THE MAGAZINE OF THE NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION
Vol. 25, No. 3
Green Living Also in this Issue:
• Peace, Love and African Lingerie • Stomping out Malaria in Africa • Unsung Heroes - Peace Corps host country staff
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A magazine of news and comment about the Peace Corps world
WORLDVIEW Fall 2012
WoRldview adveRTiSIng Partyke Communications firstname.lastname@example.org 540 374 9100 WorldView (ISSN 1047-5338) is published quarterly by the National Peace Corps Association to provide news and comment about communities and issues of the world of serving and returned Peace Corps volunteers. WorldView ÂŠ 1978 National Peace Corps Association. Periodicals postage paid at Washington, D.C. & additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER Pleased send address changes to WorldView magazine National Peace Corps Association 1900 L Street NW, Suite 610 Washington, DC 20036-5002 ADVERTISING Questions regarding advertising should be sent to email@example.com. SUBSCRIPTIONS Magazine subscriptions may be purchased from the National Peace Corps Association by check or credit card. Prices for individuals are $25 and institutions $35 [add $10 for overseas delivery]. Order forms are also available on the NPCA website at www. peacecorpsconnect.org or www.worldviewmagazine.com EDITORIAL POLICY Articles published in the magazine are not intended to reflect the views of the Peace Corps, or those of the National Peace Corps Association, a nonprofit educational membership organization for those whose lives are influenced by Peace Corps. The NPCA is independent of the federal agency, the Peace Corps. EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS Letters to the editor are welcomed. Unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, or other illustrations will be considered. The editors prefer written proposals before receiving original material. Send queries or manuscripts to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to the NPCA address. All inquiries can be addressed to the appropriate person at NPCA by fax at 202 293 7554 or by mail to NPCA, or through the NPCA website at www. peacecorpsconnect.org or www.worldviewmagazine.com
Peace, Love and African Lingerie: How the Peace Corps inspired fair trade lingerieâ€”and our on-air marriage proposal by Ryan Schuette 20 Smart Mob Albania 2012: Peace Corps Volunteers team up with Green Line for Earth Day by Meagen Sassman Waste Not, Want Not: A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer makes a difference in the food industry by Neil Hammond
Tour de Frack: Couple applies Peace Corps lessons to a controversial environmental issue here at home by Jill Perry and Jason Bell
FROM THE PRESIDENT Peace Corps is About People: A farewell reflection by Kevin F. F. Quigley
Photo credit: Mike McGregor
published by the National Peace Corps Association
Erica Burman, editor
YOUR TURN Readers Write Us 12 AROUND THE NPCA Peace Corps Connect: Minneapolis 2012: The Peace Corps community comes together by Erica Burman
Group News Highlights: A look at what NPCA member groups are up to by Erica Burman
Global House Parties 2012: Helping Find the 250K by Molly Mattessich
Groups Honored with Loret Miller Ruppe Award: Friends of Tanzania and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer of Washington, D.C. share spotlight by Erica Burman
WoRldView Kevin F. F. Quigley, publisher
Volume 25 Number 3
COVER A Sustainable Harvest International Panama Field Trainer works with a rural farmer to harvest rice from his organic rice paddy. Photo credit: Ana Jackson, SHI
www.worldviewmagazine.com WorldView Fall 2012
A magazine of news and comment about the Peace Corps world
WORLDVIEW Fall 2012
Volume 25 Number 3
THE PUBLISHER The publisher of WorldView magazine is the National Peace Corps Association, a national network of returned Peace Corps volunteers, former staff and friends. The NPCA is a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) educational and service organization which is independent of the federal agency, the Peace Corps.
published by the National Peace Corps Association ADVISORY COUNCIL
COMMENTARY & OPINION Tangible Impact: Volunteers pursue medical school post-Peace Corps 30 by Sarah Kana The Education of an Activist: By stepping out of the shadows, an RPCV affects change and reconnects by Karestan Koenen
The Unsung Heroes of Peace Corps: Host country national staff play a pivotal role by JoAnna Haugen
BUZZ FROM THE FIELD Stomping out Malaria in Africa: A new Peace Corps initiative is rewriting how Peace Corps Volunteers collaborate by Christopher Hedrick
LETTERS FROM… Letter from Borneo Don’t Shout in Triumph Until the Head is Taken by Erik Jensen
PROFILES IN SERVICE Florence Reed, 2012 Shriver Award Winner: A Returned Volunteer dedicates her life to sustainable livelihoods in Central America by Erica Burman
GIVING BACK by JoAnna Haugen
COMMUNITY NEWS Edited by JoAnna Haugen
WorldView Fall 2012
White House Photo by Pete Souza
Next Step Travel Program Launched: Travel in the company of the best travelers by Molly Mattessich
Making Agriculture Cool: A look at Africa Rural Connect and how it is impacting African agriculture by Christine Smith
Lauren Arnold, RPCV Cambodia
Carol Bellamy President and CEO World Learning Ron Boring Former Vice President Vodafone Japan Nicholas Craw President, Automobile Competition Committee for the U.S. Sam Farr Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives, California John Garamendi Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives, California Mark Gearan President Hobart & William Smith Colleges Tony Hall Former Member of U.S. House of Representatives, Ohio Former U.S. Ambassador to Food and Agriculture Organization Sandra Jaffee Former Executive Vice President Citigroup Wilber E. James Chairman The Rockport Group Roland Johnson Former Executive Director The Grundy Foundation John Y. Keffer Chairman Atlantic Fund Administration Virginia Kirkwood Owner/Director Shawnee Holdings, Inc. Richard M. Krieg President and CEO The Horizon Foundation Kenneth Lehman Chairman Emeritus Winning Workplaces C. Payne Lucas Senior Advisor AllAfrica Foundation Dennis Lucey Vice President TKC Global Bruce McNamer Former President Lucasfilms John E. Riggan Chairman Emeritus TCC Group Mark Schneider Senior Vice President, Special Adviser on Latin America International Crisis Group Donna Shalala President, University of Miami Paul Slawson Former CEO, InterPacific Co. F. Chapman Taylor Senior Vice President and Research Director Capital International Research Inc.
Joan Timoney Director for Advocacy and External Relations Women’s Refugee Commission Harris Wofford Former U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania
BOARD OF diRectoRS Tony Barclay Chair Patricia A. Wand Vice Chair Janet Greig Treasurer Gary Schulze Secretary Kevin F. F. Quigley President, ex officio Jane Bardon Jayne Booker Harris Bostic II Teresa Devore Priscilla Goldfarb James Gore Robert Graulich Steve Groff Darryl N. Johnson Sharon Keld Wendy Lee Tim McCollum Kristina Owens Mike Peter Kate Schachter Group Leader Coordinator, ex officio Joby Taylor
Staff Kevin F. F. Quigley President Anne Baker Vice President, Staff Liaison to Board Emily Bello Coordinator of Member Services & Operations Erica Burman Communications Director Molly Mattessich Manager of Online Initiatives Jonathan Pearson Advocacy Coordinator Adrienne McCloud Membership and Development Assistant Consultants Alison Beckwith Media Lollie Commodore Finance JoAnna Haugen Alumni News Editor INTERNS Zulay Carillo Sarah Kana Christine Smith
National Peace Corps Association
Change Our World. These words are much more than the Clark University motto. They are a rallying cry that inspires our community every day. Whether researching alternative energy resources, improving labor practices in developing countries, or forming unique collaborations, our faculty and students continually develop new ways of thinking and acting that have impact on the lives – and livelihoods – of people throughout the world.
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From the President
PEACE CORPS IS ABOUT PEOPLE A farewell reflection by Kevin F. F. Quigley
’ve heard from many Peace Corps community members that the most memorable thing about their Volunteer service is the people, those with whom they worked, lived and served. That is certainly true for my Peace Corps Volunteer experience, and equally so during these past nine years as the National Peace Corps Association’s president. While it is not possible to mention everyone in this column, these individuals are representative of the thousands of others with whom I’ve had the privilege to collaborate in pursuit of our shared goals. I am truly fortunate to work with great board and advisory council members, dedicated colleagues, committed group leaders, and myriad friends and supporters of the Peace Corps. My chairs—Pat Riley, Ken Hill, Jan Guifarro, and Tony Barclay—are all RPCVs, passionate about volunteer service, knowledgeable about the world, and strategic thinkers who make a difference. Each of them taught me a great deal. I am lucky to have an advisory council of sagacious individuals who give freely of their time, talent and treasure to assist NPCA. These advisors are a fount of ideas and encouragement regarding how best to move NPCA forward in ways that promote the timeless Peace Corps values of service and understanding. Among this inspiring group of advisors are Harris Wofford, Carol Bellamy, Nick Craw, Mark Gearan, Dennis Lucey, Wilber James, Gordon Radley, Mark Schneider, and the late and much missed Kevin O’Donnell. Bob Pastor, a Shriver awardee, helped 6
WorldView Fall 2012
arrange a transformative gift to NPCA and offered tireless support along the way. I owe a special debt of gratitude to the “Bay Area Troika” of advisors— Ron Boring, Chuck Frankel and Paul (and Mary) Slawson—who hosted numerous events and encouraged me to think strategically in most compelling ways. “Cousin Ginny Kirkwood” is another advisor who always supported me. Ginny is perhaps our community’s most generous host, opening her home to anyone who shares the Peace Corps’ values. Another invaluable advisor without any formal role but full of great advice and encouragement is Alex Shakow, the last Peace Corps Director in Indonesia until its return after a 45year hiatus. One thing that is truly distinctive about so many individuals in the NPCA world is their Peace Corps experience led them to a life of service. Each day they continue to answer Sargent Shriver’s timeless exhortation to “serve, serve, serve.” This commitment to service is exemplified by people like Bruce Anderson, Carolyn Kari, Susan Neyer and Angene Wilson, who after long-term and dedicated service as group leaders and NPCA Board members, continue to stay engaged with NPCA as advisors and Board committee members. I am also so fortunate to have a remarkable group of past and present board members who are passionate about the Peace Corps. So many have helped NPCA and me, but I want to especially recognize and publically thank Janet (and Wylie) Greig, Jayne Booker, Priscilla Goldfarb, Don (and Kae) Dakin, Kate Schachter, Mike Peter, Bob and Judith Terry, Dave Magnani, Billy (and Georgia) Delano, Pat Wand, Anna Whitcomb, Mike (and
Ann) Moore, Joby Taylor and Bob (and Scotty) Graulich. All that we accomplished would not have been possible without the support of grant-makers who value the Peace Corps experience. Especially critical to our success is Stephen Heintz at Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Arlene Mitchell at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Tom Scanlon from the Public Welfare Foundation, as well as the Marpat, Morgan Family, and Longview Foundations and the amazing RPCV Madison/Wisconsin group. Our success is built through the effort of a community of dynamic groups in the NPCA network, among the more remarkable are RPCV/w, NorCal and innovative country of service groups like Colombia, Dominican Republic, Morocco, Liberia, and Burkina Faso. Entrepreneurial community members like Meg Garlinghouse and Sherwood Guernsey also provided thoughtful support leading to strengthening our Internet platform and ability to use new media. I am especially indebted to the path breaking work of Lex Rieffel, John Bridgeland, Steve Rosenthal, David Caprara, Helen Claire Sievers, Matt Clausen and many others who raised the profile of service on the national agenda and together established the Building Bridges Coalition to improve the quality, quantity and impact from Americans who volunteer internationally. Over the past nine years, there have been lots of changes here at NPCA: in addition to a restructuring of the board and our programs, we moved twice, although always in the same building; we shifted from print-based to virtually exclusive electronic publications; we went through multiple websites and National Peace Corps Association
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National Peace Corps Association President Kevin Quigley, on a recent trip to the Dominican Republic. three databases; we co-organized the largest independent survey of why individuals volunteer and what impact that had; and we began to develop new social media, including a weekly #RPCVChat on Twitter. We created Africa Rural Connect, an innovative online platform that blends on-theground knowledge of Africans, Peace Corps Volunteers and Africa scholars to communicate with and respond to the needs of African farmers. We also developed an advocacy program that has had singular accomplishments: helping secure the largest appropriation in the Peace Corpsâ€™s history, keeping Peace Corps and military recruitment separate, and laying the foundation for a possible commemorative to the values of the Peace Corps near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. On this commemorative project, I 8
WorldView Fall 2012
am privileged to work with Bonnie Gottlieb and Roger Lewis, as well as earlier with Gordon Radley and Aaron Williams (before he became the 18th Peace Corps Director). My spouse, Susan L. Q. Flaherty, helped conceive this idea and did all the pro bono legal work to establish The Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation, as well as for numerous other projects that enormously benefited NPCA. For all our advocacy work, NPCA is fortunate to have a group of RPCVs serving in the Congress who have been tireless champions for the Peace Corps. They include Sam Farr, John Garamendi, Mike Honda, and Tom Petri, and recently retired members like Chris Dodd, Steve Driehaus, Chris Shays and Jim Walsh. Our advocacy successes would not be possible without them and the RPCV Hill staff, along
with other keen advocates for the Peace Corps including Nita Lowey, Betty McCollum, Bob Menedez, Johnny Isakson, Roger Portman and Mark Udall. I am fortunate to have worked with three dedicated Peace Corps Directors: Gaddi Vasquez, Ron Tschetter and Aaron Williams. While we might not always agree, I think we always understood that we all had the best interests of the Peace Corps and its Volunteers in mind. I am especially fortunate to have worked closely with two Deputy Directors and Acting Directors, each representing a remarkable legacy. Jody Olsen held virtually every job in the Peace Corps: Volunteer, country director, regional director, chief of staff, deputy director and acting director. Carrie HesslerRadelet, along with her husband Steve, National Peace Corps Association
Things to know about the Monterey Institute: •
We offer preferential scholarship consideration to all RPCVs.
At any one time, there are usually 50 students at the Monterey Institute who are RPCVs.
We rank third in the nation for Peace Corps Master’s International participation.
We offer the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program in International Policy Studies, Public Administration, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, MBA in International Management, and International Environmental Policy.
Twelve members of the faculty and staff are RPCVs.
There is an active Peace Corps Club on campus.
Dr. Beryl Levinger, Chair of the Public Administration program, was the founder of the Fellows Program in 1985.
The late Monterey Institute professor, Peter Grothe, created the name Peace Corps while working in the Kennedy Administration.
Be the Solution – again. ®
International Business (MBA) • International Environmental Policy • Public Administration (MPA) • International Policy Studies • International Education Management • Nonproliferation & Terrorism Studies • Conference Interpretation Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) • Teaching Foreign Language • Translation • Translation & Interpretation Translation & Localization Management • Peace Corps Master’s International • Peace Corps Fellows
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is part of the Peace Corps’ first fourgeneration family. Our Encore partners, Russ Morgan, Bill Reese, John Riggan, Tom Fox, Jerr Boschee and Chris Klose, developed an organization for tapping into the pool of RPCVs to provide highlyskilled, culturally relevant, shortterm professional capacity-building assistance. In the fall of 2010, they asked NPCA to administer this intriguing international service program that is now morphing into our Next Step Travel Program. In this farewell, I would be remiss in failing to mention perhaps the most important people in the Peace Corps community: host country nationals. For me, one of the highlights of the recent 50th anniversary events was the chance to share the spotlight with them. One way this was done was through an inspiring panel moderated by the first Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers. These global leaders discussed the Peace Corps’
impact on their lives and countries and included former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo and Afghan Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani. NPCA is especially indebted to His Excellency Atiku Abubakar who recently endowed an annual Peace Corps Global Leaders Lecture that will enable a host country national to provide a keynote speech at our Annual Gatherings. NPCA is especially fortunate to have a group of stellar consultants, who aren’t (yet) RPCVs, but all are fiercely committed to the organization and its mission. These include Alison Beckwith, Lollie Commodore, Dan Drumheller and his Mercury colleagues (who publish this magazine), Sue Partyke and her colleagues, and Infamia’s Ernesto Gluecksmann and Mickey Panayiotakis. A special thanks to Ed Krauland and his team at Steptoe & Johnson LLP for providing invaluable pro bono assistance on numerous critical projects. Also to
You wanted to serve the public good, not serve the public food.
master in teaching master of public administration master of environmental studies www.evergreen.edu/graduate
WorldView Fall 2012
Merrill Rose and Bill Novelli, as well as Harry Barrett and Bryan Laychak of Synethics for pro bono thoughtful assistance with planning that made NPCA better. My colleagues and I have been able to accomplish so much because we have had such great support from committed volunteers like Will Garneau, Harriet Lipowitz, and Natalie and Mike Hall, and energetic interns like Susan Stine, Sarah Kana, Christine Smith, Zulay Carrillo, Chloe Hedden and so many that have gone before them. It is especially gratifying to see so many NPCA interns go on to be great Peace Corps Volunteers like Ravi Shah, Jon Schmidt, and Sarah Singletary. If young people come to work with NPCA to explore their interest in the Peace Corps, and then become outstanding Volunteers, my colleagues and I must be doing something right. Of course, the real unsung heroes of NPCA’s success are my remarkable colleagues: Anne Baker, Emily Bello, Erica Burman, Khalisa Jacobs, Kim Matranga, Adrienne McCloud, Molly Mattessich, and Jonathan Pearson, as well as former colleagues David Arnold, Joseph Permetti, Matt Marek, Elise Reuschenberg Lambert, Bonnie Robinson, and Stephanie Jowers. In exemplary Peace Corps spirit, they always go the extra mile and relentlessly improvise to make sure that important things get done in ways that advance what is best about the Peace Corps. While this is my last column in WorldView, I am very fortunate that this is not my last Peace Corps experience. I very much look forward to reading WorldView as the Peace Corps Country Director in Thailand, where I was a Volunteer many years ago privileged to work with the Thai people who gave me so much and who I have never forgotten. Thank you to all who understand the Peace Corps’s importance and support NPCA’s efforts to promote its values and experiences. With heartfelt gratitude and very best wishes, Kevin F. F. Quigley Thailand, 1976-1979 National Peace Corps Association
“Fletcher prepared me to rapidly synthesize the economic, legal and political aspects of an issue and communicate U.S. foreign policy at warp speed.” -Victoria Esser, MALD ‘99, Deputy Assistant Secretary Digital Strategy, Department of State
In 2011, Victoria Esser was appointed to oversee the Department of State’s flagship social media, broadcast and web operations in support of Secretary Clinton’s 21st Century Statecraft agenda. As innovation drives us toward a more interconnected world, Fletcher graduates stand poised to address complex global challenges. The Fletcher School’s collaborative, cross-disciplinary approach to international affairs, combined with a student body and faculty representing more than half of the world’s nations and 100 spoken languages, brings the most pressing issues to life in a truly global context. Experience the world at Fletcher. Contribute to the world with Fletcher. Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) Master of International Business (MIB) Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP) Master of Laws in International Law (LLM)
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zoo keeping, through the eyes of peace. It is very hopeful and exciting to see such peace academies, local peace councils, and other elements of civil society and governmental infrastructures for building peace springing up at local as well as national levels in both developed and developing countries all around the world. Rwanda, Nepal, Costa Rica, the Philippines, Canada, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and New Zealand are just a few examples; there are many more. Mike Abkin Nigeria, 1966-1968
our Summer 2012 issue on peacebuilding provided a very timely and welcome perspective on the ultimate “peace” aim of the Peace Corps. Sargent Shriver was quoted in Kevin Quigley’s editorial as saying that “peace is much more than the mere absence of war.” It is much more even than the absence of violence. The Earth Charter defines peace as “the wholeness created by right relationships with oneself, other persons, other cultures, other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which all are a part.” It is the fostering of those right relationships that underlies all three goals of the Peace Corps. The Earth Charter definition of peace also forms the basis and organizing principle of the programs of the National Peace Academy, which partners with civil society, business, and government (including the U.S. Institute of Peace) in the United States, and networks around the world, to help bring out the inner peacebuilder in everyone, so that everyone does whatever it is he or she does, from A to Z, from accounting to 12
WorldView Fall 2012
In her article “Witchcraft in Ghana” (Worldview vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 27-29) Emmaline Repp is understandably concerned that witchcraft beliefs should be so pervasive in Ghana in the 21st century; but in her first sentence she answers her own question: it is, indeed, a “deep seated belief.” What she has described for her areas in fact is a complex belief system nearly universal in sub-Saharan Africa today. Witches are real to the people, and their reality is affirmed daily. Misfortune, disease, sudden death, and infant mortality, are commonly ascribed to witchcraft. Early AIDS workers in Africa were trained to emphasize that witchcraft is not to blame for this terrible disease. Almost identical to witch beliefs elsewhere in the world, and the Evil Eye in the Middle East and North Africa, this evil power is vested in people—and this is a key reason for its persistence. It is stimulated by negative emotions. It is particularly prevalent among village people who cannot escape the inevitable social tensions generated by close community life; it is significant that witch beliefs are absent among nomadic pastoralists and hunter-gatherers. And,
it invariably intensifies during times of hardship and social anxiety. The witchcraft power can leave the body of its human host and fly out to work mischief, either sent by its bearer or under its own volition, without its bearer’s knowledge. No sane person wants to be suspected of witchcraft; if the fingers of the community point toward one, confession may be advisable, and is the first step in a ritual of exorcism. In traditional times, the power developed as the individual matured; children were favorite victims of witches, but they, being innocent, were rarely suspected. A paradox of modernity is that well-meaning fundamentalist Christian missionaries, certain that Satan has been particularly active in Africa, have been instrumental in the creation of child-witches; in many African cities, Christian families have subjected their children to painful exorcisms and, if evidence of satanic influence persists, have expelled them into the streets. As many anthropologists have pointed out, witchcraft is not incompatible with science or modern religion. It provides logical and credible explanations for problems. Ms. Repp’s final optimism is admirable, but she should be prepared for its failure; witchcraft beliefs will be very slow to change. I have studied this problem since I was first introduced to it as a PCV in Nigeria, 1963-66, and I am now writing a book that I hope will be a comprehensives explication—and explanation—of this phenomenon, not just in African but worldwide. I will be glad to communicate with any who would like further discussion… Phil Stevens Associate Professor of Anthropology, SUNY at Buffalo Nigeria 1963-1966 firstname.lastname@example.org National Peace Corps Association
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Around the NPCA
Peace Corps Connect: Minneapolis 2012 The Peace Corps community comes together by Erica Burman All Photos NPCA
“…this conference made me feel like I’d come home.” “I left the Minneapolis feeling inspired and regained a sense of purpose that I haven’t felt in a long while.” “I really hoped to get a lot out of the weekend and I wasn’t disappointed.”
“I had a good time seeing old friends and reconnecting to what the NPCA is doing these days.”
hese are just a few of the early comments we’ve gotten about Peace Corps Connect: Minneapolis 2012, our first of what will be annual gatherings of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) community. Born out of National Peace Corps Association’s successful 50th anniversary events last fall, which drove home the point that there’s just nothing like getting a large group of RPCVs together in the same place, Peace Corps Connect: Minneapolis 2012 (or #PCCMN12, as it was known on Twitter) came together with a relatively short lead time. Nonetheless, over 200 RPCVs participated in the event, which ran from Friday, June 29 to Sunday, July 1 at the Convention Center in downtown Minneapolis, Minn. Things got started with a very well attended opening ceremony luncheon. NPCA President Kevin Quigley welcomed RPCVs from around the country and introduced the first speaker, Peace Corps Chief of Staff Stacy Rhodes (Bolivia 68-70). He was followed by outgoing NPCA board member Bruce McNamer (Paraguay 90-92), CEO of Technoserve, who spoke on how the creation of businesses by entrepreneurial men and women in developing countries is providing jobs, income and economic opportunity for communities. He also talked about the role that his Peace Corps experience played in his own career path, most notably coming 14
WorldView Fall 2012
away with “a weird comfort with ambiguity.” It was a point to which everyone in the room could relate. Attendees then moved into breakout sessions on a variety of topics, including: What next? Peace Corps Products into Businesses with RPCV Tim McCollum; How to start a nonprofit with RPCV Brian Singer; and Career Transitions with RPCV Louise Stenberg. Country of service groups also held update meetings. Between sessions, RPCVs circulated through the Exhibit Hall, where booths from RPCV organizations, non-profits, universities, Peace Corps and the NPCA were located. Among those represented were the Farmer-to-Farmer program and Colorado State’s Global and Sustainable Enterprise MBA. NPCA board members were on hand to chat at a specially designated table. A steady
Henna painting at the Friends of Morocco booth.
New board members Tim McCollum, Kristina Owens and Wendy Lee chat with NorCal President, Will Spargur. National Peace Corps Association
Solar cookstove demonstration.
The Next Step Travel taste.
Peace Corp Chief of Staff Stacy Rhodes (second from left) meets Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.
flow of people stopped by the Next Step Travel booth, NPCA’s exciting new alumni service travel program, to learn about upcoming trips to Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. In the evening many RPCVs split off for small local meet-ups in the Minneapolis area. For example, the Friends of Nigeria held a Nigerian dinner attended by mostly NigerianAmericans. Others joined members of NPCA’s Director’s Circle for a sunset cruise on the Mississippi River. As a special treat, Congresswoman Betty McCollum—a staunch Peace Corps supporter on Capitol Hill—joined us on board before we set sail. Noting her state’s strong Peace Corps connection, she welcomed the gathered RPCVs to the state. Rep. McCollum isn’t an RPCV—yet—but she does have four RPCVs on her staff. She praised NPCA’s Advocacy Director Jonathan Pearson and the legions of RPCVs who have made their voices heard on the Hill during our Advocacy Days, in District Office meetings and through
Continued on page 35
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WorldView Fall 2012
Around the NPCA
GROUP NEWS HIGHLIGHTS A look at what NPCA member groups are up to
ver 100 RPCVs and guests are departing for Ethiopia on September 23, 2012 on a 50th anniversary return trip organized by the Friends of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Upon arrival the group will be in the capital Addis Ababa for a series of meetings and receptions with Ethiopian hosts and the current Peace Corps group. Afterwards, members will travel to their Peace Corps host sites. http://www.ethiopiaeritrearpcvs.org/ Friends of Morocco and Peace Corps/Morocco celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Peace Corps in Morocco on Memorial Day weekend. About 150 people congregated at the Peace Corps office in Rabat to hear updates on the Peace Corps program in Morocco and panel discussions on Moroccan-American relations from the government side (U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the MoroccanAmerican Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (MACECE)) and the non-governmental side (AMIDEAST, High Atlas Foundation, Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM),
CorpsAfrica, and the Moroccan Association of Sister Cities International). Participants included past and present Peace Corps/ Morocco staff, about 35 RPCVs returning for the event, Moroccan counterparts and the American community in Friends of Morocco celebrate 50 years. Morocco. By coincidence a new cohort of 110 youth and community development volunteers were sworn 2,400 girls entering primary school in the Wednesday before. Among through the Lambs Support Girls’ the participants were Morocco 1 Education Project. FBF has also Volunteers, Ann Puddu and Jerry supported the noon meal project at the David, who had started their training Lycee Modern de l’Amitie for the past in 1962. http://friendsofmorocco.org/ six years; and through the generous The Government of Burkina Faso support of the Milton and Beatrice recognized the commitment of the Wind Foundation and the Foundation Friends of Burkina Faso (FBF) to of American Women’s Clubs Overseas, the education of girls in the Northern the group has provided scholarships to Region during regional Independence 20 girls for post-secondary education Day celebrations in Ouaghigouya on and training over the past two years. December 11. RPCV Suzanne Plopper NEEED’s success is seen in the very accepted a medal (Ordre du Merite) positive change in the numbers of girls on behalf of FBF for its fundraising entering school, and in the increased efforts for the education of village girls interest of parents in the education of through NEEED. Over the past ten their daughters. years, FBF has supported approximately http://fbf.tamu.edu/
GLOBAL HOUSE PARTIES 2012 Helping Find the 250K by Molly Mattessich
his year’s Global House Parties support the National Peace Corps Association’s “Find the 250K Campaign.” On September 22, hosts opened their homes to welcome the Peace Corps community and celebrate the 51st anniversary of the signing of the Peace 16
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Corps Act. Some parties were catered affairs with more than 50 attendees. Others consisted of a few friends coming together in an apartment for a potluck dinner. By 2016, the Association wants to locate every current and returned Peace Corps Volunteer, as well as current and
former Peace Corps staff, and getting together with friends and neighbors at the 2012 Global House Parties was a perfect way to meet new Volunteers! There is still time to donate to the campaign and to check out the Global House Party photos on our website. National Peace Corps Association
Friends of Morocco
by Erica Burman
Around the NPCA
GROUPS HONORED WITH LORET MILLER RUPPE AWARD Friends of Tanzania and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. share the spotlight by Erica Burman
he National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) presents the Loret Miller Ruppe Award— named for the 10th and longest serving Peace Corps Director—to an outstanding member group for a project or projects that promote the Third Goal of the Peace Corps or continue to serve host countries, build group spirit and cooperation, and promote service. This year, NPCA awarded the Ruppe Award to member groups Friends of Tanzania and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. “Among the 146 groups in NPCA’s network, Friends of Tanzania and the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. have truly done
outstanding work this past year to advance the mission of the Peace Corps, especially related to the “Bringing the World Home” or Third Goal,” says NPCA President Kevin Quigley. “They show the tremendous impact that Returned Peace Corps Volunteers continue to have, especially when they join their talents together.” Each year, Friends of Tanzania sends approximately $30,000 for 10 to 15 projects and an additional $15,000 for specific member-designated projects. In the last 20 years, FOT has sent $350,000 to help support over 250 community development projects on Tanzania. Projects include simple water/sanitation systems, school construction, community reforestation efforts, micro-loans,
beehive activities, and many more. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. (RPCV/w) hosts an annual holiday party that serves as the group’s only annual fundraising event. Board members raise funds through a silent auction, private donations, ticket sales, and calendar sales, donating a significant portion of the funds to a community partner. In 2012, RPCV/w awarded $2,000 donation to Language ETC, a language, education and technology center for low-income adult immigrants in Washington, D.C. More information about the current and past Ruppe Award winners can be found at http://www.peacecorpsconnect. org/about/awards/#miller.
WE KNOW GLOBAL SERVICE IS NOT A MOMENT. IT’S A MINDSET.
WorldView Fall 2012
Around the NPCA
MAKING AGRICULTURE COOL A look at Africa Rural Connect and how it is impacting African agriculture by Christine Smith
ow does a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer “serve” during their lunch break? Africa Rural Connect. This novel platform created nearly three years ago by the National Peace Corps Association continues to amplify the best ideas for agriculture in Africa while also making the world a little more “green,” too. Africa Rural Connect is the only online platform of its kind built to connect African farmers, the African Diaspora, Peace Corps Volunteers, and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) to one another to discuss agriculture in Africa. The platform focuses on four agriculture-related topic areas—agribusiness, communication, post-harvest losses, and water resources. Ideas within these categories pertain to specific topics, including environmental sustainability and green businesses and products. An example is Sovhen Uganda’s “Design and Construct a Solar Powered Water Pumping System for Irrigation,” which focuses on creating a reliable and cost-effective solar-powered pump that can be used by farmers for irrigating their crops. By posting ideas on Africa Rural Connect, members hope to spread the word about their ideas and receive funding from either other members or by winning Africa Rural Connect contests. From April 13-May 31, 2012, Africa Rural Connect’s Young Farmers Idea Contest encouraged African Diaspora and Volunteers to share their ideas for new ways to engage youth from subSaharan Africa. The contest received over 200 idea submissions that proposed educational projects, communitybuilding initiatives, social programs, and other farming and agriculture-centered methods to inspire youth participation in agriculture. After ideas were submitted, members remixed and endorsed their favorite ones and then the top 10 were 18
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placed on the contest’s leaderboard. The top 10 ideas were then sent to the contest judges who chose their top three ideas. In first place was Rachel Zedeck’s idea “KUZA Doctor – A Farmer’s Mobile Toolkit from Farm to Fork.” An idea that connects doctors and farmers through their mobile phones, KUZA Doctor, according to Zedeck, will “support farmers using the most basic mobile phones with critical knowledge to increase their rates of production and subsequent incomes while learning the value of local biodiversity and conservation farming.” Zedeck and The KUZA Doctor team, known as Backpack Farm, even plans to create and release a smart phone option, which they hope to make public in the near future with the help of Zedeck’s $5,000 prize. James Makini’s second place idea “One Hen Campaign” provides a micro-loan of a local hen and cage to approved women and youth and then helps each participant learn about poultry management, entrepreneurship, agribusiness, financial management, adaptation to climate change, and value chains. James said that his $2,500 prize will be used “as a revolving fund where we will buy and rear more indigenous hens which we will in turn lend to youths and women to multiply further.” James additionally remarked that some of the funds would also go towards publicizing the One Hen Campaign through social media. Finally, in third place was Benson Mariki’s “Terrat Primary School Lunch Program in Partnership with Terrat Ward, Arusha Region.” Benson lives in Arusha, Tanzania, and his idea focused on preventing children from going hungry while at school. His plan will be implemented through the Arusha, Tanzania-based nonprofit The Green Living Project, which will provide a sustainable school lunch program by helping Tanzanian schools grow
Grand prize winner Rachel Zedeck (right) meets with NPCA’s Molly Mattessich (left) in Washington, D.C.
Second place winner James Makini inspects the construction of hen cages before distribution.
Third place winner Benson Mariki (right) helps a local community leader plant a “keyhole garden.” African-style “keyhole gardens.” With his $1,000 contest prize, Benson plans to add the Baraa Primary School garden project to his lunch program. Even though each winning idea varies considerably from the another, all share a common beginning. Because the winners chose to post their ideas on Africa Rural Connect, each idea not only reached a wider audience through the Africa Rural Connect platform, but also was able National Peace Corps Association
to generate enough “buzz” to receive funding. By being awarded prize money for their ideas, the winners, consequently will be better able to implement their ideas, thereby positively impacting local communities. Africa Rural Connect prize money does more than help an idea grow; it makes the possibility of agricultural success for both African individuals and communities a reality. This past July, Africa Rural Connect project manager Molly Mattessich was invited to speak at the U.S. Secretary of State’s Global Diaspora Forum. Word is getting out—if you haven’t yet created a profile, you should, and soon you’ll see how you can start making a difference. Endorse an idea and create your own profile at www.AfricaRuralConnect.org. Christine Smith recently received her B.A. in Political Science and two minors in African Studies and Anthropology from Boston University and will be starting her M.A. in African Studies this fall at UCLA. This summer she is working as the Africa Rural Connect intern.
NEXT STEP TRAVEL PROGRAM LAUNCHED Travel in the company of the best travelers
by Molly Mattessich
any of us take advantage of a short vacation with a group of fellow Volunteers during our Peace Corps service or a few months after COS. Now, you can take a trip with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers again! Next Step Travel is an educational travel program that features cultural experiences, hands-on service projects and new overseas adventures for the Peace Corps Community. Each carefully planned 10 to 14 day trip contains components that a Peace Corps Volunteer would love. The Dominican Republic and Guatemala are the first stops so that you can build a “bottle school,” paint a world map, hike through waterfalls and interact with Recycled Bottle locals while exploring the culture of remote towns. (Stay tuned for news about future trips to other Peace construction. Corps countries in 2013-2014). Space is limited to 20 guests on each trip, so be sure to register early. http://Travel.PeaceCorpsConnect.org
ESTHER BENJAMIN, MA ‘92 Associate Director for Global Operations, Peace Corps • White House Fellow • Humanitarian Affairs Officer, United Nations • Vice President, International Youth Foundation • Manager, Grant Thornton • Research Analyst, Brookings Institution & The World Bank
Our interdisciplinary curriculum prepares graduates committed to global service across sectors.
WorldView Fall 2012
PEACE, LOVE AND AFRICAN LINGERIE How the Peace Corps inspired fair-trade lingerie—and our on-air marriage proposal by Ryan Schuette
WorldView Fall 2012
Tara, celebrating the completion of a water well in Bandzuidjong, Cameroon, as a Peace Corps Volunteer. of child labor at a fair-trade farm in Burkina Faso that contracted with Victoria’s Secret. We went online to search for certified-fair intimate apparel, only to learn that not one label operates stateside. Tara was shocked. “How is it that we live in a country where something like the Peace Corps can exist, but companies feel comfortable selling to women without doing their part?” I remember her saying. A Google search brought up the blog for one determined bridesmaid who lamented about how she had to split the cost of a fair-trade nightie from Britain three ways just to cover shipping and handling for the bride. And that’s when “do-good” lingerie clicked for us. Why couldn’t women purchase their intimate apparel with purpose? Tara and I realized we could do all that we’d done before in an entirely new, sustainable, and electrifying way. After filing papers for a Limited Liability Corporation, we chose to christen our company Cherie Amie.
s co-owners of a lingerie company, my fiancée, Tara Smith, 26, and I don’t fit the stereotype for people you’d find on a “who’s who” list for the intimate apparel industry. For starters, we buy from Goodwill and shy away from malls. We’re still learning about trade shows, only recently started following Kim Kardashian on Twitter, and can’t keep up with conversations about Fashion Runway. Our typical evening revolves around to-do lists, which we strike through with glee in our cramped home office, surrounded by pictures of Tara and me with stone-faced tribesmen for whom the name Victoria most likely refers to a nineteenth-century British monarch. The fact that we both discovered ourselves in sub-Saharan Africa makes our introduction to the fashion world even less likely. Tara taught with the Peace Corps for two years in Cameroon, where—true to form for a Volunteer— she dug water wells, hosted her own radio show, and even picked up a title of nobility. I served as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Uganda, moonlighting as a journalist and helping launch a fair-trade apparel company. Neither of us felt like we had much to celebrate about the U.S. intimate apparel industry. With a global market that Citi found reaching $29 billion in 2010, we felt luxury wear like intimate apparel could and should do more, especially when those numbers stand side-by-side World Bank figures that estimate 1.4 billion people lived on less than $1.25 a day before the recession. Tara sometimes bought from bigger brands, but we always felt empty with our purchases. Our unease with the industry came to a head in December last year when Bloomberg News uncovered reports
Ryan, delivering wheelchairs to Ugandans with polio as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. “Every woman needs a dear friend,” Tara later told me. We chose a threetiered business model that affirms fair conditions and wages for our artisans in Cameroon, deploys 100 percent of its profits to fund micro-loans for women in poverty, and finances development projects via her nonprofit. Neither of us questioned that we National Peace Corps Association
wanted to base our lingerie operations in Africa. After drawing up designs for a baby doll, teddy, romper, and two pairs of panties, we went through Tara’s extensive network in Cameroon to secure a group of committed artisans. A handful of Peace Corps Volunteers in the area picked up our lingerie patterns, oversaw quality control with the artisans, and mailed the prototypes back to us through visiting friends and family. The entire experience allowed Tara to revisit her nostalgia for the Peace Corps in a powerfully new, synergistic way. Several months later, in July, we kicked off a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo.com to raise $15,000 in seed money for our “do-good” intimate apparel, with a profile that prompts funders to back us in exchange for perks like lingerie and calendars. Our 37-second teaser video features Our Fair Ladies, a trio of all-volunteer models from Dallas committed to our social impact goals. Once we reach our goal, Tara will fly to Cameroon in October to ramp up production for our lingerie line and return to sell it online in time for the Christmas holiday season. Looking back on it, we have much for which to thank the Peace Corps, me most of all. When we met in college, Tara and I were friends with separate interests. She joined the Peace Corps unsure of her road in 2007 and left, in 2009, feeling in her gut that “every person can make a difference, and every person should try,” as John F. Kennedy once extolled earlier generations. That was the woman I fell in love with nearly four years after we left college. On Valentine’s Day this year, nearly 10 months after we first started dating, I drew upon the Peace Corps one more time by conspiring with a NBC-Dallas reporter to conduct a live interview about her experience. My best friend, business partner, and co-founder told me “Of course!” when, on bended knee, I surprised her with a princess-cut diamond engagement ring. Conflict-free, of course. Ryan Schuette serves as co-founder, with fiancéeTara Smith (Cameroon 07-09), of Cherie Amie (www.besexybuyfair.com). www.PeaceCorpsConnect.org
HOW LINGERIE GIVES BACK Cherie Amie subscribes to three social impact models. 1. Fair Trade Fair trade is a system of exchange that promotes above-market wages and fair conditions for producers in developing countries. Fairtrade-certified companies submit to audits that ensure fair and equal treatment and just management processes.
2. Good Returns Founded by Dallas resident Salah Boukadoum, the Good Returns business model asks companies to use 100 percent of their end-ofyear profits to fund micro-loans for women in poverty. According to the World Bank, nearly 100 percent of borrowers repay their loans every year, assuring that Cherie Amie will regain virtually all of its profits.
3. Peace Tree Africa Cherie Amie will help finance sustainable development projects by contributing 10 percent of its net income to Peace Tree Africa, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit that uses the Peace Corps’ Participatory Analysis for Community Action and subsidizes 75 percent of costs for eligible projects.
It’s not too late to become a doctor The Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program at Bryn Mawr College Realize your dream to become a physician at one of the nation’s oldest, strongest, and most respected postbaccalaureate premedical programs. • For women and men changing career direction • Intensive, full-time preparation for medical school in one year • Highly respected by medical schools—many look for Bryn Mawr postbacs • Over 98 percent acceptance rate into medical school • Early acceptance programs at selected medical schools—more than any other postbac program • Supportive, individual academic and premedical advising • Ideal size—small enough for personal attention, yet large enough for diverse perspectives • Wide range of medically related volunteer and job opportunities and programs
BRYN MAWR COLLEGE
POSTBACCALAUREATE PREMEDICAL PROGRAM Canwyll House | Bryn Mawr, PA 19010 610-526-7350 | email@example.com www.brynmawr.edu/postbac/ WorldView Fall 2012
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Many volunteers return home with a broader, more inclusive world view and a better understanding of international and domestic issues. They go on to volunteer and work in their communities, sharing what they have learned. The RPCVs of Wisconsin–Madison endeavor to promote g oodwill and international understanding through this calendar and other activities. Working together, ties of friendship and collaboration deepen and extend to those who join us and support our efforts. As we learn to listen to each other, and as we honor and celebrate diversity, we believe we are discovering (and following) the path to peace. – RPCVs of Wisconsin–Madison
This Adinkra symbol, ESE NE TEKREMA, the teeth and the tongue, is a symbol of friendship and interdependence. The teeth and the tongue play interdependent roles in the mouth. They may come into conflict, but they need to work together. THE INTERNATIONAL CALENDAR IS A PROJECT OF THE RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS OF WISCONSIN–MADISON WEBSITE www.rpcvcalendar.org EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org 22 WorldView Fall 2012
NEPAL © CHARLES EILERS gabon © CHARLES EILERS botswana © PATTI KOENIG mali © AHN LY
Every year thousands of Americans of all ages leave the familiar comforts of home to become Peace Corps Volunteers and try to make the world a better place. They arrive in their new communities as “strangers,” but they gain acceptance because of their efforts to speak the language and observe local customs and culture. Their hosts may be surprised to learn that meeting Americans one-on-one is quit e different than what they expected. Stereotypes fade as respect and trust grow, laying the groundwork for enduring ties of friendship.
ghana © MARIAN RUGE
p i h s e o i s f T Friend
peru © ALISON HOEMAN
© CHARLES EILERS 2008 COVER PHOTO: GABON
FOLDED CALENDAR SIZE
= 121⁄ 4”x 9 ⁄ 8”
FEATURED PHOTOS & COUNTRIES — 2013 I
National Peace Corps Association
china © MATHILDE VERILLAUD
czech republic © HARLEN PERSINGER
indonesia © JOHN SCHILLING
pakistan © BARBARA JANES
romania © JOHN SCHILLING
argentina © JUSTIN MOG
TRIES — 2013 INTERNATIONAL CALENDAR
More than $1 million donated and still giving! The calendar project also extends ties of friendship by making annual donations to education and community development projects—more than $1 million since 1988. Examples of projects receiving funds are: • clean water • community centers • sanitation projects– latrines & composting toilets • textbooks & teacher training • girls’ education • building schools, libraries & science labs • beekeeping • support for business courses • HIV/AIDS education & rural health clinics • fish farming, chicken coops and seed storage • solar panels for medical clinics
Create more ties of friendship by helping us reach a wider audience for the International Calendar. Order calendars for friends, colleagues and others. Groups get an added bonus by selling calendars at fundraising events that benefit their own projects.
Submit YOUR photos! If you have pictures taken in a country
where Peace Corps Volunteers have served, they qualify for consideration. Quality and visual appeal are important criteria. Each January volunteers in the Madison area view submissions and vote on pictures they’d like to see in the calendar. We’d love to see your photos and learn about the ties of friendship you’ve made while abroad.
PHOTO SUBMISSION GUIDELINES Eligible countries Photos must be from a country where Peace Corps Volunteers have served (past or present). See listing in calendar. Format To qualify, submit a quality 5x7 print or a high-res JPEG from a 5 MP camera or better. Five photos per photographer maximum. Originals can be color prints, digital images or transparencies. Submitted pictures will be retained in an RPCV image library. If your photo is selected, you may be asked to supply your original for use during production. Quality Submit clean, focused images with realistic color. No B&W, framed or mounted photos, or images with dust or scratches will be accepted. Do not touch up or resample digital images. Documentation A completed Photo Form with signed authorization must accompany your entry (see website). For prints, write photographer’s name & country where photo was taken on back of each photo in non-smudging ink. For JPG submissions, file name should be in the format [country/entry#. name]. Example: Morocco1.jsmith. Send an address, phone and e-mail where we can contact you from January to March if you win. Winners Those who submit qualifying images will receive a complimentary calendar, 5 calendars go to small photo winners, and 25 to large photo winners. Mail to
Online to email@example.com
Returned Peace Corp Volunteers of Wisconsin–Madison TEL 608.829.2677 E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Calendar creates long-lasting ties of friendship. To order on-line go to www.rpcvcalendar.org and click on ORDER, or use this form to order by mail.
2013 PRICE LIST QTY
Photo Coordinator, RPCVs of WI–Madison PO Box 1012, Madison WI 53701 ils on website: Complete deta Must be postmarked by December 31 vcalendar.org
6-24 $ 7.00 + $11 SHIPPING PER ORDER* 25-49 $ 6.00 + $13 SHIPPING PER ORDER* 50-99 $ 5.50 + $18 SHIPPING PER 50* 100-299 $ 5.00 + $18 SHIPPING PER 50* 300-499 $ 4.50 + $18 SHIPPING PER 50* 500-999 $ 4.00 + $18 SHIPPING PER 50* 1000+ $ 3.75 + $18 SHIPPING PER 50* * Shipping in continental U.S. only. Contact us for rates to other destinations. ** No credit cards for orders of 1-5 calendars. NO foreign checks or currency. Payment by check preferred. To ensure delivery by the first of the year, place your order by November 15th. For more information: email@example.com
2 013 CA L E N DA R O R D E R
NAME______________________________________________________________________________________ STREET ADDRESS (P.O. Box not allowed) __________________________________________________________ CITY ________________________________________________________STATE _________________________ ZIP __________________ – ____________ PHONE ________________________________________________ E-MAIL ______________________________________
New contact information or first order.
No. ________ calendars x unit cost ____________ =
Shipping charge (see price list) $ ________________
Checks preferred. No foreign checks or currency. TOTAL $ ________________ SEND ORDER & CHECK TO
CHECK ENCLOSED (payable to RPCVs)
Charge my: ■ VISA ■ MASTERCARD
RPCVs of Wisconsin–Madison PO Box 1012 Madison, WI 53701-1012
ACCOUNT NO. ______________________________________________________________________ 3-DIGIT SECURITY CODE (from back of card) _________ EXPIRATION DATE _______________________ NAME ON CARD ________________________________________________________________________
WorldView Fall 2012
SMART MOB ALBANIA 2012 Peace Corps Volunteers team up with Green Line for Earth Day by Meagen Sassman
a villager without a motor vehicle or indoor plumbing using an iPhone to Skype with his grandson on the other side of the world; like a housewife taking a break from churning butter by hand to text her daughter in the capital city; like a midwife using GPS as she travels by donkey to reach an expectant mother; like a boy with no television downloading videos on YouTube at the local cafe. These are a few examples of how technology makes its way into the everyday lives of those near and far, young and old, rich and poor. And this is why it is such an important tool for grassroots development. Grassroots Opportunity Knocking. Because of these realities in Albania, and because of our on-going mission to catalyze change from the bottom up, and because environmental awareness is a major development priority in Albania, and because Earth Day was just around the corner, and because of the indisputable awesomeness associated with a smart mob, Peace Corps Volunteers in Albania came together, considered the idea and said…”Let’s do it!”
Coincidentally, the civil society movement World Cleanup 2012 had recently adopted the motto “Let’s Do It!” for their global effort (www. letsdoitworld.org/node/41400). Green Line Albania, an active partner of World Cleanup 2012, had initiated its own campaign, engaging communities across the country to take part in a nationwide clean up day on September 23rd, 2012. This day, dubbed Ta Pastrojmë Shqipërinë në një Ditë (To Clean Albania in One Day), is a small but crucial piece of Green Line’s endeavor. They are working hard to bring about sustainable improvements through education and empowerment, but in order to be successful, wide spread awareness of the project and its motives are imperative. And what better way to capture the attention of a large audience, and attract people from all walks of life than... a smart mob! Idea to Implementation. The modest beginnings of “Smart Mob: Let’s Do It!” 2012 took shape one cold winter afternoon in the living room of a Peace Corps Volunteer Green Line Albania staff and Peace Corps Albania Volunteers
ikipedia defines a “smart mob” as “a group that, contrary to the usual connotations of a mob, behaves intelligently or efficiently because of its exponentially increasing network links.” Through the use of the latest technology including telecommunications, email, and social media, these groups organize effectively to connect and plan, usually in preparation for a coordinated demonstration or event. The impact of this enhanced communication, coupled with the element of surprise, creates the perfect opportunity for awareness raising. This small idea became a giant platform from which Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) in Albania, working together with an NGO, have launched the most unique environmental awareness campaign in the country’s history. And the work has only just begun. An Albanian Context. Like many developing countries around the world, Albania is a country with many contrasts. The old and the new are constantly blending, sometimes clashing, in interesting and amazing ways—like
With hands waving, signs swaying, and smart mob ‘mobbers’ shouting with pride, the dance routine reaches its peak, and an onlooker snaps a photo of the exciting display. 24
WorldView Fall 2012
National Peace Corps Association
Green Line Albania staff and Peace Corps Albania Volunteers
The Koplik Outdoor Ambassadors club from the Malësi e Madhe region in the northwestern corner of Albania traveled more than 6 hours by bus to take part in the event. The adolescents, along with their American and Albanian chaperones, used homemade signs to promote the smart mob messages to passersby. PCVs Meagen Sassman (bottom left) and her husband John Sassman (top right), along with counterpart Anila Gjolaj (bottom right) celebrate with the group. (PCV) from Arizona. Having several years of experience working in theatre administration, and with GLEE-esque images in her head, she envisioned rhythmic beats of music and high kicks, gjyshas and gjyshis (Albanian for grandmas and grandpas) dancing handin-hand with PCVs, flocks of sheep weaving across in choreographed rows, lights, posters, props and all the other glitz and glam that is warranted for an environmental campaign. Another PCV from Virginia, a born performer, was toying with the smart mob notion as well. Playful “What if?” discussions led to more serious brainstorming, which led to phone calls and emails, role assignments, Gantt charts, meetings with Peace Corps staff, meetings and cooperation with Green Line Albania, Skype dates, and BAM! Just like that, the ball was rolling. Could they pull it off? A clear vision and strong direction were crucial elements. The core group of PCVs leading the way, in collaboration with the environmental crusaders at Green Line, there was no question that this aspect was under control. But an undertaking like a smart mob also needs a dedicated and talented support staff. Sure enough, a team of American PCVs and Albanian partners jumped on board to help plan and prepare, showcasing a plethora of eclectic talents. From music mixing and choreography, to Web design and management, everyone www.PeaceCorpsConnect.org
brought something special. Our group even produced photography and videography experts to capture the event, crafting the “aftershock” awareness-raising strategy that is currently infiltrating the Web. (You can see the video here: http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=wNUOIdyQyHM.) Equally important is the mob itself. Bigger crowd equals louder message, which leads to more attention, and hopefully, a greater impact. Fortunately, an existing Peace Corps Albania program, Outdoor Ambassadors (www. outdoorambassadors.org), which promotes environmental studies and advocacy for local youth groups through targeted lessons and activities, provided a great place to start recruiting participants. Sunlight, Cameras…Action. After eight weeks of planning, the smart mob was nothing less than brilliant. As part of the shock-and-awe approach of the smart mob, the demonstration began discreetly with participants strategically dispersed in small groups across Tirana’s Parku Rinia. Trying desperately to hide their enthusiasm with false nonchalance, they passed the time with Frisbees and baseballs, and hovered around the periphery of what would soon be the epicenter of our mob. A predetermined song provided the signal to all involved that the smart mob “mix” was next. Everyone took one last deep breath, took their places, and then, GO TIME.
Beginning with just a handful of lead dancers, the group doubled and then tripled, growing larger with each 4-count, and pushing out from the center at every angle like a helium balloon. The routine quickly morphed into a kaleidescope of color and movement. A D.J. blasted the electrifying blend of American and Albanian pop music from eight inconspicuous but enormous speakers that had been placed around the park, as the mob danced in energetic syncopation. Midway through the mix the mob ducked down as a swarm of hooting, hollering, sign-yielding teenagers weaved in and around the dancers displaying proudly the “Let’s Do It!” logos and making our purpose very clear to any onlookers. As the poster-patrol passed through, the routine grew in intensity. The powerful voice of Aretha Franklin brought the extravaganza to a close with the word “Respect!” aptly resonating across the park and through Albania’s capital city. A loud cheer rose up, followed by high fives, hugs and celebration, as the smart mob mobbers relished in their success. In all, 54 Peace Corps Volunteers and Trainees came together from all corners of the country to take part in the event, acting as group leaders and playing various logistical roles. Peace Corps staff members came to show their support. “Smart Mob: Let’s Do It!” drew media attention and received coverage at local, regional and national levels. The smart mob dance crew itself totaled more than 120 people, with over half being Albanian nationals, representing nearly 35 communities across the country. This civil engagement is evidence that seeds have been planted, roots are taking hold, and that this movement in Albania is real. The process was complex, but the message was simple: we know the environment is important, we care about our country and our future, and we can make a difference. So come September 23rd, 2012… Let’s do it, Albania! Meagen Sassman (Albania 11-13) is a Health Education Sector Volunteer. WorldView Fall 2012
Around NPCA GREENthe LIVING
WASTE NOT, WANT NOT A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer makes a difference in the food industry by Neil Hammond
Chances are you don’t give a whole lot of thought to rice bran. But this “waste product” actually has a host of important uses—and one Returned Peace Corps Volunteer has made his career discovering them.
n 1971, I noticed an announcement asking for Peace Corps Volunteers. I applied and was immediately invited to become a Peace Corps Volunteer and work in British Honduras (the name changed to Belize on the day I arrived) as a Public Health Nutritionist, working directly under the Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health. My task was to work with the Ministries of Health, Agriculture, and Education in developing food and nutrition policy for the country, including determining the levels of malnutrition among schoolchildren. One of my assignments was to survey local providers of food, which led me to Bevis’ Big Fall Ranch. In the mid 1960’s, the Bevis family moved from California to Belize, began clearing and farming 100,000 acres along the Belize River, and built a rice mill. This farm and mill made Belize a net exporter of rice to Central America and the Caribbean. During a visit to the Ranch, Chuck Bevis told me about all the rice bran his mill was producing — and how they had no use for it. There is nothing a Peace Corps Volunteer likes as much as a challenge. And thus began my forty-year interest in, of all things, rice bran. After leaving the Peace Corps I held government public health and nutrition positions in Arizona, as a research technologist for the California Milling Corporation, and as managing chemist and group leader with the Peavey Company (now a division of ConAgra). Due to my interest in Central America, and concerned with providing high26
WorldView Fall 2012
protein food for hungry children, I served as a consultant for eight years in Honduras, formulating and producing baby foods, cereals, baked goods, and other consumer foods. In 1992, I co-founded RIBUS, Inc. a food ingredient company based on the principles of sustainability and utilization of “green” technology, which I have since patented with my friend Jim Peirce and his son Steve, now the company president. Located in St. Louis, RIBUS (Rice Business U.S.) has become the global leader in rice-based alternatives to chemistry lab-sounding ingredients and is celebrating 20 years of operations this summer. Named the 2011 Missouri Agriculture Exporter of the Year last January, we produce non-genetically modified (non-GMO) natural, organic, and gluten-free ricebased ingredients for leading global producers in the food, beverage, and dietary supplement sectors. Now the holder of numerous U.S. and international patents, RIBUS uses rice bran and hulls from U.S. farms to make a variety of ingredients that serve many functions. For example, the ingredients emulsify (bind oil and water), carry flavors, help dry ingredients flow freely, and increase output of extruded cereals, snacks, and pasta. Use of the ingredients results in “clean labels” (meaning free from food additives such as preservatives), as well as processing efficiency, output increases, reduced breakage, and added yields which also brings about reduced cost-of-goods and increased profits. Rooted in my Peace Corps experience, RIBUS is founded on the basic tenets of environmental
sustainability. Our technology enables us to use the “waste” bran and hulls to ensure that 100 percent of the rice crop can be used for human consumption. Approximately 40 percent of all RIBUS ingredients are certified organic, making this the fastest growing segment of our company’s products. RIBUS’ global sales of Nu-RICE®, Nu-BAKE®, Nu-FLOW®, and Nu-FLAC® rice extracts and rice concentrates have increased consistently over the years despite the recession, often with double to triple digit annual growth increases. Strict regulations and global consumer interest in non-GMO, organic, gluten-free, natural, kosher, hypoallergenic, and vegan products have fueled the growth, resulting in food manufacturers around the world reformulating or creating new products to meet the rising demand. We now supply high-quality ingredients in more than 40 countries. “Shoppers are concerned about chemistry lab-sounding synthetic ingredients and are looking for ‘clean labels’ saying, ‘If I can’t say it, why should I eat it?’” notes Steve Peirce. “Using RIBUS’ ingredients, processors and brands can maintain the same ingredient functionality, but remove words such as silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, and sodium stearoyl lactylate from the product ingredient label, meet organic standards, and negate the need for allergy declarations.” And to think it all started in Belize. Neal Hammond (Belize 71-74) is Technical Director for RIBUS,Inc. He has worked in the food industry in California, Minnesota, Honduras, Louisiana and Tennessee, has developed more than 300 products found on supermarket shelves. He holds ten patents. National Peace Corps Association
TOUR DE FRACK Couple applies Peace Corps lessons to a controversial environmental issue here at home by Jill Perry and Jason Bell
ver the past four years, Western Pennsylvania has experienced a wave of unconventional gas drilling. While some see it as a boom for local economies, the controversial technique known as high-volume slick-water hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” has plenty of critics. Jill Perry (Paraguay 03-05) and Jason Bell (Ecuador 03-05) organized a 400-mile bicycle tour to call attention to what they and others are experiencing in their rural corner of the state. The Tour de Frack (Freedom Ride for Awareness and Community Knowledge) took place during the last two weeks of July. They chose bicycles because traveling by bike connects a person to a place in a way that no other mode of transportation does. It allows you to see people, land, and even time from a new perspective. Jill and Jason write about the purpose and planning of the event.
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Tour de Frack arrives at the Lincoln Memorial. As Peace Corps Volunteers all of us remember that moment where we asked ourselves “What the heck?” I’m not talking about a cultural quirk like public bus boarding techniques or superstitions involving livestock but the first time you noticed a true human injustice seemingly accepted by the community. If you’re anything like me you asked yourself “why don’t they stand-up against that?” It was in the spring of 2011 that I asked myself the same question about my rural community in Western Pennsylvania: “What the Frack?” A Need for a Balanced Discussion: Impacts on Rural Communities In 2010 we noticed an increase in truck traffic, construction equipment and other industrial activities not www.PeaceCorpsConnect.org
traditionally seen in agricultural areas. We didn’t know anything about what was happening and didn’t think much of all the wires strung along the road and hillsides labeled “seismic testing.” When 100 ft flames lit up the night’s sky over our little town we begin to look into it. What we found alarmed us. Our neighbors close to the drilling rigs, radioactive waste pits, and plants complain of invasive stadium lights, powerful diesel engines running day and night, and walls rattling. Their water and air quality test show high levels of toxic chemical and carcinogens such as arsenic, barium, benzene, toluene and chloromethane. We have also witnessed contaminating drilling muds from pipeline constructions seeping out of a hillside and into a pristine stream. Many have reported unexplained deaths of dogs, cats, and
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Samles of polluted water.
Jill with her Peace Corps family in Paraguay. Jason Bell teaching in Ecudor.
chickens. One famer had 10 stillborn calves in one year. Individuals in the area have experienced nosebleeds, rashes, dizzy spells, and seizures. Several have been diagnosed with lead, arsenic and barium poisoning. Tour de Frack To create awareness, we organized a traveling road show with concerts, presentations, community organizing, coalition building, and information sharing. We carried jugs of contaminated water that has come out of the taps of affected homes in our area to show people the real costs of toxic fracking. In the end we hope to have one big community with a large voice that spans from Pennsylvania to Washington D.C. and one that is empowered to speak to those who can stop this attack on our communities. The ride began on Saturday, July 14th and despite a little rain, our time on the trail was amazing. We spent most nights camping. One word that resonates and reminds us of our time in Peace Corps sites is generosity. Our hosts along the trails fed and took care of us. Riders that we met stopped us and asked about our mission. Others offered water and support. We were met in Pittsburgh by over 60 cyclists for a community ride. The tour arrived in Washington DC on July 25th and it was time for us to use our voice. The next day we lobbied Congress on behalf of those that have been harmed as a result of fracking. We held meetings with officials sharing personal testimonies and leaving 28
WorldView Fall 2012
documentation for them to review. We ended the day with a meeting in the White House with Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change. On Friday Jason sat on a panel with Bill McKibben, author and founder of 350.org; Josh Fox, producer of the groundbreaking documentary Gasland; Jenny Lisak, author of the “list of the harmed,” and others. On July 28th we participated in the Stop the Frack Attack Rally by leading a march of 5,000 from the lawn of the Capitol through the streets, making stops at America’s Natural Gas Alliance to deliver the six gallons of contaminated water we had carried with us from Butler, and the American Petroleum Institute where we erected wind turbines at their front entrance. Chants of “Poison water, poison air, we get sick and they don’t care” filled Pennsylvania Avenue as we passed by the First Amendment engraved on the front of the Newseum. Storybook Central to our movement is getting personal stories to the public. Riders partnered with families that have been affected by drilling in their communities to produce a book titled Stories from the Shalefields which showcases 16 personal testimonies that were presented to officials in Washington, D.C. We are currently working on an edition that will be available to the public. This portion of the project was perhaps the most rewarding and most enduring. We
developed a collaborative model that encourages volunteers to connect with families and fosters the formation of a support network for those in need. One of the lessons we learned in Peace Corps is that trust and mutual respect are keys to meaningful change. We incorporated these lessons of personal investment and the results have surpassed our expectations. Peace Corps Service Parallels Jason and I both served in Latin America, where there is a history of powerful multinational companies and governments abusing communities in pursuit of natural resources. We are seeing the same pattern in our community. We feel we are in the way of industrial growth and little regard is being given to our, health, safety or lifestyle. The more we talked about it, the more we became unwilling to just sit by and let our own communities be taken advantage of. So, we decided to reach out to others throughout the region to see if we could make a difference, and just like in Peace Corps, we are helping to empower the voices of those most affected in the community and to improve their lives. The only difference is that now those voices and the community are our own. Jason was a rural health Volunteer and I was a municipal development Volunteer. Between us, we gained a lot of experience bringing people, resources, and organizations together around grassroots efforts to improve communities—doing this in our own National Peace Corps Association
Jill Perry and Jason Bell. community is a natural extension of our Peace Corps service, one that we both view as our civic duty. We have learned that people are very similar all over. We all want a healthy and safe life for our families. People are willing to help and get involved when asked; they just need to be asked. And they do care; they just don’t know what to do. Though we both went into the Peace Corps at mid-career points in our lives, we both recognize the skills, confidence, and just plain “guts” that we developed while serving. I frequently tells friends that standing up in front of a crowd of protesters is nothing compared to trying to convince a group of elderly Paraguayan women (who only speak Guarani when I only speak Spanish) to organize a neighborhood commission to bring water to their rural village. We know that we made a difference in the Peace Corps and that the experience has taught that we can do it here as well. For more information on Jill and Jason’s efforts visit www.tourdefrack.com and www.marcellusoutreachbutler.org. Jill Perry, PhD (Paraguay 03-05) is Program Director for the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. She is also currently a Research Faculty member in the Department of Foundations and Leadership at Duquesne University. Jason Bell (Ecuador 03-05) has taught secondary school level Spanish for 12 years and is a member of the Evans City, Pennsylvania Planning Commission. www.PeaceCorpsConnect.org
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WorldView Fall 2012
Commentary and Opinion
tangible impact Volunteers pursue medical school post-Peace Corps by Sarah Kana
WorldView Fall 2012
William Garneau at his school in Namibia. will almost undoubtedly work in some capacity on health-related projects such as HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention or gardening. “Many seem to be drawn to the Public Health arena post-service, and I wonder if it doesn’t have something to do with the fact that sometimes program accomplishments from that sector are more ‘tangible’—how many children were vaccinated; how many newborns gained weight in their first months of life, etc.,” says Hammer. “Many Volunteers return to the States determined to continue working in the medical profession, and some even go on to pursue a medical degree…” Lauren Arnold applied to Bryn-Mawr College’s post-baccalaureate program to prepare herself for medical school using her cell phone as a modem from her Cambodian village and interviewed on Skype. Although Arnold worked as a teacher in Cambodia, some of the most significant lessons she taught were health-related. “I realized just how much I was affecting my community as a role model and trainer for youths and women. I knew my efforts to teach public speaking, proposal-writing, and health promotion would live on; my students’ new self-confidence would enable them to make their village a better
Lauren Arnold, RPCV Cambodia
erving in the Peace Corps is undoubtedly a life-changing experience and often greatly impacts Peace Corps Volunteers’ career choices. For many Volunteers, the call to join the medical field is strongly felt after service. Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Lauren Arnold got dengue fever while training for her service in Cambodia. Within a few hours of being diagnosed, Peace Corps sent Lauren to the capital for treatment and within a few days she was moved to Bangkok in case she needed a blood transfusion, which fortunately, she did not. “It was not uncommon for children in my village to die of dengue within that same time frame. I realized I wanted to make a difference in population health, in the system of how diseases are acquired, transmitted and treated. I was drawn to public health. But I didn’t want to give up the face to face, direct problem-solving type of work on which I thrive,” says Arnold. Largely due to her experiences as a PCV, Lauren decided to pursue her medical doctorate and a masters of public health. As Director of Career Services at the Peace Corps’ National Headquarters, Jodi Hammer has a front row seat as Returned Peace Corps Volunteers sift through their Peace Corps experiences in search of their career path. “I’ve seen many RPCVs who have come through the doors of the career center who have decided to change their career path based on their Peace Corps service, including many in the public health and even the medical sector,” says Hammer. Many rural health Volunteers gain experience working in a clinic or hospital setting with substantial exposure to medical professionals, ranging from doctors to nurses to community health promoters. Even non-health program Volunteers
Lauren Arnold with village children in Cambodia. place. With community members, I taught, I laughed, and I affected change. I taught them about equality and health; they taught me that anything was possible. In a community in which the disenfranchised felt powerless, I showed them that they, too, had the power to make change,” says Arnold, who will attend Columbia Medical School. Jodi Domsky, Brywn Mawr College’s Associate Dean and Director of Health Professions Advising and the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program, believes that it is never too late to become a physician. “We have had postbaccalaureate students who have returned from their service and started our program immediately, others have come to our program after doing something else for several years. There is no rush, and people who are the most successful are the ones who have thoroughly National Peace Corps Association
examined their interests in medicine and cannot imagine themselves doing anything else.” When asked why she thinks that former Peace Corps Volunteers, make successful candidates for medical doctorate degrees, Domsky replied, “Anyone who has completed the Peace Corps has demonstrated a deep commitment to service in the developing world. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers have also shown that they can live in challenging circumstances, learn a new language and culture, and embrace those who are different than they are. These are all valuable skills to have in medicine.” Returned Peace Corps Volunteer William Garneau majored in English during his undergraduate career before entering the Peace Corps. “When I was a Volunteer in Namibia I got to be friends with a nurse in the village and was impressed with her ability to help others through medicine. I was a teacher in Namibia and, while that was a very fulfilling and difficult job, I liked the way that some of the medical interventions that the nurse performed in the village were so tangible—that she had skills that were very needed and very important,” says Garrneau. When Garneau returned to the U.S., he enrolled in the post-baccalaureate premedical program at Goucher Collge in Towson, Md., since he did not have the credits to apply for medical school. Garneau liked the fact that at Goucher College, as opposed to some other post-baccalaureate programs, he was in classes with only other post-baccalaureate students, rather than a large class with normal undergraduate students. “[It was] nice because there were only 30 of us in the class, and actually three of us had [served in the] Peace Corps.” There were other students, in Garneau’s class, with different post-college experiences (for instance one student was a lawyer, one had done public radio, and another was a jazz drummer). “Goucher was an excellent preparation for medical school and I did well in terms of acceptances when I applied to schools. Peace Corps is an incredibly respected institution and gave me a lot to both talk about in my interviews and in essays that I submitted. But more importantly it was www.PeaceCorpsConnect.org
what helped me better understand the world and helped guide me to medicine as a means of service.” Garneau is interested in infectious disease and hopes to continue to be involved with work abroad as he progresses through his medical education. “Certainly my time in the Peace Corps is still a part of the decisions I make and my experience going forward as a physician in training.” Returned Peace Corps Volunteers can make attractive medical school students, not only because of their work in developing countries and in rural health, but also because of their experiences communicating with diverse people and cultures. The New York Times recently published an article on how some medical schools are now conducting screening of applicants based on their “people skills.” Medical schools are becoming more concerned with whether or not candidates have the social skills to navigate a health care system in which good communication has become critical. According to Gardiner Harris of the Times, “... Medicine is evolving from an individual to a team sport. Solo medical practices are disappearing. In their place, large health systems— encouraged by new government policies—are creating teams to provide care coordinated across disciplines. The strength of such teams often has more to do with communication than the technical competence of any one member.” In addition to Bryn-Mawr College, there are scores of other postbaccalaureate programs that prepare students for medical school, many of which have educated Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. To find other schools offering such programs, visit the Association of Medical Colleges website at: www.aamc.org/students/. Sarah Kana is the Communications Intern at NPCA. She recently received her B.A. in Political Science and Art History from Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. Her goal is to work for a non-profit organization or public relations agency related to advancing social and health care change in the United States and around the world.
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Commentary and Opinion
THE EDUCATION OF AN ACTIVIST By stepping out of the shadows, an RPCV affects change and reconnects by Karestan C. Koenen
n May 11, 2011, I testified about my rape while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger, West Africa at the full U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, “Peace Corps at 50.” That same day, Good Morning America featured a clip of an interview I had done with 20/20’s Brian Ross. In the interview, I intimately describe my rape, the Peace Corps’ mistreatment of me, and the devastating effects of the experience on my life. I wrote about my rape in various news outlets. As part of my work with a coalition of activists focused on passing legislation to reform the Peace Corps policies and procedures in relation to prevention of and response to sexual assault among volunteers, I repeated my story, over and over again, to Congressional staffers. The work of this coalition was successful, and President Obama signed the Kate Puzey Peace Corp Volunteer Protection Act (“Kate’s Bill”) into law on November 22, 2012. For 21 years, I had only spoken of my rape to a few close long-time friends, family members and mental health professionals. At the time of the hearing, I was an associate professor at Harvard School of Public Health and had established myself as a well-respected academic in the field of traumatic stress studies. None of my professional colleagues knew that my career choice stemmed from having been brutally raped as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger on December 27 1991. I am, by nature, an introverted, private person. My political activity had been limited to voting in national elections and giving small donations to the Democratic Party. What changed? On, Friday January 14, 2011, I was 32
WorldView Fall 2012
Karestant Koenen (far right) looks on as President Obama signs the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act in the Oval Office. giving my four-year old son a bath when my phone chirped. I picked it up and found a text from a friend that said: “Turn on 20/20. They are doing an exposé on rape in Peace Corps.” My heart started racing. I quickly bathed my son and put him to bed anxiously wondering what 20/20 had uncovered. Once my son was sleeping peacefully, I went online and Googled the 20/20 story. I was shocked to learn that over 1,000 women had been sexually assaulted in the Peace Corps in the past decade. More horrifying, however, were the young women’s reports of their mistreatment by the Peace Corps following their rapes. I had always thought my experience with Peace Corps was an aberration—but the callous treatment described by Jessica Smolchek and others in 2011 was eerily similar to my experience 20 years prior. My search also turned-up the website for First Response Action (FRA), an organization started by Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Casey Frazee to reform the Peace Corps’ prevention of and response to sexual assault among Volunteers. Inspired by the courage of Jessica and Casey, I felt compelled to do something to “help.” I recall sending a message to the 20/20 tip line connected with the
story. I emailed Casey. I had no idea at that time what my “help” would consist of or how my impulsive decision to reach out would alter the course of the next year of my life. I only knew that I deeply admired the women who were fighting to change the system I had walked away from 20 years ago. Over the next nine months, I learned three key lessons about how to create sustainable change. Lesson one: “It takes a village.” At the time I started working with FRA, I had spent the past seven years in a tenure track position at Harvard University where promotion and tenure are based on setting oneself apart, establishing one’s individual achievements. Suddenly, I found myself part of a coalition whereby many of the members—FRA, Kate’s Voice, NPCA—had been working on Peace Corps reform for years. I had a lot of catching up to do.* We came together with a shared goal: passage of a strong bill that would reform Peace Corps prevention and response to sexual assault and establish strong confidentiality and whistleblower protections for survivors. The successful passage of Kate’s Bill required gaining media attention; support from National Peace Corps Association
congressional staffers on both sides of the aisle, and negotiating with the Peace Corps itself. The NPCA with its history of strong support of the Peace Corps and community of Volunteers played a key role in this process from writing a letter to President Obama in support of Kate’s Bill, to publishing articles in WorldView, to encouraging its members to lobby Congress in favor of the bill. Lesson two: Support comes from unexpected places. As a lifelong Democrat and feminist, I naïvely expected the strongest support to come from my “tribe.” I quickly learned that the reality of politics is more complex. Our greatest champions were Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) and Senator Jonney Isakson (R-GA), conservative Republicans. Congressman Poe, a former judge, has a lifelong record of supporting legislation to help crime victims. I will never forget his statement at the House hearing: “As a former judge, let me just say this. Sexual assault is never, never the fault of the victim. And our system, our country must totally support victims abroad, take care of them, bring them back, give them justice because justice is what we do in this country.” I was proud to stand next to him when the bill was signed into law. Lesson three: Passing legislation is just the beginning. Kate’s Bill mandates that the Peace Corps provide regular reports to Congress on issues related to safety and security. The bill also establishes a sexual assault advisory group to ensure the Peace Corps’ policies and procedures related to sexual assault meet the highest standards. Since the bill was passed in November 2011, FRA, Kate’s Voice, and congressional staffers such as Luke Murry from Congressman Poe’s office and Harold Reiss from Chairman Ros-Lehtinen’s Foreign Affairs committee staff have been working tirelessly to monitor the implementation of the bill. We expect to have the first reports by the end of this year. When I left the Peace Corps in February 1992, I had no intention ever to return. I had not attended a Peace Corps reunion or even corresponded with RPCVs from my stage. In September 21, 2011, I found myself www.PeaceCorpsConnect.org
in a taxi on the way to speak about Kate’s Bill at the NPCA Advocacy Day Orientation. I was extremely nervous. This would be the first Peace Corps function I would attend since I terminated service. I did not know whether the crowd—comprised of many generations of active and committed RPCV’s—would be welcoming or hostile. I recall standing outside the auditorium, anxiously telling FRA board member Kate Finn “I don’t know if I can do this.” She said “Karestan, this time you are not alone. We are all with you.” I entered and went up on stage to wait my turn to speak. I don’t remember what I said—but I remember feeling overwhelmingly supported by the audience. During the break between panels, numerous RPCVs came up to me to offer encouragement and share their experiences. One young man tearfully spoke to me of his fiancé’s sexual assault and how that experience had destroyed their relationship. Another RPCV and former country director encouraged me to keep up ‘the good fight.” Several women spoke to me about their own sexual assaults and thanked me for coming forward about my own experience. The Peace Corps is often described by Director Williams, and both RPCVs and current Volunteers, as a “family.” My rape and subsequent mistreatment by Peace Corps left me feeling estranged. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to work with the NPCA and others for the passage of Kate’s Bill. The political process taught me that individuals can work together to make positive, sustainable change. On a personal level, I feel reunited with the family I left two decades ago. * I have written on the coalition in more detail at http://www.huffingtonpost. com/karestan-c-koenen/peace-corpskate-puzey_b_1105721.html Karestan Chase Koenen, PhD (Niger 9192) is licensed clinical psychologist and epidemiologist at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She does clinical work and research on traumatic stress and posttraumatic stress disorder. Her email is: email@example.com.
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WorldView Fall 2012
Commentary & Opinion
THE UNSEEN HEROES OF PEACE CORPS Host country national staff play a pivotal role by JoAnna Haugen
hen people talk about the Peace Corps, conversation normally touches on what current Volunteers are doing in their overseas communities and how former Volunteers have continued to serve since returning home. What few mention are the 2,100 people behind the scenes who play a pivotal role in training and supporting Peace Corps Volunteers so they are prepped for success at their sites and changed for the better upon completion of service. These 2,100 people are host country nationals who consistently work for Peace Corps in countries around the world. Without them, Peace Corps would be a drastically different organization. “Our local staff embodies the Peace Corps’ spirit of service,” says Peace Corps director Aaron Williams. “They teach the local language, bridge cultural divides and ensure that volunteers have the health, safety and technical training to be successful in their 27 months of service.” Here are a few of those behind-thescenes heroes:
and maintaining safety and security procedures in compliance with Peace Corps policies, developing risk mitigation plans and sharing such procedures with volunteers serving in Ecuador. “I really enjoy visiting Volunteers in their sites and talking to them about the situations they face every day, about their cross-cultural conflicts and strategies to solve them,” she says. Though each day on the job is different from the last, Alarcon says that it is an honor to work with Volunteers from the very first day they arrive incountry until they return to the United States. As for her time working with the Peace Corps? “It has been a time of tremendous personal growth and self-discovery,” she says. “I have really experienced that to truly live, you must serve others.”
WorldView Fall 2012
Leila Salimova Diego Shoobridge
Julieta Alarcon | Safety and security coordinator, Ecuador Since February 2005, Julieta Alarcon has provided technical oversight on security-related matters by monitoring
with people who strive to make the world a better place is inspiring and encouraging, but it’s not without its challenges. “Directing the environment program is like being in charge of 40 individual projects,” Shoobridge says. “Each Volunteer runs a project by him or herself and has a particular way of approaching it based on diverse conditions.” But, he says, “being a part of it and helping this happen motivates me in the job and provides a feeling of a concrete contribution to cooperation, exchange and local development.”
Diego Shoobridge | Communitybased environmental management APCD, Peru With an extensive background in environmental policy, natural resource preservation, and protected areas management, Diego Shoobridge is an ideal fit for promoting volunteer assistance in the areas of conservation and natural resources management. In this position, he works with program planning and implementation, identifies sites, and trains and supports Volunteers. He says that working
Leila Salimova | Program manager, Kyrgyz Republic “Few people know that my acquaintance with Peace Corps began with my school teacher, Mr. Reed, a tall mustached gentleman who encouraged me greatly to enter the English department,” says Leila Salimova. And then there were Ms. Roberts, a university teacher; Mr. Platt, a young professional and close friend; and Mr. O’Donnell, who shared cross-cultural experiences with Salimova. All four were Peace Corps Volunteers. Her work with the agency officially began in 2008 when she worked as a technical crosscultural facilitator during pre-service training, and Salimova joined Peace Corps as a staff employee in September 2009. She works as a program manager of sustainable organizational and National Peace Corps Association
Henry Chilufya | Environmental programming and training specialist, Zambia Some people go to work, do their jobs and go home. Henry Chilufya has gone above and beyond his job of training Volunteers in the areas of agroforestry, conservation farming,
beekeeping and appropriate technology. In fact, he’s one of three people who actually wrote the nearly 100-page manual on appropriate technology with Volunteers. “I think the cultural exchange I’ve had with trainees, Volunteers and American staff has enriched me tremendously,” he says. “I am now able to look at things in a different way. It is also gratifying to know that learning does not end with what you know but is just the beginning.” In 2011, Chilufya flew to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 50th anniversary celebration at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. “I was honored to have a chance to share my feelings not only about the great work Peace Corps was doing around the globe but also on what it needed to focus on in the next 50 years,” he says. “I am an ardent believer in the Peace Corps’ approach to development and that is building human capacity rather than building monuments.”
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Master’s and Ph.D. in Public Policy Beautiful suburban campus located between Baltimore and Washington, DC Outstanding faculty
JoAnna Haugen (Kenya 2004-05) is the Community News Editor for the National Peace Corps Association.
Peace Corps Connect emails, letters and calls. She stressed the importance of having a strong Peace Corps community presence on the Hill. The breakout sessions continued early the next day: Election 2012/ Advocacy with RPCV Ken Patterson, Youth Development with Ashoka Fellow Spectra Meyers, Alternative Methods with RPCV Patti Hurd, Agriculture with RPCV Florence Reed, Group Development and Leadership Succession with Dr. Steve V. Manderscheid and Music of the World – Minnesota with Fodé Seydou Bangoura. As one RPCV commented afterwards, “All very informative. I wish I could have gone to more of them.” One session that we can report on is the Alternative Methods workshop, featuring a presentation by People Helping People, sponsor of the Solar
The UMBC DeparTMenT of pUBliC poliCy
Seven interdisciplinary concentrations:
community development and with the gender (WID/GAD) and partnership (PCPP) programs. Salimova’s enthusiasm for her work was recognized in March 2011 when she was awarded with an International Women’s Day Award at Peace Corps headquarters. “When people ask me what I think about it, I always just say ‘I just do my job!’” she says.
• economics • educational policy • evaluation and analytical methods • health policy • policy history • public management • urban policy Opportunities for RPCVs to participate in Shriver Peaceworker Peace Corps Fellowship Program, providing tuition, stipend, and internship
Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota. Oven Society. The session was held in a park across the street from the Convention Center. Patti Hurd demonstrated the features of the solar cooker and proceeded to cook some carrots in the hot Minnesota sun. The oven was designed by 3M engineers with a goal of providing “low-cost, effective, durable, attractive solar ovens, education and training, to help families in sunrich, fuel poor countries improve their Continued on page 42
410-455-3202 email@example.com umbc.edu/pubpol
LEARNING WITH DISTINCTION
WorldView Fall 2012
Buzz from the Field
STOMPING OUT MALARIA IN AFRICA A new Peace Corps initiative is rewriting how Peace Corps Volunteers collaborate by Christopher Hedrick
WorldView Fall 2012
n the village of Dindefelo, in remote southeastern Senegal, malaria has long been the biggest killer of children. One of my most vivid images from my service there as a Peace Corps Volunteer was of a little girl, Mariama, brought into the health clinic burning with fever. She was too far-gone to be saved. Soon, her tiny body shuddered and grew limp. She was carefully wrapped in a small white sheet before being laid to rest in the community graveyard. When I arrived back in Senegal as Peace Corps country director in 2007, two decades after serving as a Volunteer, I made an assessment of the development challenges facing the West African nation. I wanted to understand how those issues matched up against the ways that Peace Corps Volunteers could meaningfully contribute their skills and energies. I found that the largest cause of child mortality had not changed since I had worked in Senegal in the late 1980s: malaria was still the biggest killer of kids in Senegal and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. What had changed, though, was the enhanced opportunity for Peace Corps Volunteers to contribute to combating the disease. In recent years, several new technologies for malaria prevention, testing and treatment made it more possible than ever to prevent sickness and deaths. And the success of all of these approaches depends heavily upon the sort of capacity development and behavior change and communication work that Peace Corps Volunteers, as trusted partners in their communities, can do so well. Long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets can prevent mosquitoes from biting sleeping children, but only if they are distributed to every family and
Senegal Peace Corps Volunteer Ben Gascoigne shows community member Abrouhim Souri Diallo how to repair holes in his bed net at the Malaria Fair in Kedougou, Senegal on July 1, 2012. consistently used and repaired. New and inexpensive rapid diagnostic tests can cheaply tell if a fever is malaria or not. But that’s only useful information if you get tested soon after falling ill. Medicine to treat malaria is highly effective, curing almost all malaria cases, but only if the treatment is given in time. In promoting access to and effective use of each of these improved technologies, Peace Corps Volunteers can, and increasingly are, playing a key role in saving the lives of Africans across the continent. Volunteers have been helping to combat malaria since the early days of Peace Corps. In fact, Sargent Shriver identified malaria prevention as one of the concrete areas for Volunteer work in those early days of planning what Americans would actually do once they arrived overseas. In recent years, more and more Volunteers have become focused on malaria and other public health issues.
Now, with the launch of the Peace Corps Stomping Out Malaria in Africa project, malaria prevention has become the first major programmatic initiative of the agency’s second half-century. In 2007, I found a few Volunteers, working with the help of an NGO founded by a Senegal RPCV, trying to distribute bed nets to every family in a few villages in the southeastern region of Kedougou—an approach called “universal coverage” in which every sleeping space (and some sleeping spaces are simply straw mats on the floor) is covered by a sturdy, insecticidetreated bed net. The approach of universal coverage has been shown to be highly effective in preventing malaria sickness and death. By covering everyone at night, when the mosquitoes that cause malaria come out, a community can achieve a “herd effect,” much like that of vaccines. If the large majority of people are covered, then the malaria carrying mosquitoes National Peace Corps Association
have no means of passing along the disease. Fall far short of universal coverage, then those who sleep under nets every night are still protected, but the community at large is still at risk. This small pilot project by a few intrepid Volunteers proved to be very effective, cutting severe malaria cases in those villages by more than half and eliminating deaths in the first year. Ending with that small triumph would have been a typical, traditional Peace Corps success story. But these Volunteers and their Senegalese public health partners werenâ€™t satisfied with a small victory, so they came looking for support in scaling up their model of universal bed net coverage coupled with intensive malaria prevention and treatment education. The charities Against Malaria (www. againstmalaria.org) and Malaria No More (www.malarianomore.org) soon supported a distribution of over 20,000 nets covering the remote 50,000-person health district of Saraya, in the area of Senegal with the highest levels of malaria. This distribution, uniting a team of two dozen Volunteers with community health workers, brought nets by pickup and bicycle down laterite roads and narrow footpaths to every small and isolated village in the areaâ€” the first time an entire health district had ever had universal coverage in Senegal. In 2010, Malaria No More raised money from a unique fundraising campaign in which actor Ashton Kutcher and the news network CNN competed to be the first to have one million Twitter followers, with the winner promising a donation to fight malaria. In the end, over $500,000 was dedicated by Malaria No More and its supporters to scale up the malaria prevention program to the district of Velingara, in south-central Senegal, with nearly 300,000 residents. Peace Corps Volunteers, in alliance with the Senegalese National Malaria Control Program and with grassroots support from the charities Tostan and World Vision, led a campaign to distribute 100,000 nets and provide intense malaria prevention education in over 600 villages and towns. After the success of the Senegalese www.peacecorpsfellows-wiu.org 800.526.9943 Now accepting applications www.PeaceCorpsConnect.org
WorldView Fall 2012
WorldView Fall 2012
government’s distribution to all children under five the previous year, the Saraya and Velingara efforts brought new energy into country’s fight against malaria, demonstrating what was possible and documenting a successful distribution and education methodology. Soon after the Velingara campaign, the government announced a new national policy for malaria prevention: universal coverage across Senegal. The U.S. government program called the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), a joint effort of the CDC and USAID, put its substantial weight behind the universal coverage effort. As Malaria No More put it, “investing in the universal coverage goal in one region did more than simply cover that area— it catalyzed a series of events, decisions and actions that inspired Senegal to adopt an aggressive and ambitious strategy against the disease.” What had started with the efforts of a few Peace Corps Volunteers and their village counterparts, supported by some generous RPCVs, had become a new national policy for malaria prevention with remarkable results. Malaria deaths are down dramatically: it is no longer the biggest cause of infant mortality in Senegal. And, according to a recent World Bank study, Senegal has cut child mortality in recent years more than any other nation in Africa. With the right support, Peace Corps Volunteers and their communities can help accomplish amazing things. In late 2010, I presented the Senegal model of malaria prevention to Peace Corps headquarters senior staff, and proposed that we support a continentwide campaign, engaging all 3,000 Volunteers in Africa to fight malaria. A bold set of Peace Corps leaders, open to new ideas, embraced the vision and supported what has become the Stomping Out Malaria in Africa initiative. (See: www.stompoutmalaria. org) On April of 2011, on World Malaria Day, Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams, along with PMI leader Admiral Tim Zeimer, USAID Administrator Raj Shah and Roll Back Malaria director Awa Marie Coll-Seck, announced the new Peace
Angelina Tawiah helps move bed nets back and forth with a big smile during the Ghana Health Service’s “Roll Out Campaign” in central Ghana. Corps malaria prevention effort. Since then, we have tried to move Stomping Out Malaria at Shriver speed, with a sense of urgency matching the scale of the problem. Two thousand children every day in Africa still die of malaria. Peace Corps Volunteers can make an important difference, so there isn’t a moment to waste. Over the past year and a half, we have created a Malaria Team—staff and Volunteers from 21 Peace Corps posts in Africa—all of whom have participated in an intense 10-day long Malaria Boot Camp at the Peace Corps training center in Thies, Senegal. The Boot Camp leverages Skype to bring in the leaders in the global malaria prevention community from institutions such as Johns Hopkins University and the CDC. We combine this virtual world-class expertise with practical, hands-on field experiences to deliver an exciting, interactive curriculum in malaria science and prevention strategies. Boot Camp graduates then become part of an extended Peace Corps team, linked by continuous communication, support and learning through online discussion forums and knowledge sharing through Google documents. Malaria Team members, many of whom are 3rd year Volunteers and RPCVs serving as Peace Corps Response
Volunteers, partner with PMI staff, national malaria control agencies and malaria-focused non-profits. They then link our partners with the 3,000 Volunteers in the field who can help carry out the malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment seeking education campaigns that make the difference at the community level. Stomping Out Malaria in Africa leverages the best of the classic Peace Corps experience—deep integration and trust at the community level—and takes advantage of the disruptive technologies, productive partnerships and team based approach of the new Peace Corps. Combining tradition and innovation, passionate teams of Volunteers across Africa are tackling one of the biggest global public health challenges. The approach is a radical change for Peace Corps and the goal of ending malaria is audacious, but the potential benefits for the children of Africa are tremendous. We won’t stop until malaria no longer kills any more boys and girls like little Mariama. Christopher Hedrick (Senegal 88-90) served as Peace Corps country director in Senegal from 2007 to 2012. He is now coordinating Stomping Out Malaria and working on other initiatives for the Peace Corps Africa region. You can follow him on Twitter @hedrickchris. National Peace Corps Association
Letter from Borneo
DON’T SHOUT IN TRIUMPH TILL THE HEAD IS TAKEN by Erik Jensen
Erik Jensen was researching in Sarawak when asked to organize a development project among Iban living by the remote Lemanak River. Harvests, from land leached through repeated slash and burn, were totally inadequate to feed an increasing population and the Iban, following tradition, wanted to migrate to untouched forest. Conservation laws, moves to control intertribal conflict and government advocacy of a settled way of life with schooling, health and medical services and an assured income from settled agriculture, prohibited further migration. Erik’s task was to encourage the Lemanak Iban in making the inevitable tradition. The excerpt describes the initial encounter. Jensens’ “Where Hornbills Fly: A Journey with the Headhunters of Borneo” (MacMillan, 2011), tells how over three years, with active Peace Corps Volunteer involvement and other support, Iban attitudes began changing and they looked towards a settled future in the Lemanak. Thirty years later Erik returned, as he writes in the concluding chapter, and was moved by what he saw and the warmth of his reception.
ith the Lemanak chief, Inggol, hobbling ahead and urging me on, I scrambled up the muddy, slithery slope from the river. In the half-dark I worked through the ooze, stumbling over branches of nipah palm, a coconut shell, which a disappointed pig snortingly abandoned, and assorted hen-pecked rubbish to the foot of the longhouse high on piles above us. The entrance was another notched log, its base a rudimentary phallic symbol; the top vaguely headlike. The grooves between, worn smooth, were slippery in the rain beginning to fall, and there was no handrail. But I made it up without losing balance, jumped neatly over the end only to bang my forehead against a sacrificial offering suspended in the door opening to block malicious spirits from entering. In the gloom the length of the longhouse was barely discernible. An occasional taper like a will-o-the-wisp, gave off a speck of light here and there. Threading my way gingerly across gaps in the flooring and avoiding boards that looked especially brittle, I could hardly fail to realise how rickety the building was—to be confirmed starkly in the light of day. We made our way past a dozen or more family rooms to the centre, to Inggol’s apartment. Inside were Minon, his young son, and Inggol’s ageing mother. Inggol’s mother was ancient, greying to white, bent double, her breasts long shrivelled, yet she exuded dignity of the personage she had been. A dowager,
she was the widow of a famous chief, Suel, whose courage, wisdom and good fortune were proverbial in the Lemanak and beyond. Inggol, one suspected, was a disappointment to her. Whatever attributes, apart from his determined jaw-line, Inggol might not have inherited from the great Suel, he had an enviable
accumulation of heirlooms. Bronze gongs in all dimensions and brassware, magnificent Chinese jars and prized amulets were arrayed against the walls. The room resembled a negleted museum or a museum storeroom for unexhibited items, where dust and dirt formed dustsheets.
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We ate in near silence with a solitary taper accentuating the gloom. Beside the symbols of inherited grandeur, the food emphasised the hard times to which Lemanak Iban had been reduced. Rice was heavily blended with sago pith, to which the Iban only resorted with much reluctance when there was little rice left. A sliver of salt fish accompanied it. Inggol intoned the polite disclaimer “nadai lauk”—“there is nothing to go with the rice,” said however many side dishes were served, and on this occasion accurate. He dispensed with the customary insistence that guests eat their fill. Neither of us did, and we were soon ready to pass to the longhouse area where meetings took place. It was dirty, the dirtiest and most disorderly I had experienced. Disconsolate, ill-fed mongrels whined and wandered aimlessly. Someone kicked a dog, the dog squealed and ran off simpering. A child was crying. In the shadows old men coughed. A fighting-cock crowed, then another. Inggol and I squatted on a mat. Dejected looking Iban emerged from the recesses of the longhouse and arrived from other longhouse villages to settle round us. The stench of wet, sweat-impregnated clothing mingled with odour from pigs rooting below and acrid reefers that the men all smoked. It rained harder. Rainwater from the roof dribbled onto the mat. 40
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Inggol had me move. He prodded the old ironwood shingles with a stick, poking one sideways. Another leak. It began dripping slowly where I sat. I shifted again. It rained there too. ‘Rain,’ said an Iban, without expression. Sa, the longhouse headman, said: ‘It’s a bad house. Ka pindah—want to migrate.’ Inggol made no comment; he was concentrating on an antiquated, rusty pressure lamp. The lamp, once lit, alternately belched and flared throughout the evening, attracting insects. Then, without formality, without either traditional welcome or introduction, the meeting began with Inggol asking bluntly: ‘What have you come to tell us?’ ‘I’ve got something to tell government first,’ Sa interjected. ‘We don’t want these people spraying poison all over the house. They did last month and it made the children ill. Listen to them coughing.’ He paused while a child, obligingly, coughed. ‘And it killed the pigs and poultry. That’s why we didn’t give you chicken to eat. We haven’t got any. They’re all dead. They died when government sprayed the house. And it killed the cats, all of them. There isn’t a single cat in the longhouse now. And the rats have eaten what little rice we had.’ Not a cat to be seen, it was true, and partition walls were smeared grimegrey: trapped in a film of dirt, dust and cobweb, the evidence of spraying was all around. I tried to justify the government’s new and exciting initiative to eliminate malaria. As everyone was led to believe at the time DDT spraying was indispensable and not injurious to humans. The vector in Sarawak, a mosquito, preferred resting low and malarial control meant spraying underneath houses and the lower portion of internal walls. It had been successful in other places. It was, I assured Sa and those nodding agreement with him, in the Iban’s interest. Malaria was already less common than it had been. Yes, it was possible that cats had been contaminated. Even those responsible for the campaign admitted that cats often licked themselves clean of DDT
after rubbing against it or consumed pesticide marinated cockroaches, and recommended confining cats, which I recognized as unrealistic. For pigs and poultry to have suffered could only be an unfortunate coincidence. ‘They died after the spraying,’ Sa insisted, ‘and we don’t want any more spraying. It doesn’t make us any healthier. That’s just government talk. Listen, listen to the children coughing.’ Several women nodded in confirmation. ‘Yes,’ said a headman from another longhouse, ‘all our cats and our poultry died. They never did that before this spraying started.’ ‘Did you bring any medicine?’ asked Sa. I said that I had no medical supplies with me, but medical and health work was something I had come to discuss. If the Iban in Inggol’s jurisdiction were agreeable, I would come to live among them and suggest ways their lives could be bettered, given that migration was out of the question; there was no way round the law. I looked to health services as well as schooling and improvements in agriculture and new crops. ‘It won’t work,’ sneered Sa categorically with a grimace as he twisted the defunct reefer in his mouth. He moved to re-light it, without success. “We want to migrate—Ka pindah.” Erik Jensen is the author of “Where Hornbills Fly: A Journey with the Headhunters of Borneo” (MacMillan, 2011). Although not a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, he worked closely with Peace Corps Volunteers in Sarawak and twice participated in Peace Corps training programs. A distinguished diplomatic career took him to posts around the world, culminating in his appointment as an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. He holds degrees from Oxford and Harvard and honorary doctorates from Connecticut and Seoul and has been Senior Associate Member of St. Antony’s, Oxford, Visiting Fellow at the LSE and Warburg Professor in International Relations at Simmons College, Boston. Erik Jensen was an original Fellow of the Borneo Research Council and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. National Peace Corps Association
Profiles in Service
FLORENCE REED, 2012 SHRIVER AWARD WINNER A Returned Volunteer dedicates her life to sustainable livelihoods in Central America by Erica Burman
very year the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) presents The Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service. The award was named to recognize the tremendous contributions of the first Peace Corps Director, Sargent Shriver, in the founding and development of the Peace Corps. The Shriver Award is given to a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who continues to make a sustained and distinguished contribution to humanitarian causes at home or abroad or is an innovative social entrepreneur whose actions will bring about significant long-term change. This year’s recipient is Florence Reed. Reed believes that when people work together, things change for the better, which led her to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama from 1991 to 1993 as an agro-forestry extension agent. Her experience in the Peace Corps as well her work in several other non-profit organizations led her to found Sustainable Harvest International (www.sustainableharvest.org) in 1997. “Sargent Shriver was a relentlessly energetic and innovative advocate for encouraging change in ways big and small,” says NPCA President Kevin Quigley. “This is the spirit that infuses the Peace Corps, and through the Sargent Shriver Distinguished Humanitarian Award we honor RPCVs who embody this spirit. Florence Reed, the founder of SHI, which empowers individuals in Central America to build more sustainable futures, is an ideal recipient.” A panel of five judges, including past Shriver Award winners, unanimously selected Reed from a group of 23 nominees. www.PeaceCorpsConnect.org
Being involved in the Peace Corps helped me to see the human side of the story. If we’re ever going to be successful in conserving the world’s forests, local people have to be at the center of these efforts. – Florence Reed The Sustainable Harvest International Harvest Story Upon finishing her Peace Corps service, Reed sought to build upon the tremendous potential to create significant and permanent change throughout Central America. As Reed described in her Shriver Award acceptance speech: “During my years in the Peace Corps I got to see a lot of what I had learned about tropical deforestation in college. I saw how the farmers’ practice of slash-and-burn farming leads them to cut down and burn more forest every year, eroding away more of the thin topsoil each time the cycle is repeated. What really came home to me during my years in the Peace Corps, however, was that the farmers did not want to be doing this. They were anxious to find alternatives that would allow them to boost production while growing on the same land year after year. Seeing the failures of short-term, limited efforts to help them make Thinking
opportunities? Indiana University
School Of Library And Information Science
Florence Reed. the transition to sustainable farming practices, led me to realize that what they really needed to successfully and permanently make this transition was long-term, regular technical assistance. As I got ready to end my Peace Corps service, I really wanted to get a job with an organization that was focused on filling that need and was shocked to find that no such organization existed.” Operating from a tiny office in a spare bedroom in her parents’ house, Reed founded SHI with one donation from a Swiss tourist that she had met in Panama, and contact with a group of Honduran villages that wanted to implement sustainable techniques. From that, Reed then cultivated interest in the project among a group of concerned university professors,
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Peace Corps Connect Continued from page 15
health, time, nutritional, financial and environmental resources,” according to the session handout. There were lots of questions from the RPCV participants. And yes, the carrots were delicious! The day concluded with a concert by the local Afro-Cuban group, Malamanya. They were superb and got RPCVs on their feet and dancing. Between sets, NPCA held an award 42
WorldView Fall 2012
small business owners and non-profit executives. They formed a board of directors and Sustainable Harvest International was formally incorporated as a nonprofit in May 1997. SHI works to reduce deforestation and improve rural livelihoods in Central America by providing farming families with training about sustainable farming practices, including soil conservation, intercropping, and worm composting. The mission of SHI is “to provide farming families in Central America with the training and tools to preserve our planet’s tropical forests while overcoming poverty.” Volunteers and field trainers work directly with families and communities in Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. Another key element of their projects is long-term planning to ensure the program takes roots in the community. The projects are typically three to five years in duration. The selection of communities is also a key part of their success. They use a varied approach in selecting and working with communities, including choosing communities based on social, economic and environmental conditions, and the communities’ level of interest. Once a community is selected, SHI’s local field trainers work with families and individuals to establish projects such as organic vegetable gardens, rice paddies and tree nurseries and build utilities like bio-digesters, eco-toilets, woodsaving stoves and chicken coops. SHI’s programs have contributed to saving more than 35,0000 acres tropical forest and increased farm income up to 800%.
Around the NPCA
Tk Tk by Tk
Florence Reed accepts the Shriver Award from Board Vice Chair Patricia Wand and NPCA President Kevin Quigley. Since founding SHI, Reed has led the organization’s growth from a budget of $50,000 in the first year to $1.5 million today. Starting work with two extension agents in Honduras, she later created new programs in Panama, Belize and Nicaragua, eventually helping each country program to become an independent affiliate or subsidiary of SHI. Collectively they have helped more than 1,500 families to become self-sufficient stewards of the environment and trainers of more families. They have also planted more than three million trees and converted nearly 20,000 acres of degraded land to sustainable farms, thus protecting 100,000 acres of tropical forest from slash and burn. Upon accepting the award in Minneapolis before her fellow RPCVs, Reed said, “It is a tremendous honor to receive the Sargent Shriver
Distinguished Humanitarian Award and one that I feel Sustainable Harvest International deserves. As for myself personally, I just consider myself very lucky to be accepting this award as the founder and president of the organization whose staff, volunteers, donors and program participants have been improving our world for the past 15 years. I am grateful for all they have done to further SHI’s mission and to my family for all that they do to help me continue my work.”
ceremony to present the Sargent Shriver Humanitarian Award and the Loret Miller Ruppe Awards. Rounding out the weekend, Sunday’s Annual General Meeting was an opportunity for our community to hear reports on what NPCA is doing and plans to do in the coming year. In the Group Leaders Forum that followed, representatives of NPCA member groups had a chance to compare notes and exchange ideas about the various facets of running a member group. And last
but not least, the weekend concluded with a Peace Corps Third Goal Expo. All in all, it was a great weekend! We hope even more people will join us next year for Peace Corps Connect: Boston 2013.
To learn about past Shriver Award winners, visit www.peacecorpsconnect.org/ about/awards/. Erica Burman (The Gambia 87-89) is the Director of communications for the National Peace Corps Association. Parts of this article previously were published on the NPCA Polyglot blog.
This story, adapted here, first appeared on the NPCA Polyglot blog. Erica Burman (The Gambia 87-89) is Director of Communications for the National Peace Corps Association. National Peace Corps Association
Giving Back by JoAnna Haugen Protecting Water Resources In International Communities
Advancing Healthcare In Paraguay
Pam Elardo (Nepal) founded Living Earth Institute in 1999 to address the problems linked to poor water resources and accessibility. Living Earth Institute works with communities around the world to protect their health and the environment through the sustainable use of water resources. The primary focus of the organization is the development of water supply and sanitation projects, but to do this, there is a biggerpicture focus on income generation training, micro-lending programs, literacy classes and other programs necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project. www. livingearth.org/index.html
George Ritz (Paraguay 82-86) and his wife, Sylvia, founded the Andrea Ritz Clinics in Paraguay in 1998. The nonprofit organization is meant to raise funds dedicated to building, supplying, staffing and maintaining rural health clinics in the country of Paraguay. These clinics provide basic healthcare where it has not been available in the past. In some cases, funds raised by the organization are used to improve infrastructure that directly impacts basic, healthful living conditions. Two clinics have been opened, and three additional clinics will open in 2012. www.facebook.com/ paraguayclinics; firstname.lastname@example.org
RECENT ACHIEVEMENTS OF OUR COMMUNITY AFGHANISTAN Orchard Park, NY, teacher and athletic director Anthony Agnello (72-74) received the 2011 Touchdown for Teachers grand prize. He was honored for the 40 years he has dedicated to education. Agnello continues to work on a number of projects related to Afghanistan, where he served in the Peace Corps. His student organization, Educational Outreach, in partnership with Friends of Afghanistan, substantially supported SOLA, which supports the construction of six schools for girls throughout the country. In addition, the organization is working with a steering committee of military mothers to send boxes of school supplies to Afghanistan.
by JoAnna Haugen
ARGENTINA Katie Hammond (92-94) was recently appointed superintendent of Valley Forge National Historical Park. Her interest in working with the National Park Service started with a summer as a seasonal ranger at Denali National Park in Alaska. From there, she spent summers at Walden Pond in Massachusetts and Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico as a park ranger, and at the Amistad National
Recreation Area in Texas as chief of interpretation. Hammond was an interpretive planner at the Harpers Ferry Center in Denver and a project manager at the Denver Service Center. She was a Bevinetto Legislative Fellow in Washington, D.C., and superintendent at the Little Bighorn National Monument in Montana as well. BARBADOS Carla Stoffle (67-67), dean of libraries at the University of Arizona, has been awarded the Joseph W. Lippincott Award. She has worked in this position for the last two decades. Prior to this, Stoffle worked at Eastern Kentucky University. The award is given annually to an individual who has provided distinguished service to the profession of librarianship. WorldView Fall 2012
selected as a mission specialist by NASA in 2004 and completed Astronaut Candidate Training in 2006. Acaba serves in the U.S. Marine Corps, Reserves, and was manager of the Caribbean Marine Research Center at Lee Stocking Island in the Exumas, Bahamas, at one point in time.
COLOMBIA Joan McKniff (63-64) was invited to the commemorative event marking the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War on Memorial Day in Washington, D.C., as a distinguished guest. She served in Vietnam with the Red Cross from 1966-67.
COTE d’IVOIRE Alrick A. Brown (00-02) has been awarded a New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award for his contribution to education through films. A graduate of Rutgers and New York University, Brown has given many students the opportunity to be involved with his filmmaking. His first feature film, “Kinyarwanda,” won the 2011 Sundance World Cinema Audience Award and received three NAACP Image Award nominations. Brown’s next directing project is a film called “My Manz and Em,” an adaptation of author JM Benjamin’s novel of the same name. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Joseph Acaba (94-96) launched into space on May 14 for a four-month tour of duty aboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft as part of the team for Mission 31/32 to the International Space Station. He was 44
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ECUADOR AND WASHINGTON, DC Howard Dodson, Jr. is the new director of the Howard University Libraries and its flagship MoorlandSpingarn Research Center. In April 2010, Dodson retired from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City after 25 years of work. In July 2011, he became a consultant to the Howard system. Dodson was a member of the commission that recommended building the National Museum of African American History and Culture and a former consultant to the National Endowment for the Humanities.
GUATEMALA Jeanne E. McKay (95-97) originally trained in international studies specializing in community development and sustainable resources use. After working for the Rainforest Alliance’s Sustainable Agriculture program, she received her master’s degree in the UK where she also worked for the IUCN/ SSC Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force as the international coordinator and as a consultant for the NGO Conservation International. A research associate at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), McKay is currently living in Indonesia where she is the DICE project manager for a UK Government Darwin Initiative conservation project based in West Sumatra.
HONDURAS Leah Laxamana (06-08) is one of the recipients of the 2012 Monarch Leadership Awards by the Pacific Asian American Women Bay Area Coalition in San Francisco. She took part in a leadership development and academic program with the National Urban Fellows, this summer and is doing a nine-month mentorship with a nonprofit organization in this fall. MALAYSIA Gretchen Robinette (68-69) was honored as one of the most outstanding women from South Pasadena, Calif., by Rep. Adam Schiff. She was a teacher and librarian throughout most of her professional career, and upon her retirement a decade ago, she joined her husband’s CPA firm, where she is now the office manager. Robinette serves on the Board of Directors for the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation, chairs the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee and serves as a Chamber of Commerce Ambassador. She also serves as a board member for Women Involved in South Pasadena Political Action. MOROCCO University of Arkansas has hired Peter Cruz (04-06) as head volleyball coach. His prior positions include assistant coach at The American University, assistant coach at the University of West Alabama and head coach at Cape Fear Community College. He has also coached nine club programs throughout North Carolina, Alabama and Washington, D.C. In addition, Cruz was the head coach for the U.S. Marine Corps men’s volleyball team from 2008-10 and the All-Armed National Peace Corps Association
Forces team in the World Military Volleyball Championships in Germany. Cruz is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. MOROCCO Neal Gottlieb (02-03) founded Three Twins Ice Cream seven years ago. Today, the company has four scoop shops in Northern California, a wholesale operation, a factory in Petaluma, 49 employees and the most expensive sundae in the world (the $3,333.33 banana split).
taught education and psychology classes and directed the Emporia State Honors Program and the 1992 Kansas Regents Honors Academy. He served as chair of the Department of Psychology and Special Education, and as associate dean and interim dean of The Teachers College. Weaver is currently the president of the Kansas Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina and his doctorate degree from Columbia University.
NIGER The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service has hired Dr. Steven Seefeldt (76-79) as the new agriculture and horticulture agent in the Tanana District Office. Seefeldt has worked as an agronomist for the Agricultural Research Service in Fairbanks and rangeland scientist for the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station. He has his master’s degree from Texas Tech University and his doctorate degree from Washington State University.
PHILIPPINES The Independent Publishers Association awarded the book Answering Kennedy’s Call: Pioneering the Peace Corps in the Philippines with an IPPY Peacemaker Award. It was one of ten books chosen from more than 5,000 entries. Parker W. Borg, Maureen J. Carroll, Patricia MacDermot Kasdan and Stephen W. Wells (61-63) are the editors of the book, which is a collection of 110 essays from members of the first Peace Corps cohort to the Philippines in 1961, early staff and Filipino friends.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA Jeremy Burm (99-00) is the new principal of Hamilton Primary School. He worked as a math teacher and math coach. Burm most recently served as assistant principal at Seach School and also assisted the central office staff.
SIERRA LEONE Peter Andersen (79-82) recently received the 2012 Charles J. Turck Global Citizen Award from his alma
mater, Macalaster College. Since 2003 he has been working for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, an international criminal tribunal. THAILAND, WASHINGTON D.C. Dr. Mervyn F. Silverman (Thailand 65-67, Washington D.C. 67-68) received an honorary doctor of science degree from Washington and Lee University. Silverman, one of the nation’s leading authorities on AIDS, has worked in public health and preventative medicine for more than 40 years. Silverman was director of health for the city and county of San Francisco, served as director of the Robert Wood Johnson AIDS Health Services Program and was president and national spokesperson for the American Foundation for AIDS Research. UKRAINE Cristina T. Lopez-O’Keeffe’s (03-05) essay “Mama Esta Trabajando” has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stay-at-Home-Moms. The mother of three attended the University of Pennsylvania and is also the author of Finding Francis, a short self-published book. Her poetry has also appeared in a number of anthologies, and she is currently working on Bunny Was a Horse, a chapbook of poems.
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PHILIPPINES Dr. Ken Weaver (73-75) has been named as the new dean of The Teachers College at Emporia State University. He has been with the university for 26 years and is currently associate dean of the college. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Weaver has www.PeaceCorpsConnect.org
American University, College of Arts & Sciences 15 American University, School of International Affairs 17,19 American University, School of Public Affairs 13 Antioch University 29 Brandeis University, Heller School 7 Bryn Mawr College 21 Clark University 5 Columbia University, Teachers College 2 The Evergreen State College 10 George Mason University, School of Public Policy 37 Indiana University, SLIS 41 Indiana University, SPEA 31
Johns Hopkins University, Postbacc Premed 27 Johns Hopkins University, School of Nursing Cover 2, page 1 Lesley University 39 Monterey Institute of Int’l Studies 9 RPCVs of Wisconsin, Madison 22,23 Temple University, Postbacc Premed 33 Texas A&M University, Bush School of Management 29 Tufts University, Fletcher School 11 UMBC, Department of Public Policy 35 Western Illinois University, Peace Corps Fellows 37 World Learning/SIT 13
WorldView Fall 2012
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Published on Jan 13, 2013
Published on Jan 13, 2013
WorldView magazine is a 25-year-old quarterly magazine of news and commentary about the Peace Corps world, the only magazine dedicated to br...