Maternal and Child Health Promoter - Peace Corps
Volunteers who have served in Zambia consider it to be the "quintessential Peace Corps experience". This is due to the rural nature of their site placements, the warmth of the local people, and the urgent need for their technical skills. However, more than the skills they bring, the most successful Volunteers in Zambia are patient, flexible, and have a passion for inspiring others.
The Community Health Improvement Project (CHIP) is a comprehensive rural health project in which Volunteers work with community health centers and build capacity within community based organizations to encourage community members to take charge of their health. Volunteers will engage partners at the district and community levels to implement health activities. All volunteers will work in three focus areas:
1) Maternal & Child Health and Nutrition
2) Malaria Prevention
3) HIV/AIDS Prevention
A CHIP Volunteer may be involved in the following types of activities on typical work day:
- Partnering with local groups to conduct health activities/events, such as an HIV testing campaign
- Working with community health center staff on data collection, workshops, training, and one-on-one mentoring
- Using sports (such as soccer) as a means to engage and educate youth on HIV/AIDS
- Linking communities to health services at the district and national levels
CHIP Volunteers will typically work with community members known as community health workers, many of them volunteers, and their work schedule varies from that of a 9 am – 5 pm type of “business” work day. Work meetings and activities could happen on any day of the week and some days a Volunteer may have no formal work activities and are free to work on their own personal and secondary projects. In addition to health centers and organizations, Volunteers also have opportunities to work in schools and with out-of-school youth on health education activities.
Zambia is one of the Peace Corps countries participating in important initiatives that promote gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers receive in-depth training on incorporating methods of gender analysis into community assessment and development efforts. During their service they look for culturally appropriate ways to incorporate gender awareness and the promotion of youth- especially girls- into their work.