Youth & HIV/AIDS Capacity Building - Life Skills Educator

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Peace Corps Botswana has partnered with the Government of Botswana and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to strengthen Botswana’s response to the HIV epidemic, which is one of the most severe in the world. The purpose of our Youth in Development Project is to assist Botswana youth in effectively transitioning to healthy, HIV-free, productive and engaged adults.

As a Life Skills Educator, you will be assigned to an elementary, junior high or public high school to strengthen life skills education for students. Life skills education encompasses the development of positive identity, positive communication, decision-making, goal setting, leadership, and emotional health skills in youth. It also covers adolescent sexual and reproductive health, HIV prevention and gender education, financial literacy, and employability skills. As an integral part of the staff at your school, you will work alongside the guidance and counseling teacher to implement the Ministry of Basic Education’s life skills curriculum, build the capacity of teachers to integrate life skills content into their lessons and co-teach life skills lessons. You will also become involved with after-school activities, such as clubs and sports, and may work with out-of-school youth in the broader community, parents and other organizations addressing HIV prevention for youth, as well as linking them to youth-friendly health services.

In addition to life skills education and HIV prevention, you may also tutor students and staff on computer literacy and English. Many Life Skills Volunteers develop or strengthen the school’s library and use it as a base for youth development in English and life skills education. As a Life Skills Volunteer, you may also be involved with youth camps during school vacations and facilitate literacy training for teachers and students to give participants the opportunity to explore, learn and think critically about what they read, see and hear.

Peace Corps Botswana promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges and have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you may work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.

Required Skills

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
OR
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

• Experience in education/teaching, HIV and AIDS programs, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, working with at-risk youth, and/or leading youth camps
• Degree in education, social work, youth or health-related field preferred

Required Language Skills

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

Trainees receive intensive training in Setswana, the national language, and must attain an “intermediate low” level by the end of Pre-Service Training. Business is often conducted in English, the official language, but true successful service and integration only happens when the Volunteer learns Setswana. The prevalence of English makes language learning a challenge, thus Trainees and Volunteers must actively pursue their language learning for success.

Living Conditions

Botswana is blessed with beautiful weather with up to 340 days of sunshine each year! You will arrive at the end of winter, which is windy, sunny and warm. The rainy season follows in October when temperatures start to rise. October to February is the hottest period, spring follows in April and winter begins in May. Summers are very hot, reaching temperatures into the 90s, and winters are cold with freezing temperatures at times. Botswana is an arid country characterized by lack of surface water, low humidity and dry heat. Rainfall is low and the country experiences periodic and prolonged drought.

All Volunteers in Botswana should be self-motivated, maintain high professional standards for themselves, be prepared to dress professionally at work, and conduct themselves with the greatest respect toward the people of Botswana. You must also possess a true commitment to the development philosophy and approaches of the Peace Corps. As a Life Skills Volunteer in Botswana, you will be assigned to a school and work a traditional Monday through Friday week, with opportunities to work with students in afterschool programs and over the weekends. The school day is from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm. You will be expected to dress professionally and abide by the school’s dress code.

During Pre-Service Training, you will receive an introduction to the culture of Botswana that includes information and experiences in Botswana values, norms, religious practices, gender roles, workplace behaviors, relationship building, and general living patterns. Much of this will be experienced while living with your host family. Part of your training will push you to examine American norms and values, compare them to those of your new home, and develop coping strategies for those areas that are vastly different. It is most essential that you come with an open mind, honesty, and a willingness to adapt.

During Pre-Service Training, you will live with a local family who will share Botswana culture and traditions, teach you how to manage village life and practice speaking Setswana with you. During your service, you will live in accommodations identified by your host school and approved by Peace Corps. You will have a modest dwelling that may be on a family compound. Volunteers in rural towns may have electricity and running water, while this may not be available in rural villages. You will be matched to your site based on your knowledge, skills and experience. You must be prepared to accept the living conditions at site, as you will be living under the same conditions as the people with and for whom you work. Some sites are isolated with the closest shopping up to 2 hours away.

While Botswana is generally tolerant, values and morals concerning sexual orientation and gender identity are more conservative than in the US. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms, and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and host country. It is not a crime to identify as non-heterosexual in Botswana and the decision to disclose and to whom is left to each individual Volunteer. Many LGBTQ Volunteers have served successfully in Botswana. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during Pre-Service Training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming Trainees.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Botswana: 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

Peace Corps Botswana welcomes couples serving together in the Youth in Development sector. Your partner must qualify and apply for the following position:

Youth & HIV/AIDS Capacity Building – Life Skills Educator

Couples will live together during Pre-Service Training and the full two years of service. Couples housing will be similar to that of other Volunteers. Housing will be large enough to host two people. Couples will attend Peace Corps trainings together, but could be separated during travel or different job duties. Couples placements depend on many factors and couples should be comfortable working in the same school or different schools in close proximity.

Going through the Peace Corps experience as a couple allows for ample growth in trust, confidence, and communication. There will be times when you will both need each other’s support. Understand that you will need to put in extra effort to be an ally to your partner. Although you will not be able to completely eradicate many of these challenges, they can be coped with and overcome with time, patience, and, most importantly, a good sense of humor.

Medical Considerations in Botswana

  • Botswana may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: insulin-dependent diabetes; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; ophthalmology; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Vyvanse.
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified.
  • After arrival in Botswana, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and to receive 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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