Peace Corps Namibia’s Community Economic Development (CED) project promotes small-scale economic development through the reinforcement of entrepreneurial and business management skills in Namibian communities. Current business development service providers are mainly limited to formal businesses in urban centers, neglecting thousands of potential and existing small enterprises across the country. In addition, significant income disparity, high and consistent unemployment, increasing urban movement, and the HIV epidemic contribute to an environment in which CED Volunteers hold great potential to lift the most disadvantaged from extreme economic hardship, or move a nascent business to new profitability, benefiting families and communities.
Despite Namibia’s classification as a ‘lower middle income’ economy, huge disparities still exist. Namibia is ranked as one of the lowest countries in terms of income/asset distribution in the world, and the Government of Namibia cites “high and persistent unemployment,” estimated to be as high as 34 percent of the population, as a “key weakness” in the Namibian economy. Limited job opportunities in the formal and/or government sectors coupled with inadequate skills training necessary for self-employment have contributed to a perpetually high—and even increasing—unemployment rate since 1970. Furthermore, an expanding urban population, driven by youth seeking improved economic opportunities, is expected to rise significantly from 43 percent in 2006 to 75 percent by 2030.. This places an incredible strain on resources and reinforces the importance of creating diversified economic activities and skills development, especially in rural areas.
Volunteer placements vary greatly, from very rural conservancies to urban Chambers of Commerce and municipalities. All CED Volunteers will facilitate and manage a learning environment - some in Vocational Training Center (VTC) classrooms teaching entrepreneurship and basic business skills, some in formal trainings and workshops for businesses, and some through one-on-one mentoring in business incubators, or similar environments. Depending on placement and community needs, Volunteers may work with farmers, youth, women’s groups, town council leaders, and/or business owners.
The CED program has been well received in Namibia; and stakeholders and beneficiaries of Volunteers' work, like Chambers of Commerce, town councils, small NGOs, and community members, have expressed strong interest in the program’s continued success.
Peace Corps Namibia 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 facilitate empowerment programs designed to ensure that both the girl and boy child learn the new paradigm together. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic, with a National prevalence rate of 33.3% (Sentinel Survey 2016), is exacerbated by and further contributes to poverty in Namibia. In the face of limited opportunity (both perceived and existing), individuals are often obliged to make decisions jeopardizing their health. Additionally, the epidemic is assumed to simultaneously increase expenses (related to medical care) and decrease household income (related to reduced labor capacity). You will have opportunities to play a role in helping to improve the quality of life of individuals living with HIV and AIDS through the establishment of income generation projects and promotion of HIV and AIDS awareness and prevention.
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