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, and sexual reproductive health.

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 will also work with communities and health service providers to identify and address environmental health issues and 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/Bachelors of Science degree in any field
• 5 years’ professional work experience

Desired Skills

Peace Corps Vanuatu desires the following additional skills:

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition, Health, Nursing
• 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
• Experience with water, sanitation, and hygiene or nutrition education
• Experience with sexual and reproductive health education
• Experience with communicable and non-communicable diseases prevention education
• Experience in training, facilitation and/or capacity building

Required Language Skills

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

The national languages of Vanuatu are French, English, and Bislama, though Bislama is most commonly used in formal or business scenarios. In addition to the national languages, there are over 100 vernacular languages in Vanuatu, used almost exclusively at home or in social situations between villagers. The 10-week Pre-Service Training (PST) will include Bislama language training. Bislama is a pidgin language, meaning that it is derived from several languages, mostly English and French. Some Volunteers may strive to learn local languages to improve community integration. A Trainee must achieve an intermediate proficiency in Bislama in order to swear in. A basic knowledge of French is useful as there are many Francophone communities and schools in Vanuatu.

Living Conditions

Volunteer communities range from isolated rural areas to more populated provincial centers and may work at Aid posts or rural health 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 a variety of different islands. Volunteer Communities on the same island are arranged in clusters, but may be separated by several hours of walking or an arduous truck ride. Air travel by small plane is required to reach a majority of Volunteer communities. Because travel between islands is expensive, Volunteers seldom come to the capital city, Port Vila, more than once every few months. Volunteers should be able to swim and feel comfortable traveling in boats or small planes. Severe weather and natural disasters may limit or interrupt transportation.

Volunteers with non-medical dietary restrictions may have to be creative to ensure that a well-balanced diet is sustained. Locally available produce is not regularly consistent and is determined by the planting and harvesting seasons and proximity to a market.

Electricity, in a few cases, 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. Many Volunteers may have to take a flight to visit provincial centers.

Most Volunteers will live in or near the compound of a host family. All Volunteers should be prepared to interact with their host family in a way that facilitates community integration. Volunteers often share meals with their family or participate in culturally relevant activities, like weaving mats or baskets. In addition, Volunteers will likely find themselves working in the garden, fishing/spearfishing, and preparing meals with family members. Other activities vital to integration may include extended conversations with family and/or community members as well as drinking kava at community nakamals (village meeting place).

Longstanding traditions and customs are still strong outside of the major urban areas. Christianity has been accepted in Ni-Vanuatu culture since missionaries first arrived in the middle of the nineteenth century. Village church attendance will likely be expected within communities and will aid in integration. While Volunteers will not be pressured to join in religious traditions, they are encouraged to seek understanding of and respect for the role of Christianity in the lives of the people they serve.

Through inclusive recruitment of its Volunteers and staff, 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 for its diverse group of Volunteers, including LGBTQ individuals. Although identifying as LGBTQ is not illegal in Vanuatu, it is culturally taboo in most islands. Despite this challenge, LGBTQ Volunteers have served successfully in Vanuatu. There is an “Inclusion Group” comprised of Volunteers which works to address diversity challenges and provide support to Volunteers.

Volunteers who are of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority, or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from those of most Ni-Vanuatu 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 and rarely apply in Vanuatu.

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 in the same sector or different sectors. Therefore, your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following positions:

Literacy Education Facilitator

Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) and Nutrition Facilitator

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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