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This is the largest area of need as identified by the countries asking for Peace Corps assistance. A benefit of Volunteering as a teacher is that some states waive student teaching requirements or provide preliminary teaching credentials for returned Peace Corps Volunteers.
Volunteers introduce innovative teaching methodologies, encourage critical thinking in the classroom, and integrate content such as health education and environmental awareness into English, math, science, and other subjects. Many also work in curriculum or materials development and train teachers informally or formally in conversational English, academic subjects, or methodology, thus achieving a truly sustainable impact.
Most education positions begin in May/June. All education positions require at least a bachelor’s degree and a minimum GPA of 2.5.
Click on the links below to learn more about the specific opportunities and requirements for Volunteers in education.
Primary Teacher Training
Act as a resource for elementary school teachers and occasionally provide classroom instruction.
Volunteers provide formal and informal training and support to elementary school teachers and occasionally provide classroom instruction. They work with one or several schools, or teachers’ colleges, modeling participatory methodologies, conducting workshops, and providing ongoing support to local teachers. Some primary education projects focus specifically on health, HIV/AIDS, the environment, childhood development, English as a second language (ESL), remedial education, science, language arts, or a foreign language.
Applicants must have a strong background in elementary education and a bachelor’s degree in elementary or early childhood education; OR a bachelor’s degree in any discipline and certification in elementary education; OR a bachelor’s degree in any discipline with one or more school year full-time classroom teaching experience at the preschool or elementary level. Many applicants have state teaching certification.
Virtually all applicants have some teaching experience, ranging from one semester of student teaching to many years of full-time teaching. Other relevant experience includes knowledge of teaching methodologies at the K–6 level, experience in development of educational materials, and demonstrated skills in classroom management.
Primary Teacher Country Programs
Secondary Teacher Training
Teach conversational English, English as a foreign language, or content-based English in middle and high schools.
Volunteers teach conversational English, English as a foreign language, or content-based English in middle and high schools. In addition to classroom teaching, Volunteers share resources, develop teaching materials with local teachers, and become involved in community- and school-based projects.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline and experience described in the next column. Competitive applicants will have a bachelor’s degree in English, TEFL, or linguistics.
Applicants must have at least three months or 30 hours of English, ESL, TEFL, foreign language, or literacy tutoring experience in classrooms or one-on-one. Applicants can be recent college graduates or those with years of classroom experience. Other relevant experience includes community organizing and work with community groups; drama activities; health or HIV/AIDS education; civics education; youth development work, such as day care or camp counseling; and computer literacy and programming.
Secondary Teacher Country Programs
Math/Science Teacher Training
Teach basic concepts, including remedial math, geometry, algebra, statistics, probability, and calculus.
Volunteers in math teach basic concepts, including remedial math, geometry, algebra, statistics, probability, and calculus. They also work in after-school programs, youth clubs, and library development. Volunteers in science teach general science, biology, chemistry, and physics. In addition to classroom teaching, Volunteers collaborate with local teachers to develop teaching materials and improve teaching techniques. They also integrate health and environmental education into the curriculum and support other school and community activities, such as HIV/AIDS prevention.
Math: Applicants can qualify with a bachelor’s degree in math, computer science, or engineering; OR a degree in any discipline with a minor in math (15 semester or 22 quarter hours) that includes two calculus courses; OR a degree in secondary education with a concentration in math or a degree in any discipline with certification in secondary math.
Science: Applicants can qualify with a bachelor’s degree in general science, biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, or any physical or biological science; OR a degree in secondary education with a concentration in any science; OR a degree in any discipline with certification in secondary science.
Applicants typically have at least three months of experience in tutoring or informal teaching with small groups. This experience can be in classrooms or one-on-one. Other relevant experience includes community service, especially with youth; youth development work, such as day care or camp counseling; health and HIV/AIDS and environmental education; and computer literacy and programming.
Math/Science Teacher Country Programs
English Teacher Training
Train student teachers at teachers' colleges or provide in-service training to experienced teachers.
Teacher trainers work with new and experienced English teachers, training student teachers at teachers’ colleges or providing in-service training to experienced teachers in current methodologies, subject content, and resource development, thus creating sustainable improvements in teaching that will affect generations of future students. Projects include increasing local teachers’ English language competency and conversational skills and organizing teacher associations or training seminars.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a concentration in English, TEFL, or foreign language; OR a bachelor’s in these subjects and six months full-time, classroom teaching the same at the secondary level; OR a bachelor’s in any discipline with one year full-time, classroom teaching the same at the secondary level; OR a bachelor’s in any discipline with secondary education state certification in English, TEFL, or foreign language; OR a master’s in education concentration in English, TEFL, or foreign language; OR a master’s degree in teaching English, TEFL, foreign language, or applied linguistics.
All applicants are university graduates with experience as student teachers, graduate teaching assistants, or substitute teachers; or they have at least six months of teaching experience. Some applicants are mid-career or retired teachers or mid-career professionals pursuing a career change to teaching.
English Teacher Training Country Programs
Special Education Training
Work with education offices, schools, and local teachers, focusing on methodology, individualized instruction, classroom management, and resource development. Learn how Volunteers' imagination lead to sign language education in Kenya.
Volunteers work with education offices, schools, and local teachers, focusing on methodology, individualized instruction, classroom management, and resource development for teachers of students with special needs. Volunteers also work with parents and communities to develop projects to raise public awareness and understanding of people with disabilities.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with certification in special education; OR a degree in any discipline with one year of experience described in the next column.
Applicants must have experience working with people who are learning or developmentally disabled; emotionally, physically, or multiple handicapped; or hearing or visually impaired. This experience can range from student teaching to many years of teaching in a school system or working in an institution. Many applicants have experience working with disabled individuals in group homes or other organizations.
Special Education Country Programs
Work with university-level students who need enhanced English-language skills to utilize academic and technical resources published in English.
Volunteers are uniquely positioned to be highly effective community development workers. Through the strong relationships they forge with students, parents, and other community members, Volunteers engage in a wide variety of outreach projects concerning at-risk children or youth, adult literacy, health or HIV/AIDS education, environmental awareness, development of libraries and resource centers, and information technology.
Click on the links below to learn more about the specific opportunities and requirements for Volunteers in youth and community development.
Volunteers work with at-risk youth ages 10 to 25, helping communities develop programs to assist young people. Projects include vocational training, work with street kids, self-esteem and leadership development activities, income generation, health education, HIV/AIDS education and awareness, life skills development, community organizing, organizational development, training of youth development workers, and stay-in-school programs.
Applicants must have an associate degree and one year of full-time counseling experience with at-risk youths; OR no college degree and five years of relevant full-time work experience; OR a bachelor’s degree in any discipline with six months full-time experience. All experience must be relevant as described in the next column.
Applicants must have at least six months of full-time work experience with at-risk youth programs, teaching, or counseling. Other qualifying experience includes full-time work in one or more of the following categories: youth; conflict resolution or mediation skills; HIV/AIDS counseling or awareness training; coaching or working with physically or mentally disabled youth; or with national and community service programs
Youth Development Country Programs
Public Health Education
Water and Sanitation Extension
Construction and Skilled Trades
Urban and Regional Planning
Information and Communication Technology
Agriculture and Forestry Extension
Applied Agricultural Science
Farm Management and Agribusiness
Environment Education or Awareness
Environmental and Water Resources Engineering
Other – Community Development
In 1988, Peace Corps sent its first group of Volunteers to Cape Verde. Since then there have been over 300 Volunteers who have served in Cape Verde. Peace Corps Volunteers have served on all nine inhabited islands; presently, 46 Volunteers serve on all islands except Brava and Boavista.
Over the past fifteen years the Peace Corps program in Cape Verde has grown in the number of Volunteers serving and its scope of intervention. To help the local government address its myriad development needs, the program has adapted its focus and objectives to keep in step with the country's development initiatives. Volunteers work closely with educational institutions, local government offices and nongovernmental agencies (NGOs) assisting communities in identifying their needs and resources and developing projects that help communities best use local resources to meet their needs.
Peace Corps' support of Cape Verde's efforts at economic recovery focuses on the rehabilitation of Cape Verde's human resources through Volunteer assistance in the areas of education and community development.
Peace Corps History
Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Cape Verde
Since the first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Cape Verde in 1988, approximately 330 Volunteers have served, working in education, agriculture, water and sanitation, urban development, community development, small business and information technology. In the early years, Volunteer projects focused on TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language), agriculture extension, and water and sanitation. After 1997, the Peace Corps responded to Cape Verde’s request to strengthen local initiatives by establishing the community development project. In 2008 the program changed once more to refocus efforts on business development wherein the larger category of community development was changed to small enterprise development. Approximately 55 Volunteers are currently working throughout the country.
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles
Main article: Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Cape Verde
Your host agency will provide safe and adequate housing in accordance with the Peace Corps’ site selection criteria (see chapter on Health Care and Safety for further information). Many Volunteers live in small apartments. At the very least, Volunteers will have a bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen that they will not have to share with a host family. Volunteers will likely share an apartment or a house with another Volunteer or, in some cases, be placed in individual housing. You should come prepared to share a house with another Volunteer. Your sponsor will provide simple, basic furniture—usually a bed, table, chairs, and a stove (without oven). Upon swearing in as a Volunteer, the Peace Corps will give you a modest settling-in allowance to purchase household necessities such as dishes and other household items.
Some Volunteers will not have regular running water. Those who do not have running water will either collect water when it is available in their home or buy water from a water truck. Those who live in smaller towns will most likely have electricity, although perhaps not 24 hours a day. Some very remote areas may not have electricity; if at all, electricity may only be available 6 to 12 hours per day. To be a Volunteer here you will need to be very flexible in your housing expectations as there are no guarantees of continuous water or electricity.
Volunteers are expected to live at the level of their counterparts. Housing varies from site to site, depending on what your community has to offer. This varies from a beautiful and spacious apartment or house to a smaller home in a village community.
Main article: Training in Cape Verde
The nine-week PST provides you the opportunity to learn new skills and practice them as they apply to Cape Verde. You receive training and orientation in local languages (Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole), cross-cultural communication, development work, health and personal safety, and technical skills pertinent to the Cape Verdean development context. PST is meant to prepare you for the first three to six months of service, and the skills you learn serve as a foundation to start your community integration and service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde. We meet and work together as a group, and you have the chance to experience local culture and customs with your host family and during technical field trips.
At the onset of training, training staff outline the goals and assessment criteria that each trainee has to reach before becoming a Volunteer. Evaluation of your performance during training is a continual process, characterized by a dialogue between you and the training staff. The training director, along with the other trainers, works with you towards the highest possible achievement by providing feedback throughout training. After successfully completing the pre-service training, you swear in as a Volunteer and make final preparations for departure to your site.
Your Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health Care and Safety in Cape Verde
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every trainee and Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative approach to illness and disease. The Peace Corps in Cape Verde maintains a clinic with a full-time medical contractor (an American nurse practitioner), who takes care of trainees’/Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Some additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Cape Verde at a local hospitals and health clinics. If a trainee or Volunteer becomes seriously ill and cannot be treated here, he or she will be transported to higher quality medical facility in the region and/or to the United States.
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Cape Verde
In Cape Verde, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyles, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context very different from our own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics considered familiar and commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed.
Outside of Cape Verde’s larger cities, residents of smaller towns and rural communities have had relatively less exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What is advertised as “typical” cultural behavior or norms may also be a narrow and selective interpretation, such as the perception in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. Cape Verdeans are known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to differences that you present. Volunteers are encouraged to be supportive of one another.
- Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
- Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
- Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities
Frequently Asked questions
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Cape Verde
- How much luggage will I be allowed to bring to Cape Verde?
- What is the electric current in Cape Verde?
- How much money should I bring?
- When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
- Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
- Do I need an international driver’s license?
- What should I bring as gifts for friends and my host family?
- Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
- How can my family contact me in an emergency?
- Can I call home from Cape Verde?
- Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
- Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
Main article: Packing list for Cape Verde
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Cape Verde and is based on their collective experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You can always have things sent to you later. You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, although it may be more expensive than back home, you can find and buy almost anything you need in Cape Verde!
What you need will also depend on your assignment and location. Volunteers serving on different islands experience different "micro-climates" in the Cape Verde Islands, depending on height above sea level, or rural vs. urban assignments.
- General Clothing
- Men and Women
- Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
- Miscellaneous Items
See also: Volunteer discounts
Peace Corps News
PEACE CORPS JOURNALS
( As of Wednesday June 19, 2013 )
Contributions to the Cape Verde Country Fund will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in rural sites. These projects include education, water, agricultural development, solar energy, Peace Corps global initiatives like HIV/AIDs and life skills for youth programs.
- Volunteers who served in Cape Verde
- Inspector General Reports
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- List of resources for Cape Verde