When Volunteers asked the community members how they think they had become infected with HIV/AIDS, they said the culture of jaboya – or the practice of trading sex for fish – which is prevalent throughout the communities surrounding the lake, could be the reason.

In Kenya, Peace Corps Volunteers have been working to end the practice of trading sex for fish, which has perpetuated the spread of HIV/AIDS among communities along Lake Victoria. Women who rely on the trade of fish to support their families are often pressured into prostitution with area fishermen to secure fresh fish.

Since 2011, three Peace Corps Volunteers have helped local women find financial independence. Working with Kenyan businesses and U.S. federal government partners, the Volunteers have acquired boats for women involved in the fish trade and supported the development of their own fishing business.

AIDS gender issues sex workers Kenya Africa

My hope for the project was to allow these rather isolated, low resource communities to use their environment and culture as a tool to promote education, health, and intercultural interaction, while boosting economic prosperity throughout the region.

Peace Corps Education Volunteer Shane Butler loves running, and he’s using his love of running to engage his local community in East Java, Indonesia.

“When I first arrived, people thought I was crazy running around the hills,” said Butler, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara. “Then they got used to it, and then my students joined me. Now I see more and more people practicing on their own. Running is so healthy for your physical health as well as your state of mind and willpower, so it’s been really rewarding to watch this transformation.”

Working with members of his community, Butler planned and hosted the first-ever marathon in the Mount Bromo region to infuse the local economy and bring people from all over the world together to learn about the local culture.

More than 900 people ran in the race, and runners represented more than 30 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Another 5,000 people came to watch the event and join the festivities, which included an arts and culture festival the evening before the marathon. The festival promoted all aspects of the local culture and featured dance and music performances, art displays, and traditional cuisine.

The project generated income for area restaurants and hotels, and donations were collected to support five school libraries in four different villages as well as one community library in the region. The donations will fund more books, tables and chairs at the libraries, and training for staff and students on library maintenance.

Butler teaches regularly at a local high school and runs an English conversation club. He also coaches cross-country running, and all 25 members of his cross-country team participated in the marathon. In addition to regular fitness training, cross-country team members learn about nutrition, fitness, hygiene, and social responsibility.

running fitness Indonesia marathons global health education

AND THE WINNER IS…

Congratulations to David Malana, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kyrgyzstan, whose “Kyrgyzstan is Me” video was selected as the winner of our 2014 Peace Corps Week Video Contest!

His was selected based on its ability to increase cross-cultural understanding, the cultural richness of the video, and the quality of the video production. As winner of the competition, he will receive an iPad to help him as he continues to share his country of service with the world.

Spend your weekend watching all the great entries  

(Source: 1.usa.gov)

Kyrgyzstan culture cross-cultural understanding PCWeek2014 videos Peace Corps Volunteers


During GLOW Camp 2013, Armenian young women, counselors and Volunteers joined their hearts and minds. Volunteers partnered with Stepanvan Youth Center to provide an intensive camp for 40 girls ages 13-16. They participated in trainings, exercises and discussions on leadership, self-esteem, gender equality, trafficking, domestic violence, peer education and social networking. After camp, everyone will “take it back” to their local communities via regional seminars and local peer education. Junior counselors and selected campers will join with the Volunteers and partner organization to tell their GLOW story to Armenian businesses with interest in social responsibility. They will encourage corporate participation in future camps and continuing peer education throughout Armenia as a way to ensure a sustainable future for this project. Through partnership, community and participation – Girls Will Lead Our World. Their smiles tell the whole story.

 - Peace Corps Community Development Volunteer Deborah Hall

During GLOW Camp 2013, Armenian young women, counselors and Volunteers joined their hearts and minds. Volunteers partnered with Stepanvan Youth Center to provide an intensive camp for 40 girls ages 13-16. They participated in trainings, exercises and discussions on leadership, self-esteem, gender equality, trafficking, domestic violence, peer education and social networking. After camp, everyone will “take it back” to their local communities via regional seminars and local peer education. Junior counselors and selected campers will join with the Volunteers and partner organization to tell their GLOW story to Armenian businesses with interest in social responsibility. They will encourage corporate participation in future camps and continuing peer education throughout Armenia as a way to ensure a sustainable future for this project. Through partnership, community and participation – Girls Will Lead Our World. Their smiles tell the whole story.

- Peace Corps Community Development Volunteer Deborah Hall

Armenia Gender empowerment Camp GLOW education leadership

catherinelampi23:

Well this weekend I had another déjà vu moment in the campo, when my life felt exactly like an episode of The Simple Life. Another day, another 5:00 am wake up call. This time, my host dad and brother took me to learn how to herd and milk cows. Now, on my resume under special skills I can put expert at killing chickens and milking cows. Basically, post Peace Corps I am going to be ready to start my career as a farm hand, maybe assistant farm hand. I was, as usual, in for a few surprises on this little outing. First I discovered that milking cows is not as easy as it looks on tv. It took me three times, and three different cows, to finally get it. I also assumed that the family had one maybe two cows and that this little outing would last no more than a half hour and then I could go back to bed. Wrong. 15 cows and two and a half hours later we were done. I really should never assume anything here, since I am always wrong.  My favorite part of these early morning outings is getting the chance to watch the sun rise over the rolling hills of San Nicolas- something you miss out on when you wake up at 8:30am. I don’t know if this scenery will ever get old. It is also really nice to spend time bonding with my host family outside of the house. They always get a kick out of teaching me how to do something new, and it is nice to interact with my host dad out side of the ADESCO/ Peace Corps realm. Everyday I am starting to feel more at home here and more so apart of the family. It truly is the people that make a place, and I feel fortunate to have such welcoming and warm people to work and live with for the next two years.

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