Volunteers participating in the Improving Community Health in Ethiopia (ICHE) Project make it a priority to improve individual and family health through strengthened health practices and care seeking behaviors. Volunteers in this project are assigned to rural health centers or clinics and serve as educators, community mobilizers, and trainers.
Community Health Educators work directly with caregivers of children under five to improve behaviors in the areas of water, sanitation, and hygiene-related diseases (WASH), nutrition, and early care seeking. Throughout their service, Community Health Educators will focus on 8 families; conducting weekly home visits, performing analysis of barriers to practicing healthy behaviors, and implementing action plans to help each family adopt healthy behaviors. Community Health Educators also establish community groups who meet regularly to support each other as they address specific health needs.
In addition to working with families, Community Health Educators work in local primary and secondary schools to implement health campaigns, organize school-based health clubs, and work with school officials to improve school sanitation and hand washing facilities and organize school-wide health campaigns. The work in schools focuses on WASH-related diseases, hand and face washing, personal hygiene, nutrition, reproductive health practices, family planning, contraception methods, HIV/AIDs prevention, and girls’ empowerment and life skills. Additionally, Community Health Educators work with local teachers to implement these initiatives and will actively build their knowledge of, and capacity in, health education.
Volunteers serving in Ethiopia have an opportunity to do meaningful work that addresses significant health challenges facing the country ranging from illnesses related to nutritional deficiencies, water borne diseases, malaria and respiratory tract infections. Ethiopian Ministry of Health studies reported that about 80% of rural and 20% of urban populations in Ethiopia have no access to safe water. Three-quarters of the country’s child health problems are communicable diseases arising from the environment, specifically water and sanitation.
Along with their health education work, many Volunteers are involved with school clubs, youth camps, sports, and other extracurricular activities. Community Health Educators integrate Peace Corps Ethiopia’s cross sector program priorities into their health education and secondary projects, which can include HIV/AIDs prevention, malaria mitigation, food security, and technology. You will receive training on gender challenges in Ethiopia 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.
During Pre-Service Training, Community Health Educators spend 12 weeks living with a local family and being trained on technical, cross-cultural, language, medical, and safety and security aspects within the rural Ethiopian context. Peace Corps staff will measure your achievement to determine if you have successfully achieved competencies before swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Serving in Ethiopia as a Community Health Educator is the quintessential Peace Corps assignment and a great opportunity for someone who wants to implement the theories of designing for behavior change in a real world setting working with families and schools. You will learn about designing for behavior change and behavior change communication, and in applying it, you will make significant health improvements in the communities you serve.
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