This photo was taken in May 2013 in Madagascar. It shows Germaine, a member of the local women’s gardening association with her basket of produce. SPA funds were used to support the project which included purchasing tools and seeds, as well as an eight-week class on improved agricultural techniques. Germaine was so successful she not only had enough for her family but enough left over to sell too!

 - Peace Corps Agriculture Volunteer Kara Leavitt

This photo was taken in May 2013 in Madagascar. It shows Germaine, a member of the local women’s gardening association with her basket of produce. SPA funds were used to support the project which included purchasing tools and seeds, as well as an eight-week class on improved agricultural techniques. Germaine was so successful she not only had enough for her family but enough left over to sell too!

- Peace Corps Agriculture Volunteer Kara Leavitt

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Elements of the story are pulled from a number of my experiences in Madagascar as a Peace Corps Volunteer and from my own childhood. I want to give children in Madagascar the opportunity to engage with a character that they find courageous, spirited and curious as she learns about malaria.

Peace Corps Volunteers Raegan and Patrick Spencer are educating schoolchildren in Madagascar about the causes and dangers of malaria and disease prevention through storytelling. The couple wrote, illustrated and published The Story of Soa and the Moka, a 40-page children’s book, along with an accompanying classroom curriculum that will be distributed throughout communities across Madagascar.

Read an online version of the book in English or Malagasy

global health malaria Madagascar Africa books reading education

Some people start their mornings with coffee

emilybecker01:

I woke up this morning at the normal time to which I allow myself to sleep when I don’t have to teach in the morning, around 8 a.m.

By this time, all the students are already at school, which means, for a few moments, my neighborhood is relatively quiet.

This morning, though, as I was in my kitchen heating up water for tea, I heard people outside my neighbor’s house. She’s a nice lady and makes her living usually by being a tailor. In the past few months, she’s also started selling the local moonshine out of her house. For 100 CFA, men come by, take a shot of sodabe and then ride off on their motorcycles, rarely staying more than 5 minutes. One of my favorite nighttime activities is to sit on my front porch and watch how many of the men who stop by I recognize, either as colleagues or the father of one of my students.

When I came back from vacation three days ago, a small hut with benches and tables had been erected outside her house, I guessed in an effort to expand her business, at least expand it out of her living room. And business has expanded, the area outside my front door becoming less like a front porch and more like the street outside a bar, but besides moto horns and loud voices, there haven’t been any real complaints.

And so, this morning, as I sipped my Harney & Son’s Tower of London tea, I silently toasted the men taking shots of sodabe next door at 8:30 in the morning. 

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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


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.

Stomping Out Malaria Weekly Awesome in Kenya: Single Mothers Training

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.

Stomping Out Malaria Weekly Awesome in Kenya: Single Mothers Training

maternal health global health Africa Kenya gender issues motherhood

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.”

(Source: 1.usa.gov)

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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.

I’m not crying, YOU ARE!

(Source: bit.ly)

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