Environment is key to Paraguay’s development. The country is home to priority ecosystems. Its economy is heavily agriculture-based. The Pantanal is the largest freshwater wetland in the world. The Atlantic Forest is one of the most biodiverse, and also protects the Guaraní Aquifer, a critical freshwater source in South America. The Chaco, the 2nd largest forest after the Amazon, is being heavily deforested, with Paraguay having the 2nd highest rate of deforestation in the world, due to land use conversion for agricultural purposes. Because of the intensive use of natural resources for agriculture, there is a growing need for a more sustainable approach. Small farmers have less and less productive land than their forbearers; this has contributed to migration from rural to urban areas.
Urban populations have been growing by 3.6% per year with over half of Paraguay’s population now living in urban areas. At the same time, rural lifestyles are also becoming more consumeristic. The combination of these two phenomena has generated new environmental challenges, mostly in trash management.
Many rural and urban citizens are unaware of the dangers of environmental degradation to their livelihoods and well-being. Often, even if they are environmentally aware, they lack access and/or competencies to conserve or improve their local environment.
To help address these issues, Peace Corps, in consultation with Paraguayan environmental stakeholders, recently redesigned the Community Environmental Project. The overall goal of the revised project is for Paraguayans to improve natural resource management for a healthy, productive and resilient environment.
The project has two objectives:
Objective 1: Increase the knowledge, skills and attitudes of youth to become effective environmental stewards
Objective 2: Increase the adoption of practices by individuals and communities that lead to an increased number of trees.
Objective 1 works toward developing young people into future environmental stewards, including environmental education with teachers in elementary schools, co-facilitating eco-clubs with young people, co-implementing environmental days and co-facilitating school-based recycling programs.
Objective 2 is focused on promoting afforestation; this includes identifying interested community members, establishing tree nurseries, preparing community members for receiving saplings and supporting tree planting and follow-up care, in support of the National Forestry Institute (INFONA). All Environment Volunteers work in elementary schools and with community members. All work is done through collaborative efforts with other people. Volunteers do not work on tree planting or nurseries, etc. alone.
More specifically, Paraguay Environment Volunteers work on the following activities:
• Collaborate in primary schools (up to 9th grade) co-designing, co-planning and co-facilitating with local teachers on environmental education topics, including community-based social marketing and recycling
• Co-implement with local counterpart(s) a structured eco-club (in or out of school) and other environmental events, focusing on young people.
• Collaborate with INFONA staff and local counterparts on initiating or managing a tree nursery/ies
• Promote forestation and/or reforestation with native species (and some fast-growth), while working with manageable solutions that address rural, low-resourced communities’ economic realities
All candidates should feel comfortable working with community, teacher and youth groups as well as coordinating with local elected officials and gov’t/non-gov’t organization workers. Environment Volunteers are placed in communities ranging from small to mid-size rural villages, or small towns, to marginalized neighborhoods of urban areas.
All Volunteers in the Environment Project will have the same training and assignment description, meaning they will work on the same project framework and its related activities in their communities.
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