Youth in Development Program Coordinator

Before You Apply

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Project Description

The Youth in Development program is in the beginning stage of the implementation of a new Logic Project Framework (2020-2026). As part of the first group of Volunteers, your task is to work towards the project goal: Guatemalan youth effectively transition to become healthy, productive, civically engaged adults. In order to reach this goal, you will work directly with community partners through the following main areas:

1. Strengthening the knowledge and skills of youth to improve their well-being and health through life skills education
2. Strengthening youth capacity for community engagement
3. Increasing the skills of youth service providers and key community actors to implement positive youth development methodologies in the community

Youth in Development Program Coordinators work with youth between the ages of 11 to 18 and their communities to implement Positive Youth Development activities to prepare them to effectively transition into become healthy, productive, and civically engaged adults. The Volunteers’ primary role is to serve as a Program Coordinator and lead youth development efforts in and outside the classroom. The Volunteer serves as a trainer, as a teacher and as a mentor to design and implement health and life skills training directly to Guatemalan youth. Topics include: life skills development, sexual and reproductive health, substance abuse prevention, service learning, leadership, community engagement and organizational development. Common Volunteer activities in the school setting include: Life skills classes, youth clubs, rallies, school fairs, school assemblies, fine arts and work with student council. Common Volunteer activities outside of the school setting include: participation in local community meetings, sports, church groups, women’s groups, environmental clubs, and work with NGOs.

A large part of the role is working directly with youth and adults in both traditional and non-traditional learning environments, and being sensitive and flexible to cultural norms. Volunteers will also coordinate with adults in the community who are working in youth development. This is done by identifying key community actors and developing/strengthening a network for youth support.

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
• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have at least one year of experience working in three or more of the following (in order of priority):
• Developing, designing and/or delivering life skills workshops in the areas of health and education, teaching, guidance counseling, mentoring, recreation and sports management, fine arts, or community organizing.
• Transferring knowledge and skills to youth in multiple settings such as schools, community centers, youth groups and non-profit organizations
• Experience working with local networks to promote Positive Youth engagement coordinating and facilitating individual and group activities and/or training sessions to youth and adults in the community on various topics.
• Emotional maturity and professionalism necessary to serve as a positive role model for youth.
• Strong communication and interpersonal skills to establish solid working relationships with important local stakeholders in an intercultural environment.
• Demonstrated professionalism both independently and as a team member.
• Strong ability to maintain flexibility and structure in chaotic or understructure environments

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 need to demonstrate an Intermediate level of oral and written proficiency in Spanish for site placement by the end of Pre-Service Training (PST). Most Volunteers will work directly in Spanish and some will work in communities with Mayan languages with support from a Spanish/Mayan speaking community member. Volunteers serving in areas where Mayan languages are spoken will have the opportunity to study the local language once they arrive in their community to assist with integration into the community and basic communication.

Living Conditions

Most Volunteers live in medium-sized to larger rural communities (3,000 - 40,000 people). Volunteers are placed in communities of Guatemala often characterized by its beautiful mountainous terrain, warm day-time temperatures and cool, brisk nights due to the high altitudes. While most communities have access to electricity and running water, it is not uncommon for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance to limit the hours of availability of either. Fruits, vegetables, and meats are available either in site or in nearby communities. Local cell phones are required for all Volunteers. The phone plan Peace Corps provides includes credit for some local calls and limited internet. Most Volunteers have access to internet in their communities either in a local Internet café or through the purchase of additional Internet data.

All volunteers are required to live with a host family during the 10 week Pre-Service Training (PST) and during the duration of their 2 year service. Host families are considered to be key actors in the integration as well as the safety and security of Volunteers. Host families in Guatemala vary, with some Volunteers living with large extended families while others with smaller ones. It is important that applicants be not only willing, but eager, to interact and live with a Guatemalan host family. Most Volunteers cook for themselves during service, but some may opt to eat with their host family or in small restaurants.

Guatemala is a very traditional and religious society. People’s roles in regards to gender, work, and the community are much more clearly defined than in the U.S. Volunteers are not asked to conform directly to the social/cultural norms, however it is expected that they be aware, tolerant and respectful of the practices, customs and way of life and they may need to adapt certain behaviors to demonstrate that respect.

Security Policies:
The security environment in Guatemala requires Volunteers to follow policies in order to mitigate potential safety and security risks, such as those related to transportation and travel. As a result, Peace Corps Guatemala has implemented a comprehensive and strict transportation and travel policy for Trainees and Volunteers. We are looking for responsible applicants that are willing to comply with this policy, which includes utilizing identified transportation methods, restricted travel zones, day-light travel only, and using appropriate overnight accommodation. All communities are accessible by public transportation and/or use of the Peace Corps Guatemala shuttle system. Volunteers on official travel or personal leave must adhere to these transportation and travel policies to continue service in Guatemala.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Guatemala: 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

Guatemala is happy to accommodate cross-sector couples, as well as same-sector couples. We will identify communities with sufficient work opportunities for both volunteers. Your partner can apply and must qualify for:

Youth in Development Program Coordinator, or
Community Economic Development Facilitator

Couples will not live together during the ten weeks of Pre-Service Training (PST). Guatemala’s community-based training model places trainees in communities based on their technical program and Spanish level. Special considerations are given to couples so that they live in nearby communities and they will have more flexibility to see each other (e.g., on weekends). Language acquisition and cultural integration increase when each member of the couple lives with a separate host family. Couples will live together for the duration of their service.

Medical Considerations

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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