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Peace Corps Volunteer

Water Sanitation and Hygiene Education Facilitator

Project description

Peace Corps Peru’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Project began in 2008, after a large earthquake hit the southern region of the country in 2007. Currently, Water and Sanitation is one of the six priorities of the Peruvian government, creating an opportunity for WASH Facilitators to support key local authorities who are responsible for the management of water and sanitation services in their communities.
WASH facilitators work on 3 key components: Water Infrastructure Care, Water Management and Sanitary and Environmental Education under a sustainability and gender-based approach.
Water Infrastructure Care and Water Management: WASH facilitators in Peru work closely with municipality representatives and members of local water committees, building capacities related to making a diagnostic and developing an improvement plan for basic, rural water systems. WASH facilitators support key actors in improving systems administration, operation, and maintenance activities. This work includes Water Systems checking, inter-institutional coordination, co- training, and field-based co- instruction.
Sanitary and Environmental Education: WASH facilitators also work with health facilities staff, teachers, and other grassroots organizations to raise community awareness of rational use of water and good hygiene practices. To achieve this, WASH facilitators co-deliver sessions to families, local leaders, and students on these topics.
WASH facilitators work with teachers supporting the development of school projects to promote rational use of water and hygiene practices. These activities include handwashing techniques, food hygiene, household/school water treatment and storage, the fecal-oral cycle and contamination, ways to save water in rural communities, recycling, and other activities.
Health and Climate Change: As the impacts of climate change become increasingly evident, the social, economic, and environmental context of local communities continues to change, directly and indirectly affecting both community and individual health. Human health is sensitive to shifts in weather patterns and other aspects of climate change. These effects are direct and caused by changes in temperature and precipitation, occurrence of heat waves, floods, droughts, fires, etc.
WASH facilitator activities are directly related to climate change resilience. For example, due to water scarcity, it is a priority to promote the care of water infrastructure such as catchments, reservoirs, and conduction pipes.
Peace Corps trains WASH Volunteers to use a participatory approach and tools that leverage local knowledge and resources to achieve the following:
• Promote understanding of the impacts of climate change on human health and the urgency of knowing how to assess localized risks and prioritize actionable solutions
• Develop plans and capabilities for early identification and response for future pandemics (ie “the next COVID”)
• Minimize health commodity waste’s contribution to environmental pollution (land, water, air) by implementing recycling or environmental projects at schools
• Promote community health protection and individual immune system resilience through discussions and activities, planning with mothers’ clubs and/or youth clubs around food security, nutrient diversification, and access to potable water.

There will also be numerous opportunities to participate in additional activities, which will be defined by community priorities and your skills and preferences. These may include collaboration with community partners to teach computer classes, summer schools, coach sports, teach English classes and others.

Required skills

Qualified candidates will have an expressed interest in working in hygiene education/sanitation 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 one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Civil, Environmental or Sanitary Engineering, or other relevant field
• Experience delivering/facilitating ng training, workshops or sessions on hygiene and sanitary education for adults
• Experience working in Health/Environmental projects with schools and communities.
• Interest in working with community-based organizations and leaders

Required language skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. PC Peru recommends candidates meet one of the following criteria but there are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

A. Completed 2 years of high school Spanish coursework
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college‐level coursework
C. Proficiency in another romance language (e.g. French, Portuguese, Italian)

The national language of Peru is Spanish, while close to 30% of the population Speaks a first language other than Spanish. Pre-Service Training will focus on Spanish and Trainees that will be going to Quechua speaking regions will have an opportunity to learn Quechua, which is commonly spoken in many Andean communities and important for community integration. It is important to maintain an open and positive attitude about language learning, as well as being willing to dedicate substantial time to learning and practicing language outside of formal language class during Pre-Service Training. Trainees will not be able to swear in as a Volunteer unless they meet the benchmark of Intermediate Mid on the ACTFL proficiency scale in Spanish.

All Volunteers learn and work in Spanish. Trainees must demonstrate an intermediate-mid level of proficiency in Spanish after 11 weeks of Pre-Service Training to swear-in as a Volunteer.
Some Volunteers may be placed in Quechua speaking communities. To be considered for placement in a Quechua speaking community, Trainees must arrive to Post with a Spanish proficiency level of intermediate high or higher. While continuing to learn Spanish, these Trainees will receive 7 weeks of basic Quechua language training (equivalent to 40 hours of Quechua). Trainees studying Quechua should demonstrate novice-mid proficiency in Quechua after 11 weeks of Pre-Service Training.

Living conditions

Geography and Climate:
Peru has three primary geographic regions: Pacific Coast, Andean mountains, and Amazon rainforest. The climatic conditions in each of these three regions are vastly different depending on the time of year. Pacific coastal communities can experience hotter, drier climates year-round with little to no rainfall. The mountain areas are often high-altitude communities with cold weather and a wet and dry season. Rainforest communities experience more rain throughout the year and sometimes hotter climates.
Host Family:
Volunteers are required to live with a host family during Pre-Service Training and in their assigned community for the full two years of service. Couples will live together with the same host family. The homestay experience increases safety and security, language acquisition, and overall integration. It is often one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences of a Volunteer’s service.

Peru is known as the gastronomic capital of South America. While Volunteers’ daily diet will be more basic, there will be plenty of opportunities to explore traditional Peruvian foods. The Peruvian diet varies based on geographic location, but in general it is a high-starch diet (potatoes, rice, or cassava) and potentially includes an option of meat, chicken, or fish. Host families prepare meals based on what is available in their area and Volunteers should be prepared to eat with host families to show respect for their hospitality and culture . Host families are not accustomed to eating as many fruits and vegetables as Volunteers may be, and they are not expected to prepare special meals for Volunteers. Maintaining a vegan or vegetarian is possible but may present challenges while serving in Peru. Volunteers will need to adapt to a new diet and be willing to be flexible in their dietary habits.

Transportation: Volunteers should be able to walk or use a bicycle to travel to and from work, shopping for basic needs (food items, personal care, household essentials, etc.), and for other personal errands in their assigned community. For official travel (training, health, or administrative reasons), Volunteers will use public transportation (buses, ‘combis’ [small buses], ‘colectivos’ [shared taxis], or moto-taxis [three-wheeled motorcycles]).

Wi-Fi availability at restaurants and cafés is common in Peru, especially in bigger cities. However, once a Volunteer is placed in their permanent community, they may have access to the Municipality or school’s internet connection or may not have access to the internet and will have to learn to do without until they can go to a larger city. Adaptation is the key to successful service. International telephone service to and from Peru is relatively good. There are various international phone cards available in Peru, or Volunteers can find a phone plan that allows them to make international calls.

Social Identity and Diversity:
Peace Corps Peru strives to provide the best possible support to diverse Volunteers and recognizes that their experiences as members of different underrepresented groups will present unique challenges as they navigate social, cultural, political, religious, and personal matters. For example, norms around sexual orientation and gender identity may differ from U.S. communities. Volunteers need to be mindful of cultural norms and use their judgment to approach these topics in their communities. Staff and currently serving Volunteers address these topics during Pre-Service Training to share strategies and support mechanisms available to Volunteers.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Peru: 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

Peru cannot accommodate couples within the same sector. Therefore, your partner must qualify and apply for:
Community Economic Development Facilitator.
Couples will live together with a host family during Pre-Service Training but may be separated for certain field-based activities due to working in different project sectors. During service, couples will also live together with a host family. Couples will be separated for workshops and conferences for up to two weeks at a time due to in-service training events.
Going through Peace Corps as a couple allows for ample growth in trust, confidence, and communication. There will be times when couples will need each other’s support. Understand that couples will need to put in extra effort to be an ally to your partner. Although couples 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.

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