It is easy to romanticize a life with limited connectivity: candles, campfires and conversations. And how creative of the Ugandans to keep their insulin floating in a ceramic pot buried in the dirt. But the reality is that the only difference between the boy in southwest Uganda and the boy in anytown, USA is one was born powerless, the other empowered at birth. The Oxford dictionary defines power as “the ability or capacity to do something.” It is how things get done.

Picture this: A tale of two babies - ONE.org

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Scenes from Small-Town Uganda with @sarahgenelle

For a look at everyday life on a coffee farm in Western Uganda, follow @sarahgenelle.

Living and working on a coffee farm nestled in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda is just the latest stop in the nomadic life of Sarah Castagnola (@sarahgenelle).

Sarah’s parents taught at international schools, which meant relocating the family to a different country every few years. “When I moved to Oregon for university I was exited to put down roots,” she explains. “However, it was only a matter of time before I yearned to travel again.”

Sarah’s studies and work in micro-finance have taken her across the globe, and, in April of 2013, she accepted a Peace Corps assignment in the small Ugandan village of Kyarumba. Living and working in Uganda often means it’s easier to share a photo on Instagram than it is to find running water or electricity. “This is the paradox of living in a developing country,” Sarah says. “Cellphones are ubiquitous, however women and children spend hours each day fetching water.”

Sarah, who plans to continue traveling after the Peace Corps, hopes her photos educate and inspire: “Opportunities happen when you take risks and follow your passion.”

Congrats on being featured by Instagram, Sarah!

Peace Corps Peace Corps Volunteer Instagram food education Uganda coffee reblogs


This picture, taken in April 2013 in Uganda, shows villagers registering for long-lasting, insecticide-treated malaria bed nets. The SPA grant-funded project, called “No More Malaria!: Village Drama Outreach, Podcasting and Programming for World Malaria Month 2013,” was led by returned Volunteer Chelsea Milko in partnership with her host organization, Radio Pacis.
The project empowered 2,500 people in four rural West Nile villages with a life-saving malaria prevention information presented in the form of a live-acted Lugbara language drama, malaria bed net repair races, malaria jeopardy games, selection of malaria ambassadors and distribution of 450 nets. In addition, an English-language recorded version of the drama was distributed to all Peace Corps Uganda Volunteers and played on nine radio stations reaching 12 million listeners across Uganda and parts of DRC and South Sudan. Chelsea also delivered malaria sessions to 50 radio presenters and journalists about malaria behavior change programming.

- Peace Corps Community Development Volunteer Chelsea Milko

This picture, taken in April 2013 in Uganda, shows villagers registering for long-lasting, insecticide-treated malaria bed nets. The SPA grant-funded project, called “No More Malaria!: Village Drama Outreach, Podcasting and Programming for World Malaria Month 2013,” was led by returned Volunteer Chelsea Milko in partnership with her host organization, Radio Pacis.

The project empowered 2,500 people in four rural West Nile villages with a life-saving malaria prevention information presented in the form of a live-acted Lugbara language drama, malaria bed net repair races, malaria jeopardy games, selection of malaria ambassadors and distribution of 450 nets. In addition, an English-language recorded version of the drama was distributed to all Peace Corps Uganda Volunteers and played on nine radio stations reaching 12 million listeners across Uganda and parts of DRC and South Sudan. Chelsea also delivered malaria sessions to 50 radio presenters and journalists about malaria behavior change programming.

- Peace Corps Community Development Volunteer Chelsea Milko

Uganda global health malaria Africa bed nets


The Peace Corps is excited to be a partner of Saving Mothers, Giving Life. We are particularly proud of the contributions Peace Corps Volunteers have made at the community level to promote the importance of essential maternal health services, and we are thrilled to continue our collaboration to aggressively reduce maternal mortality. - Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet

Saving Mothers’ first Annual Report, Making Pregnancy and Childbirth Safe in Uganda and Zambia, demonstrates rapid progress towards reducing maternal mortality ratios in eight pilot districts.
In Uganda districts, the maternal mortality ratio has declined by 30%, while in facilities in Zambia, the maternal mortality ratio has decreased by 35%. The Report showcases the activities that have helped contribute to these gains, including:
Increasing the number of women delivering in health facilities by 62% and 35% in Uganda and Zambia, respectively
Enhancing women’s access to Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care, by hiring and training skilled birth attendants;
Strengthening transportation and communications networks among communities and facilities, in addition to strengthening the supply chain for life-saving medicines and commodities; and
Expanding testing and treatment for HIV/AIDS for women and their newborns.

Download the full report

The Peace Corps is excited to be a partner of Saving Mothers, Giving Life. We are particularly proud of the contributions Peace Corps Volunteers have made at the community level to promote the importance of essential maternal health services, and we are thrilled to continue our collaboration to aggressively reduce maternal mortality. - Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet

Saving Mothers’ first Annual Report, Making Pregnancy and Childbirth Safe in Uganda and Zambia, demonstrates rapid progress towards reducing maternal mortality ratios in eight pilot districts.

In Uganda districts, the maternal mortality ratio has declined by 30%, while in facilities in Zambia, the maternal mortality ratio has decreased by 35%. The Report showcases the activities that have helped contribute to these gains, including:

  • Increasing the number of women delivering in health facilities by 62% and 35% in Uganda and Zambia, respectively
  • Enhancing women’s access to Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care, by hiring and training skilled birth attendants;
  • Strengthening transportation and communications networks among communities and facilities, in addition to strengthening the supply chain for life-saving medicines and commodities; and
  • Expanding testing and treatment for HIV/AIDS for women and their newborns.

Download the full report

maternal health global health Africa women HIV AIDS maternal mortality Zambia Uganda USAID

Happy 1st day of Summer! Here are some examples of the fun and empowering camps that our Volunteers are organizing around the world for girls and youth of all ages this Summer. 

(Source: peacecorps.gov)

Camp GLOW Camp BUILD Action Brings Change Camp ABC Camp Boys of Uganda In Leadership Development Azerbaijani Boys’ Leadership Experience ABLE Camp Azerbaijan Uganda Botswana Ukraine Peru Guyana youth education gender equality gender issues business skills language environment China eco leadership Peace Corps Partnership Program Peace Corps Peace Corps Volunteers Swaziland Africa 1st day of Summer Summer camp

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+

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

Peace Corps, PEPFAR and Global Health Service Corps Launch Public-Private Partnership to Boost Training for Health Professionals in Developing Countries

The Peace Corps, the U.S. Presidents’ Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the Global Health Service Corps are launching an innovative public-private partnership to place nurses, physicians and other health professionals as adjunct faculty in medical or nursing schools overseas. The Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP) will address health professional shortages by investing in capacity and building support for existing medical and nursing education programs in less developed countries. The new program is expected to begin in Tanzania, Malawi and Uganda in July 2013. Participants will serve in the Peace Corps Response program for one-year assignments. 

(Source: peacecorps.gov)

Africa HIV/AIDS Malawi PEPFAR Peace Corps Response Tanzania Uganda doctors education global health health professionals maternal health medical school medicine nurses nursing nursing school peace corps public health sub-saharan Africa teaching the U.S. Presidents’ Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief AIDS HIV

Situated in the African Rift Valley, Uganda is home to the source of the Nile River in Lake Victoria. The Lake provides the main source of protein for the tribes that live in the southeastern district. The children have just off-boarded a ferry canoe that brought them from their island home to Busiro Landing for the World AIDS Day celebration in December 2007. The brothers and sisters have lost their parents to AIDS and have no money for school fees. They survive by growing vegetables & fruits in a kitchen garden.

Situated in the African Rift Valley, Uganda is home to the source of the Nile River in Lake Victoria. The Lake provides the main source of protein for the tribes that live in the southeastern district. The children have just off-boarded a ferry canoe that brought them from their island home to Busiro Landing for the World AIDS Day celebration in December 2007. The brothers and sisters have lost their parents to AIDS and have no money for school fees. They survive by growing vegetables & fruits in a kitchen garden.

World AIDS Day Peace Corps the Nile River Lake Victoria orphans Uganda Africa youth