“Without proper access to clean water, community members often suffer from nutritional deficiencies and waterborne diseases. For millions of people living in developing countries like Togo, these conditions are everyday realities that inhibit their ability to work, pursue an education or raise a family. Access to clean water is not only the basis of reducing poverty and illness; it is the foundation of a productive and fully functioning community.”
Peace Corps Response provides qualified professionals the opportunity to serve in rewarding, short-term assignments, in various programs around the world. When you serve as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer, you bring your skills and experience to projects in places where you are needed most!
*You do not need to be a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer to qualify for some positions!
In recognition of Mother’s Day, Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide are engaging in projects to improve maternal health, educate new mothers and support women and children. Volunteers regularly serve in maternity clinics, teach nutrition to new and expecting mother’s and provide information to keep families healthy.
Today, 22 percent of all Peace Corps Volunteers work in the health/HIV sector. Health Volunteers help communities meet basic public health needs through education and awareness, providing access to safe drinking water, distributing bed nets for malaria prevention, teaching sanitation measures and more. Even though Peace Corps volunteers are not medical care providers, they provide the skills and training to help keep communities healthy and safe. Many volunteers participate in health-related projects during the course of their service.
We thank our Volunteers for supporting mothers worldwide and wish all the mothers in the Peace Corps family a happy, healthy, and safe Mother’s Day!
In honor of Mother’s Day, we are shining the spotlight on the maternal health work our Volunteers are doing around the world. Here’s a success story from two Peace Corps Volunteers in Albania!
Two years ago, Volunteer Barbara Stallings started a prenatal education program for expectant mothers and health professionals in her community. After her close of service, it was handed over to Volunteer Jessica Goodell, who continued to develop and grow the program.
Barbara found that the concept of childbirth education was a very novel one in her Albanian community, with many cultural barriers, leading to nervous expectant mothers who were more likely to have complications.
To address this issue, Barbara helped facilitate a program that successfully trained one Albanian “Childbirth Educator” with a background in nursing and physical therapy to teach classes. Eleven expectant mothers and one father participated in the classes. The participation of the one father during class is a separate success story itself!
After taking over the project, Jessica worked with Albania’s Ministry of Health, the Institute of Public Health and her local Directorate of Public Health to organize a “Childbirth Educator Training of Trainers” to increase the number of “Childbirth Educators” who can transfer skills and expand the scope of educated expectant mothers. She applied for accreditation through the Ministry of Health and was approved to conduct the training, with seven professional credit hours to incentivize health professionals to participate.
A total of 20 health professionals (nurse-midwives, midwives, nurses, and social workers) were successfully trained. Now there are twenty-one “Childbirth Educators” prepared to teach a childbirth education class to expectant mothers in this community.
Peace Corps Volunteers Caryn Steinbrecher and Leslie W. Stewart IV organized a youth leadership camp called “Super Vacaciones” in Nicaragua. Twenty-four kids, between the ages of 7-12, participated in the camp, which covered topics including: HIV/AIDS awareness, teenage pregnancy prevention, gender roles, self-esteem development, life skills planning, leadership, and creativity. The goal of the camp was to provide students with an intellectually stimulating environment, which incorporated physical, creative, and thought provoking activities.
"It’s possible to end this – in our lifetime. What we need are not slogans about African Illnesses, emotional appeals to Save Those In Need, or personal campaigns to Guilt Everyone Into Donating Money. My neighbors here in Senegal are working diligently to protect themselves from infection."
Malaria is an incredibly deadly, pervasive disease. It kills between 750,000 to 1.2 million people every year, mostly children and pregnant women.
When you really see it at the local level, though, its real impact becomes clear. In my host family alone every single child had malaria last year at least once, some three or four times. It exacts an extraordinarily heavy toll on the health, productivity, and finances of the village, and nearly every family has lost children to the disease.
Prevention work can have incredibly positive effect on the well being of these families. Simple interventions like bed nets, indoor residual spraying and prompt treatment can save huge amounts of money, time and ultimately lives.
More than 7 million children will die this year before they reach their 5th birthday. That number is equivalent to the entire population of New York City. And, even more disturbing, most of these children will die from preventable causes.
At the same time, as a global community, we have made staggering progress in the reduction of child mortality. Over the last 50 years, child mortality has been reduced by 70%. This result is largely due to high-impact tools and interventions for child survival, notably new vaccines and more community health workers.
However, we must not let this progress hide the reality that more than 7 million children are at risk every year. In rich and poor countries alike, the poorest and most disadvantaged children continue to miss out on lifesaving, affordable interventions.
The tremendous declines in child mortality in Rwanda, (over 50%), and the 28% decline in both Tanzania and Ethiopia prove that these simple, cost-effective interventions can save lives. Now is the time for every nation to build on this proven success.
All governments and citizens are responsible for the survival of their most vulnerable children. Stakeholders in every country – from the government to civil society to the faith community to the private sector – are responsible for the survival of the world’s children. Their existing commitments as well as future commitments must be fulfilled.
Ending preventable child deaths is possible, if we all work together.