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Anonymous ( -
Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 12:48 am:   

I've been invited as a health extension volunteer in Africa and am having doubts about whether to accept. I am 22 and applied over a year ago. My main concern is that I don't really have any concrete health-related experience, volunteering or otherwise, and that perhaps I am too young to go. I know they must trust I can do the job since I've been invited, but do many people go in with so little experience?

Is the training comprehensive enough for someone with little background in the field? I am just concerned about being effective in my assignment.
Paul Webster ( -
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 9:19 am:   

From everything I've read and researched, you should probably be okay to do whatever you are assigned to. The three months training is mostly for language, but it also has parts dedicated to culture training and technical training for your "field", as it were.

How come you were invited to a health program, though; did you ask for that?
RPCV ( -
Posted on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 2:34 pm:   

Whatever your background, the country of service wants you ... There are many roles in health extension, some of which involve generalists who are trained to integrate health lessons into school English programs, teaching life skills to youth, working with youth clubs, assisting health specialists in community outreach programs, etc. as well as the specialist jobs that might require an MPH, nurse, etc.

What is the job description?

For example, in addition to my job in community economic development, I taught English and life skills, worked on environement programs and collaborated with other international and national volunteers present in the community or other parts of the country.

Best recommendation is to be flexible, learn to assess your assigned community's and organization's needs with your host country counterparts and to develop projects that the community wants, utitlize and improve your current skills while acquiring new skills. The pre-service training will be invaluable for acquiring the foundation of community development and language skills necessary for your service; however, the experience will be one of continuous learning, fruastrations and successes ... little by little ...

You'll be fine!

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