Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) and Nutrition Facilitator

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Peace Corps Vanuatu continues to remain focused on Water Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) and nutrition; a critical priority for the Government of Vanuatu. Volunteers work with community partners to assess individual household needs in the areas of water, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition. Volunteers will establish household health baselines and work with their counterparts to improve household practices with water and healthy foods.

Volunteers will also work with community-led health committees and healthcare providers at local health centers to strengthen Vanuatu’s healthcare system. They will assess community health needs by utilizing tools and training provided during Pre-Service Training (PST). With the ultimate goal of behavior change, Volunteers and their community counterparts will raise awareness about healthy water and sanitation practices, as well as communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This may include creating hand washing stations, conducting household hygiene assessments, and providing proper nutrition practices and general health education.

At times, Volunteers with also work with communities and health service providers to identify and address environmental health issues to promote access to infrastructure such as water delivery systems, latrines, and waste management . Volunteers frequently work with local schools on health education activities, and may also provide technical support to Ministry of Health partners and other Volunteers.

Volunteers may be required to engage and/or start community health and water and sanitation committees. These groups often need additional assistance and training in project design and management, and incorporating sustainability plans into the construction of small scale, community-based water and sanitation systems.

Required Skills

Competitive 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 Vanuatu desires the following additional skills:

• 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, Nursing
• Experience with water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) or nutrition education
• Experience with sexual and reproductive health education
• Experience with communicable and non-communicable disease prevention education
• Experience in training, facilitation and/or capacity building

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

There are 110 vernacular languages in Vanuatu, however Bislama is the national language. The 10-week Pre-Service Training (PST) will include Bislama language training. Bislama is similar to the "tokpisin" found in Papua New Guinea and the "pijin" found in the Solomon Islands. The majority of Volunteers acquire high levels of language proficiency during their service. Some Volunteers may find that other vernacular languages in addition to Bislama are spoken at their work communities and strive to learn the local language to improve community integration. A basic knowledge of French is desirable as there are many Francophone communities in Vanuatu.

Living Conditions

Volunteer communities range from isolated rural areas to more populated provincial centers. Volunteers can expect to serve in remote communities with limited resources and be prepared to live and work in an often undeveloped rural tropical island environment.

Volunteers serve on 14-18 different islands arranged in clusters, but often separated by several hours of walking or an arduous truck ride. Air travel by small plane is required to reach the majority of Volunteer communities. Because travel between islands is expensive, Volunteers seldom come to the capital city, Port Vila. Volunteers should be able to swim and feel comfortable traveling in small boats for short (5-10 minutes) or long distances (2-3 hours). The weather is hot and humid while cyclones, earthquakes, and volcano eruptions can be expected. Severe weather, such as heavy rain, flooding, or rough seas, may limit or interrupt transportation.

Electricity may be provided by a school generator, while solar panels are often the only option. Most Volunteers don't have running water, electricity, or internet connectivity in their house. Stores in villages have very limited goods and no services such as banks, mail, or internet. Stores in provincial centers have limited goods but will have an ATM/bank branch, post office, and slow internet. Transportation from communities to a Provincial center may be unreliable.

All Volunteers will live in or near the compound of a host family and should be prepared to interact with the family in a way that demonstrates respect, equity, and facilitates community integration, such as eating meals together, doing homework with the children, or enjoying other cultural activities like weaving mats or baskets. This will be discussed in more detail during Pre-Service Training.

Longstanding traditions and customs are still strong outside of the major population centers. Christianity has been thoroughly integrated into Vanuatu culture since Christian missionaries first arrived in the middle of the nineteenth century. Village church attendance will likely be expected within communities, especially in rural areas. Volunteers will not be pressured to join in religious traditions, however they are encouraged to seek to understand and respect the importance religion holds in the lives of many Ni-Vanuatu.

Through inclusive recruitment and retention of staff and Volunteers, the Peace Corps seeks to reflect the rich diversity of the United States and bring diverse perspectives and solutions to development issues. Peace Corps Vanuatu provides support to a diverse group of Volunteers, including LGBTQ individuals. Although identifying as LGBTQ is not illegal, it is often not accepted. However LGBTQ Volunteers have served successfully in Vanuatu. There is also an inclusion group in Peace Corps Vanuatu to help address diversity challenges and provide support in country.

Volunteers who are of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority, or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the majority of their country of service may find they experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention from host country nationals. Please be aware that American concepts of politeness and appropriate behavior are not universal.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Vanuatu: 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

Vanuatu can accommodate couples, but it is preferred for couples to work in different sectors. Your partner can apply to this program, but would be more competitive if they applied for the Vanuatu Primary Education English Teacher - Trainer program.

Couples may not live together during the 10 week Pre-Service Training, but will live together once assigned a community for their 24 months of service.

Medical Considerations in Vanuatu

  • Vanuatu may not be able to support Volunteers  with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; cardiology; dermatology; gastroenterology; some types of gynecologic support;  insulin-dependent diabetes; mammography; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; ophthalmology; seizure disorder; urology; 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: shellfish.
  • After arrival in Vanuatu, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot,  to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and 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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