element of curiosity from children as well as adults.

Tanzania 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 judgment to determine how to approach topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and host countries. Staff will address this topic during Pre-Service Training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees. Please refer to the Local Laws and Special Circumstances of the U.S. Department of State's travel page for more information:

Serving in Tanzania

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Tanzania: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Peace Corps Tanzania welcomes couples who wish to serve together. In order to serve as a couple in Tanzania, your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following programs:

-Health Extension Volunteer
-Sustainable Agriculture Volunteer
-Secondary Math Teacher
-Secondary Science Teacher

Couples will live together with a host family during Pre-Service Training but may be separated for short-term field-based activities if they are in different project sectors. During service, couples will live together in a village house. Due to Tanzania's cultural expectation that whenever a couple lives together they are by default married, unmarried couples should be prepared to present themselves as married throughout their service.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.

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