All of our HELP (Huanchaco Education and Learning Program) Coordinator positions are higher-level volunteer positions for volunteers with strong leadership skills, who are looking to coordinate and manage one of our own Otra Cosa Network (OCN) HELP projects. In this position, you will receive supervision from the operations manager and you will be responsible for overseeing and supervising the other volunteers assigned to your project. There is a great deal of room for creativity in these positions, although there is not a great deal of structure. Therefore, you will be expected to help create the structure with your volunteers by planning, organizing and facilitating the schedule of meetings, events, and activities for your project, while we also recommend that you be creative and have fun!
The women’s empowerment coordinator position is one of the most challenging positions we have to offer, although it can also be incredibly rewarding. The women are not consistent, they do not always follow through on their commitments and it is going to take a while for you to build trust and strong relationships with many of them. You will be working with many different personalities, not everyone is going to like you immediately and you will be immersed in a whole different culture, so the ways that things are done here are also going to be very different. Many of the women suffer abuse, poverty and lack of access to basic resources and services. Thus, this position can be very stressful, frustrating and emotionally draining and we are looking for coordinators that are culturally sensitive, strongly motivated and well grounded. Despite the difficulties, many of our coordinators with the above mentioned attributes have discovered incredible moments of achievement and satisfaction with the HELP Women project, especially in the personal relationships and individual successes they have witnessed and shared with the women.
This position is not for the weak hearted and it is for only those who have the confidence and passion to get out there and build new relationships with the women, while learning and growing through the experience. You will not be receiving a great deal of supervision or structure because as the project coordinator, you will be managing the project and supervising the other volunteers. However, the OCN staff is always available to support you, and it is your responsibility to reach out to us and to set up meetings with us so that we can help you succeed.
The HELP Women programme is about supporting women and women's empowerment in and around Huanchaco. Since this project began in 2007, we’ve been working with several groups of women, but currently we are mainly working with the Comedor group of women that has been organised through the Maria del Socorro Church. We started collaborating with and supporting this women's group in June 2013, although the Comedor is an institution that has been up and running for over a decade.
The Comedor group has a monthly budget provided by a large amount of sponsors from different countries. This budget provides the women with groceries to cook breakfast and lunch for the children and themselves and is supervised by an empathetic and sincere Peruvian social worker. The Comedor also provides the children and their mothers with a safe space where they can play, do their homework, do crafts or just have a nice chat with their friends and community members.
The HELP Women programme tries to help women in a variety of aspects of their life, which makes for many interesting volunteer opportunities. The programme offers different skills classes to the women which gives them the opportunity of selling their products to receive an income and put food on the table. The vast majority of women with whom we work receive a very low income and very few of them have jobs outside of the household. To give the women a better chance of succeeding and a means to earn an income, we want to offer them classes in basic business and marketing as well as workshops and training to support their education and personal and professional development. Many women in Peru are often unaware of their rights, live with domestic violence and many girls get pregnant at a very young age. Education and support for their basic rights, family planning and sex education is therefore also needed. The majority of the women have either no education or have only finished the first few years of school, and a few of the women have also expressed an interest in classes to learn some of the basics including reading/writing, maths and English.