Peace Corps Volunteers Support New ‘Let Girls Learn’ Effort by Educating Women and Girls around the Globe

Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide are supporting the new government-wide Let Girls Learn effort by increasing opportunities for women and girls through education. Let Girls Learn launched today to raise awareness about the need to support all girls in their pursuit of a quality education. The effort, coordinated by the U.S. Agency for International Development, includes $231 million in new education programs in Nigeria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Jordan and Guatemala.

Peace Corps Volunteers Support New ‘Let Girls Learn’ Effort by Educating Women and Girls around the Globe

Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide are supporting the new government-wide Let Girls Learn effort by increasing opportunities for women and girls through education. Let Girls Learn launched today to raise awareness about the need to support all girls in their pursuit of a quality education. The effort, coordinated by the U.S. Agency for International Development, includes $231 million in new education programs in Nigeria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Jordan and Guatemala.

let girls learn Gender empowerment USAID education

At the community center Mita Rory, a place that supports 180 families giving homework help, family support, and regular beneficial presentations, a group of 12 women work together to help run the community center and to improve their community. One of their projects is a soup kitchen that provides lunch three times a week to approximately 400 children of the community. The women work together voluntarily using local government donations in order to cook and provide meals to these hungry children. Every three months, the community center is provided with food donations, which are supposed to last them until the supplies are replenished. Unfortunately, due to the poor conditions of the kitchen, food donations are always spoiled or ruined, preventing the soup kitchen to provide meals to children. 

The kitchen at Mita Rory was, essentially, a rotting wooden shack that constantly leaked from rain and became home to dozens of rats. Due to water damage and hungry rodents, the food would become unusable, and the lunch program would be suspended until new fresh food was supplied again, leaving hundreds of hungry children that depend on this program. The women cooked what usable food they had inside this shack by burning wood or carbon, causing a cloud of smoke in the room affecting their health as smoke filled their lungs and stung their eyes. It became clear to the 12 women in charge that rat traps and patching holes in the roof was not the solution and that, if they wanted to continue the soup kitchen, they needed to improve their infrastructure. 

Every week, the women met to devise a plan as to how to gain the funds to improve their kitchen. For months they tried soliciting help from the local government, but were denied. Eventually hope came from a local NGO donation, which provided the community center with new kitchen equipment. The community center now had pots, pans, plates, cups, and tables but where still left with the wooden shack. With a little more insistence from the women, the community center was provided with a new refrigerator and a large oven that would eventually be used in cooking/confectionary courses for community members, in order to provide new work skills and generate income. Still, the women were left with their wooden shack, and were in fear of installing their new equipment for it would surely be destroyed from the leaks (maybe even the rats). Exhausting all resources, it was finally time to take advantage of outside resources and apply for a Small Project Assistance (SPA) grant through Peace Corps-Paraguay.

The community center was awarded with approximately $2,600 to be used for construction and was put to use right away. Community members came together to tear down the old shack piece by piece, saving any materials that could be used again. The women worked together to help monitor expenditures and evaluate the construction’s progress as they proudly witnessed their dream slowly coming true. As they realized that more money would be needed to finish the building, they set up their new oven and began cooking for a bake sale in order to gain the extra funds needed. 

Soon enough, the building was put together and the tables were placed in order to serve its first lunch on “Día del Niño” or Children’s Day. Here, 500 people were able to come together in the newly built room, to have their first sit down lunch as they appropriately celebrated Children’s Day, marking the first of many lunches in the building.

Paraguay Feed the Future nutrition Small Project Assistance USAID community development


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

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

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

empowerment computers africa camp girls genderequality usaid rwanda media technology latergram women

guatemelissa:

Today our Youth in Development team took advantage of a special opportunity to work with PC Guate’s Food Security Coordinator. With her guidance, we helped students from Segundo and Tercero Básico classes (7th & 8th grade) to make tire gardens in the afternoon.

As you can see above, we used a seriously sharp knife to cut handles into the tire and then flipped it inside-out to fill it with sticks, a piece of tarp, and a mix of soil, sand, and compost. Students chose organic seeds from a variety of native vegetables (i.e. guicoy, amaranth, onion, chipilín, chia, spinach). One example garden was made with a tire while the rest were prepared in containers the students already had at school. We were able to cut and flip eight tires for future use. 

The activity was truly fun for everyone! Our group had lots of laughs while trying to flip the tire and I believe the message was powerful for the students. By up-cycling old tires and repurposing compressed dirt from containers behind the school, they could engage in more environmentally conscious behaviors and practices. As Trainees, we are now excited to see how an activity like this - that only takes a couple hours to do - can be a great way to facilitate a segue into other topics such as teamwork, responsibility, and sustainability. 

Side note: In Guatemala, there are five Peace Corps Response Volunteers currently serving in the Food Security project in collaboration with USAID and Feed the Future initiative. 

food security Guatemala USAID Feed the Future Peace Corps Volunteers sustainability youth

Today is the first-ever International Day of the Girl Child

The day was established by the the United Nations General Assembly to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face around the world. It’s an occasion for reaching out and educating others about the status of girls and the positive results that can be obtained by investing in them and is a good platform for engaging girls directly and offering them an opportunity to interact with positive role models. 

How did you help empower young women during your Peace Corps service? 

(Source: dayofthegirl.org)

USAID International Day of the Girl Child gender youth Peace Corps girls young women empowerment education equal rights

Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday 

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.

(Source: 5thbday.usaid.gov)

USAID child mortality health youth children