Youth and Families Development Promoter
Ecuador is a country synonymous with diversity. Although geographically small, Ecuador’s four regions are home to some of Earth’s greatest biodiversity. Ecuadoreans reflect this distinctive diversity within their regional cultures; this includes values like friendliness and hospitality are to be found throughout the country. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador you will have the opportunity to collaborate with Ecuadorean communities and organizations while gaining experience living and working in this rich geographic and cultural tapestry.
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 youth ages 10 to 29 from under resourced 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 4 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
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 one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
• 5 years' professional work experience
Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• 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.
Experience 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.
Experience in facilitation, organizational, assessment, and leadership.
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 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.
Peace Corps Volunteers live with a host family during the 10 weeks of Pre-Service Training. Upon successful completion of training, Volunteers will then live with a new host family in their community for the first four months of service. Peace Corps Ecuador carefully selects host families prior to the arrival of the Volunteers. Living with a host family increases Volunteers’ safety, acceptance, credibility, integration, and language acquisition. While not required, Volunteers are encouraged to live with a host family throughout their entire two years of service. Please note, circumstances may require a limited number of Volunteers to live with a host family for their entire two years of service.
Volunteers serve in urban, semi-urban, and rural communities across coastal, highland, and amazon regions. Most houses have electricity, but outages are frequent. Many homes have indoor toilets, but latrines are common in rural areas.
Common foods include white rice, potatoes, meats, seafood, and vegetables. Soup is very popular and fruit smoothies are common everywhere. It is possible (but challenging) to be vegetarian, but very difficult for vegans. It is impolite to refuse food, so flexibility is important!
Volunteers travel on public buses to leave their community. Boating and biking are not currently required in any community, but travel by boat is common in the Amazon and coastal areas, while biking is popular throughout the country.
The Ecuadorian climate is temperate year-round in the mountain valleys and a humid subtropical climate in coastal areas and rainforest lowlands, with two seasons: rainy and dry. Traveling with layers is recommended for temperature changes.
Ecuadorians dress professionally for work in a style that translates to “business casual.” How one dresses is important for successful integration and respect. It is important to keep hair neat and clean, and beards trimmed. Tattoos are traditionally perceived as unprofessional, but attitudes are slowly changing. In general, tattoos should be covered, and piercings removed in the workplace.
Phone service is reliable but calling the U.S. is expensive. Most towns and cities have internet cafes, and many shops/restaurants will offer Wi-Fi.
Volunteers have found that bringing a laptop or a tablet makes it easier to access and share technical resources in support of their service, as well as completing some assignments during Pre-Service Training. Please note, bringing a laptop is not a requirement. Volunteers may complete assignments and access resources through small computer labs at the Training Center, the main Peace Corps office, and local businesses.
CULTURE & DIVERSITY:
Ecuadorians are typically very social – it will be important for the Volunteer to socialize and engage with family and neighbors. They are also very curious and likely to ask personal questions to better understand American culture and the Volunteer’s background.
Ethnically, nationally, or racially diverse Americans may be asked where they are “actually from” or if they are “really” American. American concepts of politeness and appropriateness are not universal. LGBTQI+ Volunteers may find that local customs are very conservative, and should be prepared for this challenge. Ecuadoreans are generally tolerant and conservative.
Volunteers need to be mindful of cultural norms and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach diversity topics in their communities and host country. We encourage Volunteers to be open to Ecuadorean diversity as well, including approaching Ecuadorean cultural values and views on different aspects of life with curiosity. The Peace Corps strives to support Volunteers throughout service by cultivating an atmosphere of inclusion that is an open, non-judgmental place for Volunteers, one that values diversity (race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, etc.)
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. This means your partner should apply and qualify for: Health and Well-being Promoter
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 the 10 weeks of Pre-Service Training, although couples may request to live apart but nearby each other, in order to improve language acquisition. Couples will live with the same host family during the first four months in their community of service.
After an initial four months in your assigned community, Volunteers are eligible to live independently if they receive approval by the Peace Corps and can identify a living situation in the community that meets the Peace Corps’ housing criteria. Some communities do not have a live-alone option and all Volunteers, including couples, must be open to the possibility of living with a host family during their entire 27 months of service.
The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process Recruiters and Placement Officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities.
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Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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