As a librarian, I was particularly tickled to hear about Peace Corps Volunteer Karri Stout’s endeavor to establish a library at a school in a small African village in Tanzania. Education and access to information are important developmental tools everywhere in the world.
Of course, this young lady wasn’t just thinking of a standard library, but a bilingual library that would serve students as well as adults living in the village of Utelewe. For the 2013 school year, the school has 342 students enrolled; a library serving this many children will improve literacy rates, and can have a far-reaching impact on their lives.
"On World AIDS day the members of the local HIV group MASUPHA (Makete Supplies People Living with HIV/AIDS) marched in the villages of Tanzania. The group members and I were wearing Peace Corps 50th anniversary Khangas made by Peace Corps Tanzania. The group members sang powerful songs while marching through the villages. Later, speeches were given by MASUPHA group leaders, health care workers, various village government officials, and myself, a Tanzanian environment Peace Corps volunteer. The event helped raise awareness of the HIV problem, encourage testing, educate villagers, and reduce stigma for those living with HIV/AIDS."
Fetching water is part of the gender inequality. Check out these statistics from the United Nations Water for Life initiative:
In rural Benin, girls ages 6-14 spend an average of one hour a day collecting water compared with 25 minutes for their brothers.
In Malawi, there are large variations in the amount of time allocated for water collection based on seasonal factors, but women consistently spend four to five times longer than men on this task.
In Tanzania, a survey found school attendance to be 12 per cent higher for girls in homes located 15 minutes or less from a water source than in homes one hour or more away. Attendance rates for boys appeared to be far less affected by distance from water sources.
In 12% of households children carry the main responsibility for collecting water, with girls under 15 years of age being twice as likely to carry this responsibility as boys under the age of 15 years.
Research in sub-Saharan Africa suggests that women and girls in low-income countries spend 40 billion hours a year collecting water—the equivalent of a year’s worth of labour by the entire Work force in France.
In Africa, 90% of the work of gathering water and wood, for the household and for food preparation, is done by women. Providing access to clean water close to the home can dramatically reduce women’s workloads, and free up time for other economic activities. For their daughters, this time can be used to attend school.
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.
"Rural villagers in Tanzania had never heard of the American holiday called Halloween. Also they had never seen this type of pumpkin before. I gave my friend some seeds and after some weeks, she proudly brought a home grown pumpkin to my house. I showed her how we carve jack-o-lanterns, roast the seeds, and bake pumpkin bread. She kept a few of the seeds to share with others and to plant again the following year; and for many years after that." - Peace Corps Environment Volunteer Heath Roy
My favorite photo ever. When I extended my contract with Peace Corps, I went to work for a HIV-service NGO in Morogoro called Faraja. This girl’s smile was captured at a play day for kids living with or affected by HIV. The image hangs on my wall and reminds me that there’s joy to be found in utter disparity and ugliness.
What a beautiful photo! Please considering contributing to the Peace Corps Digital Library. We would love to include it in our collection!