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Volunteering for Dietitians in Peru

  • POSITION: Dietician
  • REQUIREMENTS: Degree in Nutrition or Dietetics or a related subject
  • ACCOMMODATION: Community house close to Cusco
  • LENGTH OF PLACEMENT: From 4 weeks
  • START DATES: Flexible

A nurse volunteering in Peru prepares supplies for a medical outreach.

In Peru, Projects Abroad works closely with the local authorities in Cusco to tackle the critical issues of chronic malnutrition. Unfortunately, many local professionals cannot reach the vulnerable people living in this district, making your assistance as a qualified dietician/nutritionist crucial. With your help, we will be able to ensure that more individuals, families, and communities receive the support that they need.

You will be able to contribute to the integral food security program with nutritional, early stimulation and care activities. The program aims to overcome early childhood development problems and support local families in the Lucumayo Valley, 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 Dietitian/Nutritionist help in Peru?

What will I gain from this project?

What will Projects Abroad provide?

What skills or qualifications do I need?

How can a volunteer Dietitian/Nutritionist help in Peru?

As a professional Dietician/Nutritionist volunteering in Peru, your time will be spent doing house-to-house visits during the mornings and preparing and executing workshops in the afternoons. Here your role will involve working in conjunction with partner staff to improve the stimulation of children and develop the intake of healthy food in families identified as being especially vulnerable through workshops and activities.

In the rural communities, your role 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 important and immediate impact on children.

In coordination with the local health centre and the integral nutritional program, volunteers will also assist in further developing the regular workshops held with the local specialists. You will find working with local specialists to be invaluable, as their knowledge of Quechua is vital in communicating with the parents, many of whom are illiterate and barely speak Spanish.

These workshops target high-risk groups, such as young mothers and/or those living in poverty. Nutritional workshops will focus on micronutrient and vitamin intake and good hygiene practices. They 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 their lives and the lives of 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. Your assistance will also be critical when it comes to measuring the progress of the programs 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 and measure 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?

A nurse volunteering in Peru takes a break at the hospital with other local nurses.

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 programs 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/programs.
  • Monitor existing or new projects/programs.
  • 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 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 Cusco
  • 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 degree in Nutrition or Dietetics or a related subject then you will be suited for this project. You will also need to speak intermediate to advanced Spanish.

Ideally, a qualified Dietician/ Nutritionist would also possess at least two years’ experience of practicing professionally.

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 do not have the relevant experience, you can participate on our standard Nutrition in Peru project.

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