Youth & HIV/AIDS Capacity Building - Life Skills Educator

Currently, departure timelines are not available. If selected to serve, applicants will have a minimum of three months' notice between invitation and departure.

The information provided for each assignment is subject to change.

Project Description

Do you enjoy working with young people? Have a passion for public health? Want to contribute to ending the HIV epidemic in Botswana? This may be the position for you!

For the past 17 years, Peace Corps Botswana has been a valued partner to the Government of Botswana and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Botswana’s response to the HIV epidemic, one of the most severe in the world. As a Youth in Development Volunteer, you will take part in preparing youth in Botswana to be 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 provide HIV prevention and life skills education for students. As part of the national PEPFAR-supported DREAMS program (a comprehensive program aimed at keeping at-risk adolescent girls HIV negative and reducing their risk of being victims of gender-based violence), Volunteers implement HIV and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention education in the classroom, through after-school activities, and by mentoring adolescent girls in safe spaces. Life skills education encompasses the development of self-esteem, confidence and emotional health, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, as well as effective communication, decision-making, goal setting, and leadership skills in youth.

Life skills education also includes financial literacy, employability and computer skills. In addition, literacy and study skills keep young people in school and prepare them for the world of work. As such, you may also tutor students, support the English language program and/or get involved with school library services. As an integral part of the staff at your school, you will work alongside the guidance and counseling teacher to implement the national curricula, build the capacity of teachers to effectively deliver HIV/GBV prevention and life skills content and co-teach lessons. You will also be 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/GBV prevention for youth, as well as linking young people to youth-friendly health services.

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.

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.

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

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following:

• 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
• Bachelor's degree in a health-related field
• 3 years of professional experience working with youth and/or families from under-resourced communities
• Experience in education/teaching, HIV and AIDS programs, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, working with at-risk youth, and/or leading youth camps

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 you learn Setswana. The prevalence of English makes language learning a challenge, therefore Trainees and Volunteers must actively pursue language learning for success.

Living Conditions

Botswana is blessed with beautiful weather with up to 340 days of sunshine each year! Winter begins in May and is usually sunny and warm during the daytime. The rainy season follows in October when temperatures start to rise. October to February is the hottest time of the year, followed by spring in April. Summers can be very hot, reaching temperatures into the 90s, and winters are cold, especially at night, with variation between the north and the south. In general, Botswana is an arid country with low humidity and dry heat. Rainfall is low and the country experiences periodic, regular and prolonged drought.

Volunteers in Botswana are expected to be self-motivated, to maintain high professional standards for themselves, to dress professionally at work and culturally appropriately at home, and to conduct themselves with the greatest respect toward the people of Botswana. We also expect Volunteers to possess a true commitment to the development philosophy and approach of the Peace Corps. As a Life Skills Educator assigned to a school, you will work in accordance with the school schedule and calendar, including participating in afterschool, evening, and weekend activities. You will be expected to abide by the school’s dress code, attend staff meetings and assemblies and be present during school hours unless otherwise arranged. As you integrate into your community, you will find opportunities to collaborate with other government departments (e.g., the health clinic, police, gender office), stakeholders, and organizations doing community development work.

During Pre-Service Training, you will receive an introduction to the culture of Botswana that includes values, norms, religious practices, gender roles, workplace behaviors, relationship building, and general living patterns. You will stay with a local family who will share their culture and traditions, teach you how to manage village life and practice speaking Setswana with you. Your training and homestay experience will provide opportunities for you to examine American norms and values, compare them to those of Botswana and develop coping strategies for adjustment. It is important that you come with an open mind and a willingness to adapt. Pre-Service Training will follow COVID-19 protocols and because of COVID-19, Pre-Service Training will be facilitated using both virtual and in-person spaces: 1) Learning Space will be used for self-directed virtual learning, and 2) in-person sessions will take place at the training center.

You will be matched to your community based on your knowledge, skills, and experience, and should be prepared to accept the living conditions at site, the same conditions as the people in your community. You will live in modest accommodation identified by your host school and approved by Peace Corps. Your house may be on a family compound. You might have electricity and running water, but this is not available in all rural villages. Botswana has experienced chronic water and power shortages in recent years, so even if your village has power and your house is wired and plumbed you may still experience periods of time without electricity and water. Availability of goods and services will also vary greatly between sites, but most Volunteers have shopping within 2 hours.

While Botswana is generally a tolerant nation, 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 is left to each individual Volunteer. Many LGBTQI+ 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.

Serving in Botswana

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Botswana: 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.

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. Housing for couples 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

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.


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