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Community Health Educator

Project description

The Peace Corps has had an ongoing partnership with the government of Togo since 1962, and over 3,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in the country, focusing their work in recent years on the Health, Education, and Agriculture sectors. Togo’s Ministry of Health, Public Hygiene, and Universal Access to Health Care has invited Community Health Educators to work on the Community Health Education and System Strengthening (CHESS) program, which was co-designed with the Peace Corps. The CHESS program focuses its work in rural communities, and has three primary objectives:

1. Strengthening maternal and newborn health practices
2. Expanding community health education
3. Increasing the capacity of community health workers

Through the CHESS program, Community Health Educator Volunteers collaborate with Togolese community health worker counterparts and partner organizations at the community and district levels to implement sustainable solutions that utilize local resources and address the unique challenges faced by the communities they serve. In partnership with village development and water management committees, clinic pharmacy management committees, district Directors of Health, midwives and birth attendants, nurses, and public sanitation agents, Community Health Educator Volunteers serve as co-educators, co-facilitators and co-trainers on health system strengthening projects, such as:

• Planning and implementing health promotion and awareness-raising activities using culturally appropriate messaging
• Making visits to households with pregnant and/or lactating women to promote essential practices that contribute to healthy pregnancies and newborn children
• Identifying and mapping resources and referral pathways to advance equity and accessibility in delivering quality healthcare services
• Facilitating workshops to strengthen capacity building of healthcare personnel, both on technical knowledge and on topics such as respectful patient care practices, monitoring and evaluation, and behavior change communication
• Monitoring and evaluating the outcomes of these activities

Peace Corps Togo is proud of the strong monitoring, reporting, and evaluation culture it has developed, which enables Volunteers, their host communities, and our partners to measure the impact of interventions co-implemented by Peace Corps Volunteers and their Togolese counterparts, and to inform decisions that direct our future work.

In addition to their primary projects, Volunteers in Togo co-implement and report on secondary projects and the following cross-sector activities:

• Promoting Gender Equity and Women’s Empowerment:
Volunteers participate in trainings on challenges to gender equity in their host communities and use this to co-facilitate activities for community members like discussions of gender roles and shadowing female role models. Volunteers are also trained on the principles of Student-Friendly Schools to foster inclusivity, belonging and integration within their host communities.

• Addressing Climate Change and Food Security:
Climate change affects many different sectors of society. Drought, extreme heat, and flooding can impact food production and human health, causing an increase in mortality and food shortages. Volunteers in Togo are trained to co-facilitate activities raising awareness on and developing adaptations to the impact of climate change and food security in their host communities.

• Preventative Measures for Endemic, Epidemic, and Pandemic Diseases:
Endemic, epidemic, and pandemic diseases, such as Malaria, Lassa Fever, Cholera, HIV, and COVID-19 pose a national threat to the Togolese health infrastructure and population. Volunteers in Togo are trained to support host community members in facilitating awareness-raising activities and implementing prevention and mitigation measures for infectious diseases.

Required skills

Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working in the health sector 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

The most successful candidates will also have one or more of the following qualifications:

• Experience working or volunteering in the health field, especially with maternal and newborn health, reproductive health, infectious disease awareness and prevention, nutrition, and water and sanitation hygiene
• Experience working or volunteering in community health education and/or health worker capacity-building, with inter-cultural sensitivity
• Knowledge of Behavioral Change Communication and Information, Communication and Education best practices for health promotion, community engagement, and social mobilization
• Degree in Public Health or Global Health
• Experience coordinating and implementing locally prioritized projects at the community or district level
• Training and facilitation skills, with adult learners and peers
• Knowledge of Monitoring, Reporting and Evaluation (MRE) tools
• Experience in climate change awareness, prevention, and response
• Experience promoting gender-equitable practices and the empowerment of women and girls

Required language skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. The official language of Togo is French, and there are over 40 local languages spoken in Togo. French is spoken by many but not all Togolese as a second language.

Peace Corps Togo places great emphasis on language acquisition and intercultural immersion throughout service. Volunteers are expected to spend time in their host communities developing their language skills and getting to know the individual members of their community, to better understand their traditions, culture, and local norms. On arrival in Togo, Volunteers should be prepared to learn both French and a local language spoken in their host community.

Togo has dedicated Language and Cultural Facilitators and a Language and Cultural Coordinator on staff who teach French and local languages during the 11 weeks of Pre-Service Training (PST), the two weeks of Reconnect training, and upon request. At the completion of Pre-Service Training, Volunteers are expected to have at least an intermediate-mid level of spoken French proficiency. If a Trainee begins PST with the required French proficiency, local language acquisition will begin immediately. There is no local language testing requirement, but an intermediate-mid proficiency in French must be attained before starting to learn a local language, and to officially swear in as a Volunteer. Trainees who do not have the required intermediate-mid proficiency in French prior to swearing-in will have a maximum of two additional weeks of language acquisition after PST.

Local language acquisition, which mostly occurs in a Volunteer’s host community, is essential for integration and relationship building with local counterparts. Peace Corps Togo identifies a language tutor in each Volunteer’s community. All identified language tutors are trained on Peace Corps Togo language acquisition methods. Peace Corps Togo expects that Volunteers take advantage of all language acquisition opportunities throughout the service journey to advance professionally and strengthen relationships with host community members.

Living conditions

Peace Corps Togo has sustained over 60 years of friendship with host governmental representatives, partnered organizations and host communities, who regard Volunteers as co-development partners and embrace them as family members and friends. In return, Volunteers serve their host communities with equal respect and humility, adapting to the community’s way of life and demonstrating the flexibility needed to effectively address the community’s specific needs and meet the goals of Peace Corps service. As there are over 40 ethnic groups across this small nation, each Volunteer experiences a slightly different Togo.

Peace Corps Togo provides support, training, and strategies to facilitate Volunteer integration. During the 11-week Pre-Service Training (PST), Trainees live with host families and complete a work practicum in an immersion environment. This Village-Based Training model allows Trainees to practice speaking French and other local languages with community members, adapt to Togolese culture, develop and practice technical skills necessary for their work, and learn to live independently, healthily, and safely during their Peace Corps service.

After PST, Peace Corps Volunteers are dispersed to host communities throughout Togo, where each has their own private bedroom, kitchen, and latrine within a compound shared with neighbors. Living in a shared compound eases Volunteers’ integration into the host community, allowing continued opportunities for language practice and intercultural exchange. Peace Corps Togo has a rigorous selection, preparation, and approval process for host communities and Volunteer housing, to ensure each meets minimum Peace Corps standards for health, safety, security, and availability of program activities.

Volunteer housing in Togo varies from community to community. Volunteers may not have electricity or running water in their homes and may fetch water from traditional wells or village pumps. Volunteers receive a water filter and training to properly treat water for drinking. Peace Corps Togo also provides a simple gas cooking stove with two gas tanks, and a local SIM card. Cellphone data is widely but not universally available. Volunteers live within 60km of the nearest regional capital, and travel via bicycle, public transportation, and riding in shared vehicles.

The diet consists of both locally grown foods and preserved foods. The staple food in Togo is “pâte” made of corn flour, usually accompanied by a hot sauce. Meat, dried fish, tofu, and beans are widely available, but fresh fish is only available in larger towns. Fruits and vegetables are seasonal, limiting the diversity of a vegetarian diet at certain times of year.

Peace Corps Togo welcomes Volunteers from diverse backgrounds and sexual orientations. However, the government of Togo has some restrictive laws that prohibit certain sexual acts and orientations. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms and country-specific laws and exercise judgment and personal responsibility to protect their health, safety, and well-being and that of host community members. Due to safety and security concerns, LGBTQI+ Volunteers are advised not to serve openly in Togo. We recognize and acknowledge the difficulty of not having the liberty to openly express one’s sexual orientation. Peace Corps Togo staff are committed to support LGBTQI+ Volunteers amidst these challenges and facilitate an Equity Council and Peer Support Network of currently serving Volunteers.

During PST and throughout service, Volunteers are trained and supported to work in partnership with their counterparts, host communities, and fellow Volunteers to prevent, mitigate and/or manage potential safety-, security-, and health-related risks and challenges. These trainings permit Volunteers to work alongside community members within the policies and rules of Peace Corps and the local and national laws of the government of Togo.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Togo: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and health/crime statistics in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Medical considerations

Before you apply, please review medical clearance and legal clearance to learn about the process.

Couples information

Peace Corps Togo is happy to accept couples. A Community Health Educator’s partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions in Togo: Sustainable Agriculture Educator or Secondary Education English Teacher.

A couple serving in Togo must work in two different sectors, and during the 11 weeks of Pre-Service Training (PST) they will live with different home stay families, in different host communities. During PST, couples can spend time together on weekends after training activities and will be responsible for their own transportation between communities. During the subsequent two years in their permanent host community, a couple will live together in the same accommodation.

Due to the country’s restrictive laws regarding the LGBTQI+ community, same-sex couples cannot serve in Togo at this time. 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:

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