Youth & HIV/AIDS Life Skills Educator
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 partnered with the Government of Botswana and the U.S. 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 Peace Corps Volunteer, you will work alongside local partners to prepare 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 co-facilitate 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 co-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 support 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 a part of the staff at your school, you will work alongside the guidance and counseling teachers 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 co-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.
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:
• 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 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
• Degree in education, social work, youth or health-related field
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 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.
Botswana is blessed with beautiful weather with up to 340 days of sunshine each year! Winter is usually sunny and warm during the daytime. The rainy season follows in October when temperatures start to rise; then, October to February is the hottest time of the year, followed by spring in April and winter begins in May. 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, maintain high professional standards for themselves, dress professionally at work and culturally appropriately at home, and 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/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 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 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 the virtual and in-person space: 1) Through the use of Learning Space and self-directed learning, and 2) in-person sessions in which you will be 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, to live at the same conditions standard 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.
Botswana is a predominantly Christian nation where every meeting begins and ends with a prayer. While Botswana is generally a tolerant nation, values and morals concerning sexual orientation and gender identity are more conservative than in the U.S. 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. In 2019, same-sex relationships were decriminalized, but community attitudes have not yet evolved, so while it is not a crime to identify as non-heterosexual in Botswana, the decision to disclose is left to each individual Volunteer and sh
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.
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.
Peace Corps Botswana cannot place same sex couples. 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. For more information please visit: https://www.peacecorps.gov/faqs/lgbtq/.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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