A West Michigan man says the empowerment of women in Senegal helps not only them, but benefits the environment as well.
Andrew Oberstadt became an ally to women in that West African nation when he helped organize Race for Education, a run that will raise money for girls’ education in Senegal’s Tambacounda region.
He and Geoff Burmiester, both of Holland, organized the event with fellow Peace Corps Volunteers.
Oberstadt didn’t intend to take up the cause when he first moved to Senegal via the Peace Corps in 2010. He was more focused on issues such as environmental protection.
What Oberstadt didn’t realize was how keeping women in school could positively affect the environment, he said.
If women earn degrees, they begin careers. When they begin careers, many postpone marriage and pregnancy. When they can plan and space their pregnancies, they have fewer children. Overpopulation — a major issue for the African continent — wreaks havoc on the environment, as the demand for resources increases.
“I am now convinced that women’s empowerment and family planning are some of the best causes we can support to make a positive change in the world,” Oberstadt said in an email.
As many of you know, in addition to teaching English as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I am also involved in youth development work in my community, with a focus on healthy lifestyles. In that vein, my Ukrainian counterparts and I have organized and submitted a grant proposal with the intent of providing the local youth sports center with much needed equipment (from sports equipment to heating units.) Please take a look at the project, and if you’re able to, donate! Even if you’re not personally able to donate to the project, please forward the information to anyone and everyone you think would be interested in being part of this undertaking!
(PS I will be promoting this project endlessly until it’s funded, so be prepared!!)
The University of Colorado Boulder, The George Washington University, and the University of Mary Washington lead our 2012 rankings of the top Peace Corps Volunteer producing colleges and universities. Each of the universities held the premier ranking for the large, medium, and small in 2011.
Director Williams announced the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities at the University of Colorado Boulder, which outpaced other large universities with 112 undergraduate alumni currently serving as Peace Corps Volunteers overseas. In the medium school category, The George Washington University ranks number one for the fourth consecutive year, with 78 undergraduate alumni serving overseas. And, for the second year in a row, the University of Mary Washington topped the small school category, with 29 undergraduate alumni currently serving as Volunteers.
The University of Florida holds the top spot in the graduate school category this year with 30 currently serving Volunteers holding master’s degrees from the school. It was in second place last year. Historically, the University of California, Berkeley maintains the number one all-time rank, with 3,497 Peace Corps Volunteer alumni.
“Serve, serve, serve. Because in the end it will be the servants who save us all.”— Mark Shriver, son of Peace Corps founder Sargent Shriver, shared this quote from his father today during his speech at Peace Corps Headquarters.