Youth and Families Development Promoter
The goal of the Peace Corps Ecuador Youth and Families Development (YFD) Project is to support youth to become healthy, productive, civically engaged adults with the support of their families. YFD Volunteers work with at-risk youth between ages 10-25 and their communities to implement positive youth development and community programs. Projects include life-skills development, leadership activities, developing self-esteem, substance abuse prevention, service learning, vocational training, income generation, HIV/AIDS awareness, parenting skills development, community organizing, organizational development, and stay-in-school programs.
The YFD project has four objectives:
1. Increase the knowledge and skills of youth to improve their life skills and well-being.
2. Expand opportunities for youth community engagement.
3. Increase youth employability skills.
4. Strengthen the skills of parents/caregivers to support positive youth development.
Activities under these objectives could include the following:
• Training youth in life skills, such as self-esteem, goal-setting and values, decision making, communication, leadership, alcohol and substance abuse prevention, gender equality, and sexual education and HIV/AIDS prevention.
• Leading and supporting youth in clubs, camps, sports, art, recreation and physical activity as an alternative outlet where youth can exercise positive behaviors.
• Designing and facilitating a Training of Trainers (agency staff, community members, teachers, youth leaders, social workers, etc.) workshop, on using positive youth development approaches, facilitation skills, volunteerism, service-learning, advocacy, community assessment, and project design and management.
• Coordinating with counterparts to improve their organizational capabilities, helping them to initiate and organize community development activities.
• Training youth in employability and vocational skills.
• Tutoring youth in after-school and literacy programs that help youth to improve reading and comprehension skills.
• Training families and community members on parenting skills, and positive youth development.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will participate in the Peace Corps monitoring, reporting, and evaluation (MRE) process. All Volunteers receive MRE training and submit regular reports. The MRE system helps Peace Corps monitor its progress, report its accomplishments, and evaluate and improve its impact. The opportunity to learn and practice professional MRE skills is among the many valued and tangible benefits of Peace Corps service.
COVID-19 Volunteer Activities
In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.
Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working with Youth in Development and one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
• 5 years' professional work experience
• Master’s degree in Social Work, Psychology, Education, Youth Development, Applied Behavioral Science or related field.
• Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Social Studies, Psychology, Education, Youth Development, Applied Behavioral Science or other related field and at least 3 months of experience working with youth and/or families.
• 3 years of professional experience working with youth and/or families from underserved communities.
The most important element of being a successful Youth and Families Development Volunteer is an open, positive, and respectful attitude, along with a willingness to learn and adapt.
Ecuador strongly prefers applicants who have experience volunteering or working with at-risk youth and their parents and promoting life skills, vocational skills, substance abuse prevention, youth leadership and development, gender empowerment, literacy, parenting skills, HIV/AIDS prevention and sex education, small business development, and financial literacy using non-formal and experiential education methodologies.
Additional desired skills include facilitation, organizational, assessment, and leadership skills.
Required Language Skills
(PCV) Spanish 1
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 work in the Spanish language, and Spanish is also necessary for other day-to-day activities in the community. To successfully swear in as a Volunteer, Trainees must demonstrate an intermediate level of oral proficiency in Spanish at the end of the 10-week Pre-Service Training. Peace Corps Trainees receive a significant amount of training and support in the acquisition of Spanish. Trainees who arrive in country with low levels of Spanish find reaching an intermediate level of oral proficiency more challenging. Post highly encourages all applicants to begin working on their Spanish as early as possible prior to departing the U.S. for Ecuador.
After Volunteers swear-in, they are all required to live with Ecuadorian families in their community for the first six months of their service. (This is in addition to the 10 weeks spent living with a family during training). Living with a family is the norm in Ecuador, even for adult professionals, until they are married and have a family of their own. Living with a family will increase a volunteer’s safety, credibility, community integration and acceptance.
Volunteer assignments in the Youth and Family Development Project include worksites that are community- and institution- based. Volunteers in Ecuador serve throughout the country at sites determined by their skillsets and host community needs. Volunteers are assigned to communities in a wide variety of geographical and climatic settings. You may be assigned to a community in the Andean highlands, the coastal lowlands or the Amazon region. Most work sites are in marginal urban neighborhoods, meaning poor and somewhat rural neighborhoods on the outskirts of a larger metropolitan area, and some in smaller communities and in rural communities.
Volunteers working in restricted areas in the bigger cities do not live in the community where they work, but commute to and from their work each day. These Volunteers may feel challenged by not having a strong "sense of community", but most Volunteers report that they enjoy the sense of independence that comes from living in a larger city and not being in the "fish bowl" as they might be living in a smaller community. Each job location will have its pros and cons. It's up to each Peace Corps Volunteer to adapt into that reality and make it a positive experience.
While Ecuador is generally tolerant, and the PC/Ecuador office is an open, non-judgmental place for all Volunteers, values and mores concerning diversity (race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity) may be different from those in the U.S. Volunteers need to be mindful of cultural norms and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach diversity issues in their communities and host countries.
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 curiosity or unwanted attention from host country nationals. Ethnically, nationally, or racially diverse Americans may be asked where they are “actually from” or if they are “really” American. Many Volunteers have been able to turn these encounters into learning experiences, share American values, and deepen local community members’ understanding of Americans.
Peace Corps/Ecuador has support groups in place for diverse Volunteers and seeks to support the rich diversity of Volunteers.
Volunteers in the YFD project have found that bringing a laptop or a tablet is a great convenience. Internet access continues to expand in Ecuador, and a personal computing device often makes it easier for Volunteers to access and share technical resources in support of their service. There may also be assignments during Pre-Service Training (PST) where having a laptop device may come in handy in order to make completing those assignments easier. Please note, however, that bringing a device is not a requirement for this project, as Volunteers may also complete assignments and access resources through small computer labs at the Training Center and main Peace Corps office, local internet cafes, and other access points.
Serving in Ecuador
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ecuador: 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.
Ecuador welcomes cross-sector couples to apply. Therefore, your partner can apply and must qualify for:
Health and Wellness Promoter.
Generally speaking, Volunteer couples should expect living conditions to be the same for them as for single Volunteers. Every effort will be made so that couples can live together with a single host family during Pre-Service Training, but there is always a small chance that they may have to live apart during Pre-Service Training due to space or other limitations.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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