Professional Volunteering Opportunities in Nutrition, Peru
- Placement location: Huayopata District
- Requirements: Degree in Nutrition or Dietetics or a related subject
- Accommodation: Community house close to Huyro
- Length of placement: From 4 weeks
- Start Dates: Flexible
Projects Abroad works closely with the local authorities in Cusco to tackle the issues of chronic malnutrition in Peru. As the local professionals sadly can’t reach all the vulnerable in the project area, your help as a qualified Dietician/Nutritionist will allow more individuals, families and communities to receive the support that they need. You will be able to help with the integral food security programme with nutritional, early stimulation and care activities. The aim of this programme is to work towards overcoming early childhood development problems and support local families in Cusco, who have been affected by malnutrition and who suffer from nutritional deficiencies.
Here you will find answers to the following questions:
How can a volunteer Dietician/Nutritionist help in Peru?
Your time will be spent doing house-to-house visits during the mornings and preparing and executing workshops in the afternoons. Here integral roles will include improving children's development and the intake of healthy food in families identified as being especially vulnerable through workshops and activities, in conjunction with partner staff.
In the rural communities, your roles will consist of visits including assisting in workshops with partner staff, and distributing nutritious food, as well as educative materials. The simple act of providing nutrient rich foods, such as eggs and fruit, which the community is unable to afford, has an especially important immediate impact on children.
In coordination with the local health centre and the integral nutritional programme, volunteers will also assist to further develop the regular workshops held with the local specialists, whose knowledge of Quechua is vital in communicating with the parents, many of whom are illiterate and barely speak Spanish.
These workshops typically target high-risk groups, such as young mothers and/or those living in poverty. Nutritional workshops will focus on micronutrient and vitamin intake, good hygiene practices and will also provide dietary guidelines for pregnant women and children of all ages, including the critical period of exclusive breastfeeding. In the longer term, the educational materials that we provide will enable the communities to be more aware of the factors involved in living a healthy life, improving the lives for them and their children in a sustainable manner.
The help of a professional Dietician/ Nutritionist volunteer is vital in carrying out baseline research to identify children with specific nutrient disorders and develop materials to target these particular deficiencies or measure the progress of the programmes using data taken by the Peruvian Ministry of Health. Current problems are typically iron and protein deficiencies that can lead to stunting, amongst other issues. Through this statistical work, Projects Abroad Peru will be able to develop a long-term sustainable intervention strategy; measuring which methods are the most effective and what impact various services have on the health of the communities.
You will work from 18-35 hours a week - and sometimes out of hours - depending on the individual project and how you develop your role with your project supervisor. This project runs all year.
What will I gain from this project?
You will be involved with a friendly and highly dedicated team who are committed to the service they provide. Working with often limited resources and staff lacking nutritional and technical knowledge and training, you will be able to adapt and develop your existing expertise to a different working environment.
You will often face challenges not experienced in your home country. Through this cultural exchange you will learn different methodologies and techniques in your own discipline. You will also have the opportunity to develop skills and experience in a wide variety of areas. These could be (and are project dependent):
- Assessment of the needs of the project partner.
- Collaborating with the project partner to develop more efficient and effective systems in the workplace.
- Collaborate with the project partner to develop outreach programmes in the local community and beyond.
- Use your expertise to train staff and other volunteers.
- Using your initiative and problem solving skills to develop, set up and manage projects/programmes.
- Monitor existing or new projects/programmes.
- Develop and contribute to project evaluation reports to help with continuity between volunteers.
All of these can provide you with valuable experience and transferable skills useful for your career, and make valuable use of your existing expertise where it is truly needed.
What will Projects Abroad PRO provide?
We have over 20 years’ experience of running volunteer projects. We provide you with the following support to make sure your time in Peru is successful and enjoyable:
- Safe accommodation in our community house close to Huyro.
- Friendly and dedicated local staff available to help 24 hours a day.
- A friendly member of staff available to meet you on arrival at the airport.
- Medical and travel insurance.
What skills or qualifications do I need?
If you have at least a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition or Dietetics or a related subject then you will be suited for this project. Ideally, a qualified Dietician/ Nutritionist would also possess at least two years’ experience of practicing professionally. You will also need to speak an intermediate to advanced level of Spanish. Specific specialisms or interests in your field will be highly desirable. Please discuss this with us on application.
If you are interested in this project but don't have the relevant experience, then please read about our regular Nutrition project in Peru.