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.
In Kenya’s rural communities the word “single” before mother turns something cherished into a burden. Most single mothers struggle to earn money, live far below the poverty line, and are often treated as pariahs in their communities. Despite these significant challenges, providing and caring for their children is their top priority. Peace Corps Volunteer, Teneasha Pierson, shares her thoughts after leading a malaria prevention training with the Elewana Education Project in Western Kenya.
Peace Corps Volunteer Emily McKeone is working with her community members and local school teachers to bring safe, clean drinking water to three schools in Zambia to improve students’ health and boost school attendance. People in the communities currently travel long distances to get water that frequently comes from unprotected sources like local streams, which often leads to water-borne illnesses and sanitation concerns at school facilities.
By constructing borehole wells, the community’s water sources will be protected from contaminants and safe to drink. The additional water supply will also support school construction projects and enable students and teachers to plant gardens and orchards. The resulting produce will help raise money to maintain the boreholes.
“School attendance by students and teachers will improve from enhanced sanitation and clean drinking water,” said McKeone, who is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been living and working in Zambia since July 2012. “The schools currently have construction projects that have been delayed due to a lack of water, preventing completion of much needed classrooms, and these boreholes will allow for the completion of those projects.”
Ter is the first to point out that his story is only partially about him, and equally about the many friends and ‘family’ members who have adopted him – and whom he has adopted – throughout his unlikely global odyssey, from northwest Kenya to sunny Florida to the cold mountains of Azerbaijan and back to academia in Boston.
It is a story of kindness. And it is the story, in its elemental sense, of thanksgiving.
In developing nations, a relatively simple footbridge can make the difference between getting an education and staying at home, between receiving health care and being sick.
Peace Corps Response Volunteer Nate Bloss has been working with Bridging the Gap Africa as a project supervisor in Kenyan communities where people and economies are affected by the ability to cross waterways safely.
"I think their favorite part of the tour though was playing on the beach because many of them had never seen the ocean before.”
A group of Peace Corps Volunteers in Namibia recently came together in collaboration with a local nonprofit organization to lead a week-long educational tour of the country for 40 at-risk youth. The tour is an annual initiative led by Peace Corps Namibia’s diversity committee aimed at providing orphans and marginalized youth — many of whom have never traveled outside of their own community — with the opportunity to explore Namibia, develop a respect and appreciation for other local cultures, and build healthy lifestyle and leadership skills.
No Sex for Fish - Redefining Gender Relationships in Lake Victoria, Kenya
Women living along the shores of Lake Victoria whose livelihood depends on trading fresh fish are exceptionally vulnerable to contracting HIV. In order to acquire fresh fish daily, the women are often pressured into having sex with the fishermen who supply the fish. It is not uncommon for the fishermen to maintain several such relationships simultaneously with women at different beaches where they land with their fish. As such, women fish traders are extremely susceptible to contracting HIV.
A couple of years ago, two Peace Corps Volunteers – Dominik Mucklow (an Education Volunteer, 2009-11) and Michael Geilhufe (a Community Economic Development Volunteer, 2010-12) – who lived near Lake Victoria decided to do something to help these women. With support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), they assisted a group of women fish traders to acquire their own fishing boats. The women then employed men to go fishing using these boats. This simple advancement allowed the women to be free from sexual exploitation in order to secure their fish supply.
A third Volunteer, Samantha Slater (a Community Economic Development Volunteer, 2011-13) just completed her service. Samantha dedicated her work to helping the women with the business aspects of operating the boats and their fish trade. The women have since obtained additional loans to purchase new nets or replace damaged nets. They were also taught how to keep sound financial records and manage the business well enough to be able to pay back their loans in a timely way. Recently-arrived Volunteer Lori Armstrong will continue working on good business practices with the women. The work that these volunteers initiated has generated significant interest in development circles, and there is now a clear push to expand this “No Sex For Fish” initiative to other beaches along Lake Victoria. With additional support, this simple initiative promises to completely re-write the gender relationships that rule Lake Victoria’s fishing industry today.
Peace Corps Volunteer Ginger Anderson works with participants at Camp TechKobwa. Created by Peace Corps Volunteers in Rwanda, Camp TechKobwa focused on empowerment for girls through gaining skills and confidence using computers and media technology. The camp encouraged young women to become active citizens by building their self-esteem and confidence, and helped them start computer and media clubs with their information and communication technology teachers upon returning to their schools. #Africa #Rwanda #camp #genderequality #girls #women #empowerment #computers #technology #media #USAID #latergram
We had the Zambezia Provincial Science Fairthis past Saturday in the provincial capital of Quilimane. We had near 50 participating students representing 11 districts from across the province. The event consisted of an opening with cultural groups, followed by an HIV/AIDS theatre piece by a local JUNTOS group. Then came the exposition/judging period with voluntary HIV Testing occurring in another room at the same time, followed by the presentation of prizes. The two winners that will represent the province of Zambezia at the National Fair are a 10th grader who made a natural insecticide from fermented plants and acids and an 11th grader who made his own DJ mixing device from scrap! Overall there were 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for each ciclo and three prizes for overall best community based project, best HIV/AIDS related project and best project by a female. One of our students in Alto Molocue took home 2nd Place for 8th-10th grades, parabens Belchuir!
The best part of the fair, 17 people were tested for HIV/SIDA and they all came back negative! All in all was a great opportunity to witness some Mozambican ingenuity and motivate kids to get into SCIENCE!
As the coordinator of the event, I am quite content with how the fair turned out and more than happy to hand over the organizing responsibilities to my sitemate Sam as he prepares for the National Fair on Sept 14th, also in Quilemane. The five days in Quilimane I spent prepping and realizing the provincial were by far the busiest I have been in Mozambique. The official budget and event plan was constantly changing and organizing a large event in Moz comes with some interesting hoops through which one must jump. But as stressful as it was at times, I felt great to be working on a project that I know has been and will continue to be a great success and help develop the future scientific community in Mozambique!
Peace Corps Trainee Lauren Mazza serves tea and speaks to local media about the work she’ll be doing in Africa and the experience of living with a host family during training and service in Butajira, Ethiopia. #Africa #Ethiopia #Butajira #PeaceCorps #latergram #tea #family