International Nutrition Internships in Peru
- PLACEMENT LOCATION: Cusco
- ROLE: To work alongside local nurses focusing on the issues of malnutrition and food insecurity in local communities
- TYPES OF PLACEMENTS: Rural communities
- REQUIREMENTS: Interns must speak intermediate Spanish
- ACCOMMODATION: Host family
- LENGTH OF PLACEMENT: From 4 weeks
- START DATES: Flexible
Many families in the Cusco region have been severely affected by malnutrition and most have nutritional deficiencies that impact their quality of life. To help these families, Projects Abroad is working with local authorities and the health administration in Cusco to improve nutrition and promote healthy living, especially in rural districts.
Malnutrition rates in Peru are a major concern, with nearly a third of Peruvian children in rural areas currently suffering from chronic malnutrition. As an intern, you can make a significant difference in the lives of families and children by participating in activities that aim to alleviate malnutrition and the problems associated with it.
You must speak an intermediate level of Spanish to get involved with this project. No other experience is needed, so you can get involved as part of a gap year, career break, or vacation. If you would like to improve your Spanish, we recommend joining a Spanish Language Course before starting your internship.
Your Role as an Intern at the Nutrition Project in Peru
All Nutrition interns in Cusco work together with the local authorities, nutritional technicians, health administration, and of course, the surrounding communities. Your work will focus on providing education and support to help overcome the problems of malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies, particularly with regard to young children.
Although we work mostly in capacity building with parents, we aim to specifically target the primary infancy group of children aged from 0 – 6. Research shows that this is the key age group to work with to improve mental capacity and nutrition.
You will get involved with the following tasks:
- Supporting local staff in Cusco
- Teaching mothers about nutrition and healthy habits
- Leading workshops about specific nutrition and general health issues, such as preparing healthy meals, preventing anemia, dental hygiene, and the importance of washing hands
- Help build and maintain an eco-garden
- Accompanying staff on house visits
- Assist with weighing and measuring children
- Develop additional materials for nutrition education
- There is a possibility of assisting with research
Did you know? Every 3 to 7 years the El Niño climate cycle modifies Peru's local climate, often causing droubts or floods, and resulting in lower food production and higher food prices. The nutritional status of Peru's poor population falls alarmingly during these times.
The majority of your time will be spent doing house-to-house visits in the mornings and preparing and running workshops in the afternoons. Here, your role will be to help improve the stimulation of children, and develop the intake of healthy food in families identified as being especially vulnerable through workshops and activities, in conjunction with our partner staff. In the rural areas, your role will consist of visits including assisting in workshops with partner staff and distributing educative materials.
A big part of the project focuses on capacity building and empowerment, where you will work to expand the workshops that interns with specialized nutritional knowledge currently provide for children aged 10 - 16. Projects Abroad also aims to further develop the regular workshops held with local specialists, whose knowledge of the local language, Quechua, is vital in communicating with the parents, many of whom are illiterate and barely speak Spanish.
These workshops focus on micronutrient and vitamin intake, good hygiene practices, and will also provide dietary guidelines for 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. All of this is in coordination with the local authorities and health administration.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Peru Medicine & Healthcare Management Plan.
Nutrition Internships in Peru with Projects Abroad
All work is undertaken with the full cooperation of our partner organizations as well as the communities themselves. The involvement of the local community is vital to increase participation rates and the overall success of the project. Additionally, the plan is designed to be not only sustainable, but also transferable. Successful parts will be transferable to other communities within the region in the future.
While you’re in Peru, you might also consider joining a 1 week Conservation & Environment Project. For more information, please visit our Rainforest Conservation & Environment Project in Peru page. Our Combinations Page explains how you can combine not only projects, but also destinations.
If you have qualifications or experience in this field then we can make use of your skills volunteering abroad as a professional in Peru.