Can you imagine stepping out the front door of your mokhoro (rondavel) taking in the view of valleys falling below you and the mountain peaks disappearing into the distance as your village wakes up in the morning? Do you see yourself teaching life skills in a night school for balisana (shepherds) or helping establish youth-friendly health services at your local health center? Can you see the light of opportunity and empowerment take hold in an adolescent girl who attends the Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) club you help lead? Bo-‘M’e le Bo-Ntate (Ladies and Gentlemen), take a closer look at the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho and consider working hand in hand with the Basotho people to deliver on the promise of an HIV/AIDS-free generation.
In Lesotho, a country completely encircled by the Republic of South Africa, the prevalence of HIV among adults is over 25%. Among children, however, the rates are slightly over 2%. Adolescents and young people represent the key to ending the HIV epidemic in Lesotho, however they face many challenges accessing prevention, care, and treatment services, resulting in new infections and lower rates of viral suppression.
As an HIV/AIDS and Adolescent Health Volunteer you will work in the prevention of new HIV infections among adolescents, increase access to gender-equitable care, support and treatment services for adolescents, and support the strengthening of health systems in Lesotho. Volunteers work within governmental health clinics, international and national non-governmental organizations, or community-based organizations. Working in collaboration with their counterpart organization staff and community members, Volunteers are involved in facilitating, mentoring, training, linking to services, and drawing services to their communities by networking with organizations working across the spectrum of health services and support.
Volunteer activities may include co-facilitating the following activities:
• Clubs and camps that provide age and culturally appropriate messaging on HIV prevention.
• Gender-equitable sessions on HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment.
• Sessions on positive living for adolescents living with HIV.
• Sessions on economic-strengthening for groups of orphans and vulnerable children and their caregivers.
• Evidence-based trainings to improve the knowledge and skills of health care workers to provide gender-equitable and age-appropriate youth-friendly services.
Other activities may include:
• Collaborate with health workers to implement the national standard operating procedures for creation of youth-friendly services at health facilities.
• Build the capacity of clinic staff to manage pharmaceuticals and commodities in their health facilities.
• Work with community organizations and health facilities to ensure quality data is being collected and reported.
Peace Corps Lesotho promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in your country and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you will look for ways to 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.
Every Peace Corps Volunteer’s experience and daily work differs depending on the resources, needs, and capacity of the community where he/she serves. During the first three months at site, Volunteers conduct community assessments, build relationships, and work together with community members to identify community needs and priorities that fit with the Peace Corps Lesotho Health Sector framework and plan the projects that will be implemented throughout the Volunteers’ two years of service.
Should you choose this as your assignment, you undoubtedly have an incredibly rewarding service ahead of you!
Health coverage, Housing, Living allowance, Non-competitive eligibility (federal jobs), Stipend, Student loan forbearance, Training
Prohibits paid work outside of the sponsoring agency at any time
Subject to criminal background check