Youth Health Promoter
The Youth Health project promotes youth leadership and well-being through:
• leadership & life skills;
• non-communicable disease prevention (i.e. diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc.) through sports and healthy recreation (also supports mental health) and nutrition;
• sexual and reproductive health and
• other areas (e.g. vector control, transportation security, etc.)
Youth Health Volunteers work with middle and high school students. Volunteers will be expected to participate in community integration activities with the CHW in order to get to know the students and build relationships with teachers, the school principal(s) and the local health post. After the integration period, the Volunteer will work with the CHW on a community diagnosis to understand the main challenges to youth well-being. This will be done through activities such as community meetings, house visits, a community map and youth census, informal interviews, etc. The Volunteer will co-facilitate classes and/or sessions with teachers and the CHW. Later in the first year of service, the Volunteer and CHW will form a youth health club outside of the school, a summer Youth Health camp and during the second year of service, a peer education program which will serve as the foundation for the following years; including Generations 2 & 3. The Volunteer and CHW are expected to support peer educators through their formation as leaders and their own analysis of local youth health issues; and the design and implementation of at least one peer educator-led youth health initiative.
The Volunteer and CHW will also work with parents and service providers through trainings and discussion groups during their second year of service in order to increase their capacity to support youth well-being in the community.
Youth Health Volunteers work with youth both in-school and out of school. This is done in tandem with the community through:
• Planning with the CHW and community leaders
• Co-facilitating sessions with the CHW in the classroom, and in informal settings with youth groups and peer educators, parent & caregiver groups, school-based staff and other healthcare workers
• Creating and/or strengthening youth groups
• Identifying and training peer educators in conjunction with the CHW, supporting peer educators in implementing a youth health community assessment and designing and implementing a youth health initiative
• Organizing community events or small group gatherings
In addition to the primary activities described above, secondary activities outside of the sector framework may be started/proposed by the community and carried out with the Volunteer’s help depending on the community’s interest.
Volunteers can play the catalyst role on a wide range of activities, limited only by their ability to integrate into the community, build trust and adapt to the varying needs, ideas and work styles of community members.
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.
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field
• 5 years professional work experience
• Experience working with youth, especially within the topics of leadership development, sexual and reproductive health, healthy lifestyles and/or life skills education
• Experience with health promotion and health education and the ability to work with community members/groups to assess community health needs
• Experience in organizing and working with youth groups
• Classroom management and/or experience working in a school setting - middle school and high school
• At least one year of experience working in a rural area under challenging conditions
• At least one year of experience serving others
• Demonstrated flexibility in work assignments
• At least one life experience as the ‘new person’ moving into a community and successfully building positive relationships with others
• Demonstrated successful experience in organizing and/or planning community meetings or events with adults and/or working with parent groups, such as a PTA
Required Language Skills
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
A candidate who does not meet the language proficiency levels above can take a language placement exam to demonstrate proficiency. Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages exam (ACTFL OPI).
Candidates should also exhibit a strong interest to learn an indigenous language as Paraguay is an officially bi-lingual country and learning both languages, Spanish and Guarani, are critical for Volunteer effectiveness.
Volunteers are often placed within 2-3 hours of Volunteers from the same or another sector.
Volunteers may need to bike or walk up to 10 km in extreme heat and humidity, often in the 90s with 70% humidity. Buses to Asunción from most communities are available, although depending on the size of the community, may have infrequent service. Additionally, heavy rain can cause roads to close, which would mean walking or waiting until the road opens in order to leave a community.
Volunteers live with a host family for the 11 weeks of Pre-Service Training (PST) and the first three months of service, for a total of six months of required homestay experience. Homes may be very basic, with outdoor latrines and no modern plumbing. Most Volunteer housing has access to running water within the property line, if not in the house itself. In the cases where there is no running water, wells are available to be shared.
The Paraguayan diet is heavily based on meat, therefore it can be challenging for vegetarians. The diet is also very high in carbohydrates and many meals involve more than one starch at a time
(e.g. manioc and pasta or manioc and rice). In many Paraguayan families, manioc and meat are eaten almost every day. Fruits are available seasonally. Most communities have access to tomatoes, onions and green peppers, however some have limited access to other vegetables. Many Volunteers plant gardens in order to increase access to vegetables.
Generally speaking, Paraguayans place high importance on personal appearance, including cleanliness. Paraguayans may get offended by visitors to their homes or offices who have body odor or an unkempt appearance. Therefore, cleanliness and neat personal appearance are very important for Volunteers who represent Peace Corps and host country agencies throughout Paraguay. This is a valuable concept to remember as showing respect for Paraguayan values related to cleanliness and appearance will help with integrating into your community. It is expected that Volunteers wear business casual clothing as a working professional would in the U.S. Most Paraguayans dress up for special occasions. In schools and offices - including the Peace Corps office in Asunción - “office casual” is appropriate (nice jeans, khakis, and knee-length skirts; button-down shirts or nice pull-over blouses; closed-toed shoes or dressy sandals). Shorts, flip-flops, and tank tops are inappropriate except around the house or for recreational activities.
The pace of life is much slower than in the U.S. and simple decisions may take longer than one may have previously been accustomed to. Language barriers coupled with indirect communication styles can also pose challenges; however the vast majority of Volunteers are able to overcome these with effort and dedication. In general, Paraguayan communities are very welcoming to Volunteers and the program has an overall positive reputation in the country.
Serving in Paraguay
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Paraguay: 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.
Youth Health Promoter
Couples will live together with the same host family during Pre-Service Training (PST) and for the first three months of service; but may be separated for certain field-based activities during PST.
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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