In recognition of Mother’s Day, Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide are engaging in projects to improve maternal health, educate new mothers and support women and children. Volunteers regularly serve in maternity clinics, teach nutrition to new and expecting mother’s and provide information to keep families healthy. 

Today, 22 percent of all Peace Corps Volunteers work in the health/HIV sector. Health Volunteers help communities meet basic public health needs through education and awareness, providing access to safe drinking water, distributing bed nets for malaria prevention, teaching sanitation measures and more. Even though Peace Corps volunteers are not medical care providers, they provide the skills and training to help keep communities healthy and safe. Many volunteers participate in health-related projects during the course of their service. 

We thank our Volunteers for supporting mothers worldwide and wish all the mothers in the Peace Corps family a happy, healthy, and safe Mother’s Day!

(Source: go.usa.gov)

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Maternal Health “Ah ha!” Moment - Peace Corps Service Leads to Career as a Midwife

In this video,Peace Corps Volunteer Caitlin Givens talks about her “Ah ha!” moment in the Sahel desert that led her to shift career paths and become a midwife. During nursing and midwifery school, she serves as a doula and helps women plan for labor and birth. She now draws from her Peace Corps experience to connect with and care for women from diverse backgrounds in the U.S.

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In honor of Mother’s Day, we are shining the spotlight on the maternal health work our Volunteers are doing around the world. Here’s a success story from two Peace Corps Volunteers in Albania!

Two years ago, Volunteer Barbara Stallings started a prenatal education program for expectant mothers and health professionals in her community. After her close of service, it was handed over to Volunteer Jessica Goodell, who continued to develop and grow the program. 

Barbara found that the concept of childbirth education was a very novel one in her Albanian community, with many cultural barriers, leading to nervous expectant mothers who were more likely to have complications. 

To address this issue, Barbara helped facilitate a program that successfully trained one Albanian “Childbirth Educator” with a background in nursing and physical therapy to teach classes. Eleven expectant mothers and one father participated in the classes. The participation of the one father during class is a separate success story itself! 

After taking over the project, Jessica worked with Albania’s Ministry of Health, the Institute of Public Health and her local Directorate of Public Health to organize a “Childbirth Educator Training of Trainers” to increase the number of “Childbirth Educators” who can transfer skills and expand the scope of educated expectant mothers. She applied for accreditation through the Ministry of Health and was approved to conduct the training, with seven professional credit hours to incentivize health professionals to participate. 

A total of 20 health professionals (nurse-midwives, midwives, nurses, and social workers) were successfully trained. Now there are twenty-one “Childbirth Educators” prepared to teach a childbirth education class to expectant mothers in this community. 

Great job, ladies!

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Peace Corps Business Volunteer Elisa Molina is working with her Costa Rican community to install and furnish a computer lab in the local elementary school. The lab will provide public computer and Internet access to members of her community and two neighboring villages. 
“The purpose of this project is to equip the classroom of an elementary school in a small rural community with computers and accompanying furniture. Generation after generation, students of this elementary school graduate without knowing how to use a computer and community members of a town of more than 600 people in the rural area currently have no public access to computers, word processing software, or the Internet.” 

Peace Corps Business Volunteer Elisa Molina is working with her Costa Rican community to install and furnish a computer lab in the local elementary school. The lab will provide public computer and Internet access to members of her community and two neighboring villages. 

The purpose of this project is to equip the classroom of an elementary school in a small rural community with computers and accompanying furniture. Generation after generation, students of this elementary school graduate without knowing how to use a computer and community members of a town of more than 600 people in the rural area currently have no public access to computers, word processing software, or the Internet.” 

(Source: peacecorps.gov)

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"This project will give all community members closer access to water, creates a committee that will take control and responsibility of the water system, and decreases the problems caused by unsanitary water. This is a beautiful community with wonderful, motivated people who are willing to contribute and sacrifice time and effort to have access to water."
- Peace Corps Volunteer Rodolfo Torres is working with his community in the Dominican Republic to build a rainwater collection system for 50 families.

(Source: go.usa.gov)

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Peace Corps Volunteers Caryn Steinbrecher and Leslie W. Stewart IV organized a youth leadership camp called “Super Vacaciones” in Nicaragua. Twenty-four kids, between the ages of 7-12, participated in the camp, which covered topics including: HIV/AIDS awareness, teenage pregnancy prevention, gender roles, self-esteem development, life skills planning, leadership, and creativity. The goal of the camp was to provide students with an intellectually stimulating environment, which incorporated physical, creative, and thought provoking activities.

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Peace Corps Volunteer Organizes Career Fair for 400 Moroccan Youth

Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer Kathleen Howell-Burke organized a career fair for over 400 Moroccan students in Southeastern Morocco. During the fair, Moroccan professionals and college students from the area led panel discussions and workshops to help inspire Moroccan youth to pursue higher-level education and professional careers.

(Source: peacecorps.gov)

Peace Corps Youth Development Peace Corps Volunteer Morocco career development youth professional development

"It’s possible to end this – in our lifetime. What we need are not slogans about African Illnesses, emotional appeals to Save Those In Need, or personal campaigns to Guilt Everyone Into Donating Money. My neighbors here in Senegal are working diligently to protect themselves from infection."
- Austin Post-Bulletin highlight on 3rd year volunteer Michael Toso http://postbulletin.com/news/stories/display.php?id=1494209 (via stompoutmalaria)

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Malaria is an incredibly deadly, pervasive disease. It kills between 750,000 to 1.2 million people every year, mostly children and pregnant women.
When you really see it at the local level, though, its real impact becomes clear. In my host family alone every single child had malaria last year at least once, some three or four times. It exacts an extraordinarily heavy toll on the health, productivity, and finances of the village, and nearly every family has lost children to the disease.
Prevention work can have incredibly positive effect on the well being of these families. Simple interventions like bed nets, indoor residual spraying and prompt treatment can save huge amounts of money, time and ultimately lives.

- Peace Corps Health Volunteer Ian Hennessee

Malaria is an incredibly deadly, pervasive disease. It kills between 750,000 to 1.2 million people every year, mostly children and pregnant women.

When you really see it at the local level, though, its real impact becomes clear. In my host family alone every single child had malaria last year at least once, some three or four times. It exacts an extraordinarily heavy toll on the health, productivity, and finances of the village, and nearly every family has lost children to the disease.

Prevention work can have incredibly positive effect on the well being of these families. Simple interventions like bed nets, indoor residual spraying and prompt treatment can save huge amounts of money, time and ultimately lives.

- Peace Corps Health Volunteer Ian Hennessee

Malaria Stomp Out Malaria health youth child mortality Peace Corps Peace Corps Volunteer

Working in Malaria prevention is important primarily, because the disease is comparatively simple to prevent and yet remains a leading cause of death throughout Africa and many other parts of the developing world. Through the proper use of bed nets, covering up exposed skin during evening hours, and removing/covering sources of standing water around your home diminish the mosquito population and therefore your chances of catching malaria.  

From personal experience and living in Mozambique for the past 2 years, I can easily say that Malaria is one of the most diagnosed and treated cases at our local Hospital, and that all of my neighbors have been diagnosed or treated for malaria at some point in my service. I also say this while we are in the middle of our rainy season here in Mozambique, and already Malaria cases are beginning to skyrocket as the mosquito population begins to boom.

 Peace Corps Volunteer Jason Hillis

 

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