Peace Corps Volunteers Katy Todd and Melissa Bernard are working with local Togolese community members to promote women’s empowerment by organizing the third annual national women’s wellness and empowerment conference. Throughout the five-day conference, 30 women will participate in seminars and activities to enhance their personal development and entrepreneurial skills. Seminar topics will include family planning, maternal health, nutrition, food security, social entrepreneurship and financial literacy."The conference helps women realize their potential to become leaders and role models, and to have a positive impact on those around them,” said Bernard. “Participants leave equipped not only with valuable information, but with confidence in themselves and a belief that they can make a difference.”

Peace Corps Volunteers Katy Todd and Melissa Bernard are working with local Togolese community members to promote women’s empowerment by organizing the third annual national women’s wellness and empowerment conference. Throughout the five-day conference, 30 women will participate in seminars and activities to enhance their personal development and entrepreneurial skills. Seminar topics will include family planning, maternal health, nutrition, food security, social entrepreneurship and financial literacy.

"The conference helps women realize their potential to become leaders and role models, and to have a positive impact on those around them,” said Bernard. “Participants leave equipped not only with valuable information, but with confidence in themselves and a belief that they can make a difference.”

international women's day Peace Corps Volunteers women's empowerment Togo Africa family planning maternal health nutrition social enterpreneurship yoga



This photo was taken in the small village of Ain Chaib, Morocco, just east of Agadir, on my host grandmothers farm. It is early morning and Jdda (grandma) is sitting on a grain bag, sifting through argan nuts as she pours them into a hand operated grinder made of stone. I return to the U.S. in two weeks and she is making Argan Oil for me to take back to my family in America. She wants me to remember her and the two years we spent together on her farm. She is the only grandmother I’ve ever known.


- Peace Corps Business Development Volunteer Leslie Mansour

This photo was taken in the small village of Ain Chaib, Morocco, just east of Agadir, on my host grandmothers farm. It is early morning and Jdda (grandma) is sitting on a grain bag, sifting through argan nuts as she pours them into a hand operated grinder made of stone. I return to the U.S. in two weeks and she is making Argan Oil for me to take back to my family in America. She wants me to remember her and the two years we spent together on her farm. She is the only grandmother I’ve ever known.

- Peace Corps Business Development Volunteer Leslie Mansour

Morocco aragan oil grandmothers culture Peace Corps volunteers host family business development

sarahreichle:

Your Ecuadorian Fruit Education
Lesson #1: Taxo

One of my New Year’s resolutions and goals of year numero dos in Peace Corps is to try more Ecuadorian fruit. It’s not as if I don’t eat a bastante amount of fruit here, I really do. I just usually stick to the basics like mango, pineapple, papaya, grapefruit and oranges. I’ve tried other fruits here of course but I don’t usually buy them on my own… but that’s all about to change! I have a brand-spanking new blender with a juicer too! It would be a complete waste not to use it and to not aprovechar my time down here with trying delicious tropical fruits. So, get ready for installment one in your Ecuadorian fruit education!

Up first is taxo. I’m not sure what taxo is called in English or if there even is an English translation. It’s a strange yellow fruit that’s about 3 inches long and shaped like some large gorilla finger or a fat stumpy cigar. When you cut it open, the insides look like a pomegranate or maracuyá with the orange, gelatinous fruit surrounding many small black seeds. Taxo is basically only used in juices but as the lady at the fruit stand tells me, you can also cut it open and chupar (suck) the fruit out. According to my awesome Peace Corps cookbook, it’s also used as a topping for ice cream but since I had no ice cream around the house, I settled for making juice.

I cut them open, scooped out the insides and put it my blender with a bit of water. After blending for a bit, you simply strain out the seeds and bam, you have jugo de taxo! I added some sugar to the juice primarily because I’ve integrated here and you can’t drink anything without copious amounts of sugar added and secondly because taxo does have a slightly sour taste that needs some sweetness added. Overall, not my favorite Ecua-fruit and it probably wouldn’t be my first juice choice but taxo definitely has an interesting flavor and unlike any fruits I would typically eat in the States.   

This fits today’s Peace Corps Week Theme “Invite the World to Your Table" so well, we had to reblog! 

 

Peace Corps Volunteers Ecuador food fruit taxo reblogs Peace Corps Week

Join the global celebration of Peace Corps service!
Peace Corps Week celebrates how Peace Corps Volunteers make a difference in host countries around the world and in the United States, commemorating the date President John F. Kennedy signed the executive order to establish the Peace Corps—March 1, 1961.
Don’t miss your chance to support world peace and friendship by furthering the Peace Corps Third Goal of helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans! Learn more @ www.peacecorps.gov/pcweek

Join the global celebration of Peace Corps service!

Peace Corps Week celebrates how Peace Corps Volunteers make a difference in host countries around the world and in the United States, commemorating the date President John F. Kennedy signed the executive order to establish the Peace Corps—March 1, 1961.

Don’t miss your chance to support world peace and friendship by furthering the Peace Corps Third Goal of helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans! Learn more @ www.peacecorps.gov/pcweek

Peace Corps Week Peace Corps Volunteers Returned Peace Corps Volunteers RPCVs President Kennedy

Peace Corps Volunteers Lead Gender Equality Discussion in Azerbaijan

“The goal of the presentations was to promote social awareness as well as critical thinking in local community members,” said Wiersma, a graduate of Liberty University who has been living and working in Azerbaijan since September 2011. “We want to get the young members of rural Azerbaijan to start thinking outside of their daily scope of how men and women are seen and valued in Azerbaijan and move into what is possible for the future of their country.”

Azerbaijan gender equality education community development Peace Corps Volunteers gender women's rights social awareness culture

Members of Peace Corps Volunteer Stephanie Bergado’s small island community pull the boat used to access their local health center boat to shore.

Stephanie is currently raising funds with her community in Vanuatu to install solar panels in the local community health center that will allow patients to be effectively treated after dark. The health center serves all 126 members of Bergado’s small island community and currently operates by flashlight or kerosene lamp during night hours. 

“The community relies heavily on the health center for all of its services, day and night, but many community members are reluctant to seek medical care when it’s dark,” said Bergado, a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University who has been living and working in Vanuatu since October 2011. “This can cause serious health complications and in some cases long term problems. The island is very isolated, and it can be extremely hard to receive batteries for flashlights or kerosene for lamps. This kind of patient care can be very difficult at times and can seriously affect the treatment given to a patient.” 

Funds raised by Bergado’s project will go toward purchasing a solar panel package with all the necessary equipment and materials. The community has agreed to contribute the cost of transporting the materials and labor needed to install the panels. In order to receive funding through the PCPP, a community must make a 25 percent contribution to the total project and outline success indicators for the individual projects. This helps ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability. 

“The health center building itself is strong and impressive, but without adequate lighting, it is crippled and it cannot have the positive effect it was intended to,” continued Bergado. “With a constant, renewable source of light from the solar panels, the health center can really make a difference for the health and well-being of my community.” 

Members of Peace Corps Volunteer Stephanie Bergado’s small island community pull the boat used to access their local health center boat to shore.

Stephanie is currently raising funds with her community in Vanuatu to install solar panels in the local community health center that will allow patients to be effectively treated after dark. The health center serves all 126 members of Bergado’s small island community and currently operates by flashlight or kerosene lamp during night hours. 

“The community relies heavily on the health center for all of its services, day and night, but many community members are reluctant to seek medical care when it’s dark,” said Bergado, a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University who has been living and working in Vanuatu since October 2011. “This can cause serious health complications and in some cases long term problems. The island is very isolated, and it can be extremely hard to receive batteries for flashlights or kerosene for lamps. This kind of patient care can be very difficult at times and can seriously affect the treatment given to a patient.” 

Funds raised by Bergado’s project will go toward purchasing a solar panel package with all the necessary equipment and materials. The community has agreed to contribute the cost of transporting the materials and labor needed to install the panels. In order to receive funding through the PCPP, a community must make a 25 percent contribution to the total project and outline success indicators for the individual projects. This helps ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability. 

“The health center building itself is strong and impressive, but without adequate lighting, it is crippled and it cannot have the positive effect it was intended to,” continued Bergado. “With a constant, renewable source of light from the solar panels, the health center can really make a difference for the health and well-being of my community.” 

(Source: donate.peacecorps.gov)

Pacific Islands Peace Corps Peace Corps Partnership Program Peace Corps Volunteers Vanuatu community development health pretty places boats