Peace Corps Volunteer Helps Build Bridge for Communities in Suriname

Peace Corps volunteer Jessica Schmitt is working with 20 local community members in two neighboring Surinamese villages to construct a pedestrian bridge. The bridge will provide access to the local school, medical clinic, store, and the nearby villages. A portion of the funds for the project are being raised through the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP), a program that supports Peace Corps Volunteer community projects worldwide.

“There are many close family ties that exist between these villages,” said Schmitt, a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who has been working as a youth business educator Volunteer since 2010. “This path serves as a major highway for the men, women, and children both day and night. However, the path is currently obstructed by a large creek that often becomes impassable during the rainy season here in Suriname.”

 To connect the two villages, the community has been using a log as a makeshift bridge. “This solution is neither safe nor permanent,” said Schmitt. “The path remains a safety hazard for the community members traveling to the doctor, visiting their families, picking up flour at the local store and for children traveling to school.” Community members from the surrounding villages have donated wood, sand, gravel, and housing for the bridge contractors. However, due to the low income of the communities, they are still unable to meet all of the costs necessary for the bridge’s construction.

In order to receive funding through the PCPP, a community must make a 25 percent contribution to the total project and outline success indicators for the individual projects. This helps ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability. One hundred percent of each tax-deductible PCPP donation goes toward a development project. Those interested in supporting Schmitt’s project in Suriname can visit www.peacecorps.gov/donate and search for project number is 568-134.

Suriname community bridges Peace Corps Partnership Program fundraising University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign youth business


As a Small business development Volunteer in a rural village in Morocco, I worked with the local weaving association. One of my projects was creating a carpet catalog for the weavers. This took me into all the houses of the weavers where I photographed their carpets and family members. Here I photographed one of the weavers, Sadia, with a carpet made entirely of recycled sweater thread from her family. She had just finished it and her nephew, Mohamed, was excited about his modeling opportunity.

- Peace Corps Small Business Volunteer Terra Fuller

As a Small business development Volunteer in a rural village in Morocco, I worked with the local weaving association. One of my projects was creating a carpet catalog for the weavers. This took me into all the houses of the weavers where I photographed their carpets and family members. Here I photographed one of the weavers, Sadia, with a carpet made entirely of recycled sweater thread from her family. She had just finished it and her nephew, Mohamed, was excited about his modeling opportunity.

- Peace Corps Small Business Volunteer Terra Fuller

Morocco weaving rugs carpets yarn recycling small business Peace Corps Volunteers host country nationals artisans


This photo features a group of 5th graders at Waterberg Primary School in Namibia. It was taken November 10, 2009 shortly after the new computers arrived and the desks and painting had been completed. Along with teachers from my school, I solicited and created a relationship with a nearby local German NGO which ultimately donated 22 new computers to Waterberg Primary School, while the school fundraised for and built the tables and desks. The new computer lab that resulted was used by the school faculty and staff, students and surrounding village community and I held daily training courses for teachers, adults and students. When I left Waterberg, the Internet had not yet been set up, but my explanations and lessons for computer use had registered and made an impact, because 10 months after my departure from the school (and to this day), I received an email from my principal (and several from eager former students), I knew that the computer lab was being used and valued.

- Peace Corps Education Volunteer Melissa Becci

This photo features a group of 5th graders at Waterberg Primary School in Namibia. It was taken November 10, 2009 shortly after the new computers arrived and the desks and painting had been completed. Along with teachers from my school, I solicited and created a relationship with a nearby local German NGO which ultimately donated 22 new computers to Waterberg Primary School, while the school fundraised for and built the tables and desks. The new computer lab that resulted was used by the school faculty and staff, students and surrounding village community and I held daily training courses for teachers, adults and students. When I left Waterberg, the Internet had not yet been set up, but my explanations and lessons for computer use had registered and made an impact, because 10 months after my departure from the school (and to this day), I received an email from my principal (and several from eager former students), I knew that the computer lab was being used and valued.

- Peace Corps Education Volunteer Melissa Becci

Namibia Peace Corps Peace Corps Volunteers adult education computers education email internet primary school teachers technology youth Africa

Peace Corps Volunteers Introduce Alternative Fuel Source to Communities in Madagascar and Rwanda

Peace Corps Volunteers in Madagascar and Rwanda are working to reduce the impact of deforestation by introducing green charcoal into local communities. This environmentally safe method of charcoal production serves as a sustainable alternative to wood charcoal and can generate income for local families and organizations. Green charcoal bricks are created using a combination of biomass materials such as agricultural waste, leaves, grass and sawdust. The material is chopped up and soaked in water, and then pressed with a manual ram and cylinder into a pellet and left in the sun to dry.

(Source: peacecorps.gov)

Madagascar Rwanda Africa alternative fuel environment charcoal deforestation sustainability sustainable energy biomass agriculture green energy Peace Corps Peace Corps Volunteers recycling

stompoutmalaria:

In September 2011, Health PCV Emily Engel from Anchorage, AL worked with her counterparts Haoua Ouédraogo and Mamouna Zida to promote neem cream production. The group created a full day workshop to reach all of the satellite villages in their health jurisdiction. During the workshop 55 women from surrounding villages learned about the basics of malaria, the business of selling neem cream and how to make the locally produced mosquito repellant.

Women in Kalsaka formed a group to produce neem cream after the workshop. They sell neem cream in small bags for 150 cfa and 200 cfa. The group is also working to produce liquid soap and hard soap as well as encouraging the women to have their own small businesses. Burkina is the second largest producer of Shea Butter in the world, so this major ingredient in neem cream is easily found in most small villages. The project is an inexpensive and popular among volunteers and communities in Burkina Faso.

health Malaria Burkina Faso Africa Peace Corps Peace Corps Volunteers neem cream soap small business shea butter

Peace Corps Volunteer Teaches Students to Make Bread; Generate Income in Uganda

Peace Corps Volunteer Siong Ng recently spent two months teaching three teachers and 30 female students how to make bread to generate income for their community.

“We intend to be self-sufficient after the first school term by supporting the baking program with revenue from the sale of baked goods. Of course, we cannot bake bread without an oven. On one of the field trips to a bakery store, we saw an unused wood-fire oven and convinced the owner to donate it to our school. She did and that was the rest of the happy story,” said Ng, 62, who has been working as an education Volunteer since February 2010. Ng was previously a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mexico for three years where he worked with business owners to improve their operations.

In January, Ng started the baking program, which is held every Thursday for both teachers and students from a local primary school. Later in the year, they intend to increase the trainings to two-to three-times a week. The most recent training in early March yielded six loaves of bread and more than 100 dinner rolls. Ng taught students business skills and helped them to sell half their baked goods to the local community.

(Source: peacecorps.gov)

Uganda Africa baking bread small business income generation girls gender education primary school Peace Corps Peace Corps Volunteers 50+

stompoutmalaria:

Weekly Awesome, Burkina Faso: The “Fight Against Malaria” Song with PCV Sara Goodman

PCV Sara Goodman is Non-Formal Education Volunteer posted in Burkina Faso who serves on Peace Corps Burkina Faso’s Community Health and AIDS Task-force, a group charged with promoting malaria prevention and treatment activities among the volunteer community.  In addition to being an awesome volunteer and health promoter, Sara is also quite the musician, having studied Instrumental Music Education at the University of Illinois.  To engage volunteers and communities in the fight against malaria Sara created this music video for the parody song “Lutter Contre Palu*.”  Check out the lyrics below and sing along!


“Lutter Contre Palu” Lyrics

C’est la faut des moustiques qui causent le palu

Trop des piqures ça va fait mal

C’est un maladie qui est endémique

Ici au Burkina et partout l’Afrique

Est-ce-que c’est mieux ou c’est le pire

Il faut que nous allons decrire

Qu’est ce que vous pouvez faire pour prevenir

Est-ce-que c’est mieux ou c’est le pire

Il faut que nous allons decrire

Qu’est ce que vous pouvez faire pour prevenir

 

Il faut dormir sous un moustiquaire

Qui est très bien attaché

Il faut utiliser le pommade de neem

Après laver et avant dormir

Il faut lutter, lutter, lutter, lutter, lutter, contre palu

Il faut lutter, lutter, lutter, lutter, lutter, contre palu

Il faut lutter, lutter, lutter, lutter, lutter, contre palu

Parce que ça va sauvegarder beaucoup des vies

 

Si vous aller dormir dehors ce soir

Il faut être protéger

Attacher le moustiquaire parmi les arbres

Et vous pouvez dormir sans les piqures

 

Si vous avez froid il faut faire attention

Si vous avez aussi le fievre

Il faut vous vous emballez dans un pagne mouiller

Et allez immediatement au dispensaire

 

Est-ce-que c’est mieux ou c’est le pire

Il faut que nous allons decrire

Qu’est ce que vous pouvez faire pour prevenir

Il faut lutter, lutter, lutter, lutter, lutter, contre palu

Il faut lutter, lutter, lutter, lutter, lutter, contre palu

Il faut lutter, lutter, lutter, lutter, lutter, contre palu

Parce que ça va sauvegarder beaucoup des vies

 

*this parody song is in compliance with the fair-use clause in U.S copyright law.

 

reblog Peace Corps Volunteer malaria Burkino Faso music Africa education health HIV AIDS

Peace Corps Volunteer Tackles a Sensitive Women’s Health Problem in Uganda

When Stacey Frankenstein-Markon discovered that girls in Uganda often used rags, old socks or wads of newspapers to do the job of sanitary napkins, she was shocked. She was even more horrified to realize that purchasing commercial pads was an impossible dream for most of them, since they come from families of subsistence farmers making about $1 a day in disposable income. 

“Disposable pads cost $1 for an 8-pack,” says the 25-year-old Peace Corps Volunteer, who with her husband, Tony Markon, is serving in Uganda as part of Michigan Technological University’s Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) program in applied science education. “If a family has three daughters who need pads, that family would have to spend 20 percent of their income just on menstrual pads. Who can afford to do that?”

The pad problem also was leading girls to stay away from school, fearing that they might stain their clothes and be badgered by boys, Frankenstein-Markon said.  Eventually, they fall so far behind that they have to drop out. 

But thanks to the inventiveness of another Peace Corps Volunteer who had served in the eastern Ugandan region just before the Markons got there in 2010, the Michigan Tech student has been able to help hundreds of girls practice better hygiene while they learn about menstruation, their bodies and women’s health.  And not incidentally, stay in school. 

(Source: mtu.edu)

Africa Master's International Peace Corps Volunteer Peace corps Uganda gender gender inequality health hygenie menstruation reproductive health sanitary napkins women's health Michigan Tech graduate school grad school


Mouhou Boussine, my counterpart, and I are sitting amongst her drying roses in the Valley of the Roses in Morocco. As a small business development Volunteer, I helped Mouhou develop the weaving association in the village. The weavers were all agrarian farmers and every spring, we woke at dawn to harvest roses which we often cooked into rosewater.

- Peace Corps Business Development Volunteer Terra Fuller

Mouhou Boussine, my counterpart, and I are sitting amongst her drying roses in the Valley of the Roses in Morocco. As a small business development Volunteer, I helped Mouhou develop the weaving association in the village. The weavers were all agrarian farmers and every spring, we woke at dawn to harvest roses which we often cooked into rosewater.

- Peace Corps Business Development Volunteer Terra Fuller

(Source: peacecorps.gov)

spring Peace Corps Peace Corps Volunteer host country national counterparts flowers roses small business Morocco Middle East Valley of the Roses rosewater

World Water Day - Did you know?  

Fetching water is part of the gender inequality. Check out these statistics from the United Nations Water for Life initiative: 

  • In rural Benin, girls ages 6-14 spend an average of one hour a day collecting water compared with 25 minutes for their brothers.
  • In Malawi, there are large variations in the amount of time allocated for water collection based on seasonal factors, but women consistently spend four to five times longer than men on this task.
  • In Tanzania, a survey found school attendance to be 12 per cent higher for girls in homes located 15 minutes or less from a water source than in homes one hour or more away. Attendance rates for boys appeared to be far less affected by distance from water sources.
  • In 12% of households children carry the main responsibility for collecting water, with girls under 15 years of age being twice as likely to carry this responsibility as boys under the age of 15 years.
  • Research in sub-Saharan Africa suggests that women and girls in low-income countries spend 40 billion hours a year collecting water—the equivalent of a year’s worth of labour by the entire Work force in France.
  • In Africa, 90% of the work of gathering water and wood, for the household and for food preparation, is done by women. Providing access to clean water close to the home can dramatically reduce women’s workloads, and free up time for other economic activities. For their daughters, this time can be used to attend school.

(Source: un.org)

Africa Asia Benin Eastern Europe Malawi Sub-Saharan Africa Tanzania UN United Nations Water for Life Water for Life gender inequality water water day world water day Solomon Islands Haiti Caribbean