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Peace Corps Times_ Winter 2006 - Peace Corps

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                                                                                                                                                               winter 2006


        Life Skills Manual: Education With a Message
           As the HIV/AIDS pandemic con-                     “It was the biggest mistake I ever
        tinues to ravage countries across the             made as a Peace Corps Volunteer,”
        globe, prevention and care are becom-             Callahan said. “They were so offended
        ing an important part of many Peace               that they weren’t even listening any-
        Corps Volunteers’ assignments. Cur-               more.”
        rently, 2,600 Volunteers are working                 She quickly redirected the presen-
        in HIV/AIDS—the highest number                    tation to focus on healthy lifestyles
        ever. And as more Volunteers take on              and behavior change. Soon after, the
        this important task, many are turning             Life Skills concepts were born.
        to the Life Skills Manual.                           Because the Life Skills Manual fo-
           The Life Skills Manual works to                cuses on decision-making skills, Vol-
        bridge the gap between information                unteers can use the manual’s concepts
        and behavior change in educating                  in communities where cultural taboos
        communit ies about                                             prevent frank discussions
        HIV/AIDS. The man-
        ual offers lesson plans,
                                      You need to                      of HIV/AIDS. In addition
                                                                       to providing information
        games, and exercises           frame the                       about prevention, the
        to engage communities                                          manual also offers a way
        and discuss the effects       materials to                     to help Volunteers en-
        of HIV/AIDS.
           Returned Volunteer
                                     the people so                     courage positive behavior
                                                                       change in their host com-
        K athy Callahan de-
        veloped the Life Skills
                                       they really                     munities.
                                                                          “Affecting behavior
        Manual when she was             feel it is                     change takes a long time,”
        an HIV/AIDS Volun-                                             said Praya Baruch, who
        teer in Malawi from           about them                       works in the Peace Corps’
        1996-98. As a district                                         Office of AIDS Relief.
        AIDS coordinator, Callahan was                    The trust Volunteers build over their
        responsible for training community                two years in host communities begins
        leaders in prevention and education.              the process that, hopefully, leads to
        But her first attempt was far from                lasting change.
        successful.                                          The Life Skills Manual helps
           After assembling a group at the                communities build “planks” in the
        local AIDS center, Callahan and her               bridge from information to behavior
        colleagues began a frank presentation             change, by providing them with skills
        about sexual health. Her audience was             and confidence to make better and
                                                                                                       Peace Corps Volunteer Mary McCoy and her collagues in Tonga prepare
        not pleased.                                      healthier decisions. It also focuses on
                                                                                                     materials that will be used for discussions on HIV/AIDS in her host community.
                                                                 building values to help people
                                                                 who might fall off the bridge to
    volunteers then & now                                        a healthier life.
                                                                    “There was something about
                                                                                                        Although originally developed for
                                                                                                    use in African posts, the Life Skills
                                                                                                                                              and facilitated its translation into
                                                                                                                                              the local languages of Ukrainian and
    by sector
                                                                 the bridge model that resonat-     Manual is highly adaptable to any         Russian.
                                                                 ed with people,” Callahan said.    country or age group.                        “For any country, you need to
                                                                 She would often find copies of         Volunteers can use the Life Skills    frame the materials to the people so
                                                                 the bridge, photocopied from       Manual in men’s and women’s clubs,        they really feel it is about them,” said
                                                                 the Life Skills Manual, on the     religious groups, and with the elderly    Petrozzola.
                                                                 walls of schools and churches      and teenagers. The manual is avail-          But no matter how it is adapted,
                                                                 in her district.                   able in Peace Corps’ Online Library       most Volunteers who work with HIV
                                                                    The concept was so popu-        in English, French, and Swahili.          activities agree that trying to get the
                                                                 lar that UNICEF funded its             In addition, many Volunteers take     messages across is the most impor-
common sectors                                                   expansion. The manual also         the Life Skills Manual and adapt it       tant aspect of HIV/AIDS training.
     Education   Health      Agriculture      Other              attracted attention at Peace       for their host country’s culture and      Callahan, who lost many Malawian
additional
sectors 1963
                 Rural
                 Community
                             Urban            Public Works       Corps headquarters, where,         traditions. Returned Volunteer and        friends to AIDS, said the legacy of
                 Action                                          in 2002, staff edited it and       now Deputy Country Director for           the manual is its reach in Peace Corps
additional       Business    Environment      Youth
sectors 2005                                                     added a section on the biology     Ukraine Helen Petrozzola felt that        posts throughout the world. Years
                                                                 of the disease. In 2003, the       some of the African images and ac-        later, her memories from Malawi
1963                                                             new edition received the “Best     tivities would send the wrong message     drive her in her work as an HIV/AIDS
                                                                 Practices” recognition from the    to a Ukrainian audience that AIDS is      education trainer.
2005                                                             United Nations Educational,        an Africa-only problem. So, during           “The hope and the strength of that
                                                                 Scientific and Cultural Organi-    her service she adapted the manual,       community is why AIDS is still my
0           20       40      60            80          100       zation.                            titling it “Sound Mind, Sound Body,”      passion,” she said.
 BEHIND THE VoluNTEEr


Peace Corps Cam: A Glimpse at Volunteer Life
                                                                                    Word gets out quickly in the open           On a recent shoot in Ukraine,
                                                                                markets of the world when Peace             covering the Peace Corps’ largest
                                                                                Corps Volunteers come shopping. Just        program, video production manager
                                                                                imagine, then, the stir caused by a Vol-    Karen Chaput led a five-person crew
                                                                                unteer with a camera crew in tow.           to collect material for use in HIV/
                                                                                    Though it’s not quite Hollywood,        AIDS and recruitment videos and
                                                                                some Volunteers get a chance to “star”      photographs. Filming for a week, and
                                                                                in Peace Corps-produced photo and           often visiting two sites a day, the shoot
                                                                                video shoots. By talking about their        involved a well-orchestrated collabo-
                                                                                experiences on camera, these Vol-           ration among the country staff, the
                                                                                unteers pique the interest of future        crew, and headquarters.
                                                                                applicants and help explain in a very           Creating these visuals also takes
                                                                                real way what it’s like to volunteer. Al-   a tremendous amount of logistical
                                                                                most anyone who has had an inkling          effort from the Volunteers themselves.
                                                                                to join the Peace Corps has searched        For instance, Kate Tyler of Monroe
                                                                                for testimonials or images that can         Center, Ill., could not have imagined
                                                                                help describe the Peace Corps experi-       that during a group discussion with
                                                                                ence. Especially in today’s connected       her students, the local municipality
                                                                                society, those interested in joining the    would decide that now was the time
                                                                                Peace Corps want to see Volunteers          to start digging a new road. Some-
                                                                                making a difference before commit-          times, schedules do not coincide. For
                                                                                ting two years of their lives to serve in   instance, being able to find a room full
                                                                                another country.                            of students to film—when the campus
                                                                                    The Peace Corps Office of Com-          is on fall break—is challenging at best.
                                                                                munications makes this possible             And having your site be a featured
                                                                                by collecting photos and footage of         backdrop probably didn’t occur to
                                                                                Volunteers, which they turn into            Adam Howell of Lebanon, Tenn.,
                                                                                recruitment videos, marketing bro-          whose modest home—which sits next
                                                                                chures, and website content. Headed         to the neighbor’s chicken coop—was
                                                                                by Richard Parker, the Office of Com-       featured in a recent shoot.
                                                                                munications is the creative arm of the          At one typical stop, Volunteer
                                                                                Peace Corps, and its staff includes         Vanessa Villalva of Austin, Texas, met
                                                                                a video/photo production team; an           the crew outside a scenic park in her
Nicole Zdrojewski walks the market in her host community in Ukraine while a     editorial, design, and print produc-        host community with a friend and
Peace Corps cameraman films her community interactions for an agency video.     tion team; a marketing team; and a          one of her students. After scoping out
                                                                                Web team.                                   the area, a place off a major walkway
                                                                                                                                            Continued on back page
       DIrEcTor’s forum

    In March, the Peace Corps will      to visit Afghanistan. There, I had a
celebrate 45 years of Volunteer         meeting with the Afghan deputy
legacies—beginning when the first       prime minister and minister for
group entered Ghana in 1961 and         women’s affairs, Sima Samar. I was
continuing with our newest program      going to talk about the Peace Corps
in Mexico. Pause for a moment to        and share the concept, the vision,
grasp the magnitude of lives im-        and the mission of the Peace Corps.
pacted by over 182,000 Volunteers,      Mid-conversation, she stopped me
and you will begin to put into per-     and said, “Mr. Director, you don’t
spective the enormity of the work       have to tell me about the Peace
you are doing to better the lives of    Corps. It was Peace Corps Volun-
others.                                 teers who taught me English the last
    The theme for the 45th anni-        time the Peace Corps was here in
versary celebration is “A legacy of     Afghanistan.”
service at home and abroad.” As             As an agency, the Peace Corps
we compiled legacy stories from         has much to celebrate this year.
                                                                                 Director Vasquez discusses Crisis Corps’ response in the Gulf States to Hurricane
every post to mark the occasion,        Peace Corps continues to expand,
                                                                                   Katrina with Volunteer Matthew Koltermann, who first served in Kenya ‘02-04.
the results were extraordinary—and      and meet the needs of our host
everything I have come to expect        countries. Currently, 7,810 Volun-      ensure residents could begin to put         there is a private hope and dream
from Volunteers. From teaching          teers serve in 75 countries, the        their lives back together.                  which, fulfilled, can be translated
future world leaders to establish-      highest number in 30 years. We also         Today, in the new millennium,           into benefit for everyone.”
ing libraries and schools to helping    made the decision to work domesti-      the Peace Corps’ mission and the               Whether you are a trainee new
others create their own successful      cally for the first time. In response   legacies you leave are more vital           to your country or entering your
business, people will remember          to Hurricane Katrina, Volunteers        than ever for building bonds of             third year of service, always be
your efforts. During my travels, I      like Ballard Krudop, whose New Or-      friendship across an ever-global            aware of the legacy you leave and
am always honored to meet those         leans house was flooded, and Mat-       world, and for finding common ways          how far reaching it will be. And let
who have benefitted from the hard       thew Koltermann put the needs of        to address new global challenges,           us begin creating legacies for the
work of Peace Corps Volunteers          others ahead of their own lives. And    like HIV/AIDS.                              next 45 years.
like yourself.                          when the 9th Ward of New Orleans            In the now immortal words of
    For example, when I traveled        was ready to reopen, a team of Cri-     President John F. Kennedy, whose
for the first time as director of the   sis Corps Volunteers answered the       vision you help achieve across the
Peace Corps, I had the opportunity      call to staff the disaster center and   globe every day: “In each of us,
CAPE VERDE
Innovative approaches to
fighting HIV/AIDS
   Peace Corps Volunteer Jacob Cul-
                                                              Notes                                                              El SAlVADoR
                                                                                                                                 overcoming Katrina
                                                                                                                                     When Sarah Pattison casually left
                                                                                                                                 her New Orleans home in August, she
len and other Cape Verde Volunteers                                                                                              figured it would be for three days—at
have been helping generate youth                                                                                                 the most— and just a minor delay on
interest in a contest called Scenarios                                                                                           her road to Peace Corps staging and El
from Africa.                                                                                                                     Salvador. Yet, as the water kept rising,
   The contest calls upon youth across                                                                                           and her family home filled with foot
Africa to create stories for short films                                                                                         upon foot of water, it became clear that
on HIV/AIDS. Winning ideas are then                                                                                              if she wanted to become a Peace Corps
turned into awareness-raising films by                                                                                           Volunteer, she would be departing
some of Africa’s best directors, which                                                                                           without seeing her home again.
help curb the spread of HIV and im-
prove the lives of those most directly
affected by the virus.
                                              from the field                                                                         Arriving at her staging with donated
                                                                                                                                 supplies and clothing—all from friends
                                                                                                                                 and those who had heard of her situa-
   In Cape Verde, 235 young people                                                                                               tion—Pattison said she had to continue
submitted entries. Five of the nine        VANUATU                                    PANAMA                                     with what she wanted to do. While she
regional winners came from Sao Do-         An ingenious solution for                  Presidential visit                         knew most of her possessions had been
mingos, where Jacob had mobilized          those without electricity                                                             destroyed and that she would probably
the youth entries. Overall, there were                                                   During his visit to Panama in Novem-    never see them again, Pattison said the
20 national winners and one interna-           The coral reefs in the Nguna-Pele      ber, President George W. Bush praised      bottom-line was, “it is just stuff.” Though
tional winner from Cape Verde, 13-         Marine Protected Area of Vanuatu           Peace Corps Volunteers for “working        she initially had some concern about
year-old Pedro Tavares D. Vieira. The      were dying. Pollution from disposed        on the front lines of humanity.”           whether she should leave, friends,
Scenarios from Africa films are dubbed     batteries dumped in the sea were de-          The President and First Lady Laura      family, and Peace Corps staff, includ-
into numerous African and European         stroying the marine habitat and killing    Bush met with Volunteers and staff at      ing Country Director Michael Wise (a
languages before they are distributed      the fish that live there.                  a reception at the U.S. Embassy in Pan-    Mississippi native), encouraged her, so
noncommercially to community-based             But a project designed by Volun-       ama City. Discussing the Volunteers’       she followed her convictions. She said
organizations and to television stations   teer Chris Bartlett is harnessing the      work— especially in HIV/AIDS activi-       Peace Corps staff went out of their way
across Africa and beyond.                  power of solar energy to lessen the        ties, which the President’s Emergency      to make contact and ensure she did
                                           island’s dependency on battery power       Plan for AIDS Relief helps fund—the        not have any additional stress placed
MolDoVA                                    and to protect the nation’s coral reefs.   President and First Lady reaffirmed        upon her.
Internet access opens                      Through Bartlett’s help and those          their support for the Peace Corps.             Over the next two years, Pattison
possibilities for future                   of other Volunteers, the Recharge-         Currently, 151 Volunteers serve in         plans to keep in close contact with
                                           able Battery and Reef Rehab Project        Panama.                                    her family as they reclaim their lives.
    In Moldova, an innovative project      provides rechargeable batteries and           To commemorate President Bush’s         She hopes that when she returns from
will soon connect the Cahul region to      solar-powered battery chargers to          visit, Volunteers presented him with a     making a difference abroad, it will be to
important educational and business         villages throughout the area. Villagers    Peace Corps/Panama baseball cap.           a proud, rebuilt city.
opportunities found on the Internet.       can visit their local battery-charging
    Organized by Volunteers Mark and       outlet and recharge their batteries for
Chrissie Goldberg, the Connect Cahul       a significantly lower cost than buying
project brings affordable internet ac-     new batteries.
cess to more than 35 community cen-            Electricity is not widely available
ters in the southern region of Moldova.    to communities in Vanuatu, and many
The project raised money to purchase       villages depend on battery power to
and ship 400 computers from the U.S.       operate their everyday appliances.
to Moldova. Funding came from Peace        Before the project began, villagers
Corps’ Partnership Program, the U.S.       used as many as 12,000 batteries per
Embassy, and private donors.               year. Discarded batteries often ended
    Through the project, several Vol-      up in the coral reefs, where chemicals
unteers helped set up Internet cafes       seeped out and killed the reefs.
in their communities. These cafes will         “My Peace Corps experience has
benefit schoolchildren and small busi-     been a defining stage in my life as a
nesses. Young people interested in         scientist, but most importantly, as a
job opportunities abroad can use the       citizen of the world,” said Bartlett.
Internet to research their prospects           The project was one of 12 finalists
and hopefully discover opportunities       in the World Challenge competition,
that will prevent delinquent behavior.     sponsored by BBC World and News-
    Volunteers worked closely with         week (both of which featured the
their Moldovan counterparts and with       project), in association with Shell. The
the local and national government to       World Challenge competition aims to
complete the project. The last ship-       find individuals or groups from around
ment of computers is on its way to         the world who have shown enterprise
Moldova, and soon, all the Internet        and innovation at a grass roots level to   President and Mrs. Bush recently visited Volunteers in Panama, where President
cafes will be up and running.              help protect the earth.                    Bush praised the work of Volunteers in that country and across the globe.




  What’s the Difference?                   Sure, in our global society, it seems like American influence can be found almost anywhere.
                                           Yet, there will always be products indigenous to your host country that have staying power.
                                           Let us know, in a few paragraphs or in pictures, products or items that cannot be found in
                                           the United States—be it local delicacies or traditions. Our address is on the back page. We’ ll
                                           feature some of your entries in an upcoming issue.
                                                                                                                                    Video, cont’d.
                                                                                                                                    was chosen so people wouldn’t congregate



agency
                                                                                                                                    around the camera and the setting could
                                                                                                                                    stay as natural as possible. Filming usu-
                                                                                                                                    ally requires a few hours with plenty of




news
                                                                                                                                    takes and retakes. Often, several retakes
                                                                                                                                    are necessary for the Volunteer to rework
                                                                                                                                    the question asked off camera into an
                                                                                                                                    answer. (This is necessary because the
                                                                                                                                    interviewer will not appear in the final
                                                                                                                                    product.) Sometimes, the distractions—
Guatemala copes with                                                                                                                from background noises to unpredict-
Hurricane Stan                                                                                                                      able passersby—prevent a great response
    Peace Corps Volunteers have                                                                                                     from even being useable. And while most
rapidly responded to the devastation                                                                                                Volunteers do not mind signing a release
in Guatemala caused by mudslides               Kerry Robarge walks through a community devastated by Hurricane Katrina.             form, having all the local participants
related to Hurricane Stan.                                                                                                          understand and agree to the terms can
    Following the hurricane, many
Volunteers began reconstruction ef-
                                               Crisis Corps’ domestic response opens                                                be a time-consuming challenge, even
                                                                                                                                    when someone on staff has translated the
forts by working with disaster relief          a new chapter in Peace Corps history                                                 release into the local language.
off icials on damage assessment,                                                                                                        The logistical challenges faced by
assisting with relief operations, vol-           By Scott Martin, Katrina CCV            ent came in and was telling me where       the camera crew and the “on-air talent”
unteering at temporary shelters, and             This year marks the first time in       their two story 1800’s home—in her         are one hurdle, but there are additional
helping families repair homes.               the history of Peace Corps and Crisis       family for generations—once stood.         drawbacks to this “fame” for the featured
    For example, Volunteer Eric Black        Corps that we are working within the        Now, it is only a concrete slab. The       Volunteers. Volunteers work very hard to
was working on GPS/GIS satellite             borders of the U.S.                         house had been washed somewhere            integrate into their host communities.
navigation mapping projects before               FEMA asked Crisis Corps for Vol-        out to sea, taking all her personal        When a camera crew shows up to film an
the hurricane. When the disaster             unteers to help out in the enormous         belongings with it.                        interview or follow the Volunteer around,
struck, his maps were immediately            catastrophe effort that was left in             Crisis Corps is one of the op-         that Volunteer immediately becomes a
put into action. Rescue helicopters          the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the          tions that returned Volunteers have        curiosity all over again. This notoriety
used Black’s GPS system to deliver           worst natural disaster in recorded          when they return to their lives in the     can counter a Volunteer’s efforts to blend
food and supplies to remote areas            U.S. history.                               USA—and deal with reverse culture          in. “Trust me, they will remember me the
that were without aid for days. Black’s          The devastation here in coastal         shock.                                     next time I come back,” said Volunteer
written report—which included a              Mississippi is hard to describe. They           For me and many returned Vol-          Nicole Zdrojewski of Bel Air, Md.
detailed map and specific requests           say that the hurricane that came            unteers, this is the biggest problem I         But for all the Volunteers who par-
for resources—was recognized as an           through here was a “class 5,” wreak-        have dealt with here in the U.S. After     ticipate in these projects, the sense of
important document to help in the            ing havoc and leaving almost nothing        being overseas, working as a Volun-        knowing they have helped explain the
relief efforts and was applauded by          standing on beachfront property.            teer in a foreign country, I returned      Peace Corps experience long overshadows
Guatemalan President Oscar Berger.           From what I have seen, it may be in         and all my friends seemed to be differ-    a hard day’s work.
                                             the billions of dollars for reconstruc-     ent people than what I was expecting.
30 year high                                 tion costs.                                 They had changed, and inadvertently,               PArTING sHoT
   The agency has reached a 30-year              My job at the Disaster Recovery         I had too.                                     A brochure from Ukraine titled
high in the number of Volunteers in          Center is accessing the FEMA files for          If anyone needs help going through       “Being young is great” explains the
the field. The official count includes       the clients (victims) that come in. One     reverse culture shock, I recommend              advantages of avoiding STDs.
7,810 Volunteers serving in 75 coun-         day I dealt with clients all day, ranging   working in a volunteer status either
tries.                                       in time from 15 minutes to 2 hours.         in Crisis Corps, or somewhere else
   Ninety-six percent of Volunteers          All of them came to me in tears or          in a voluntary capacity—giving time




                                                                              ?
have at least a bachelor’s degree, with      broke into tears sometime during the        and efforts for the greater good of
13 percent having a master’s degree or       conversation. As an example, one cli-       mankind.
higher. Women comprise 58 percent
of all Volunteers. Seniors aged 50 and
over represent 6 percent of Volunteers,      l i f e         a f t e r           t h e      p e a c e           c o r p s


                                            What’s Next
with the average age of a Volunteer
being 28 years.

Donations on the rise


                                                                                                                                        Times
    Donations to the Peace Corps’
Partnership Program for Volunteer                It’s never too early to think about     overview of the field and extensive                       Peace Corps
sponsored projects continued to pour         the future, and you would be sur-           lists of leading organizations and their
in this past fiscal year, as over $1.25      prised at the resources available in        contact information.
million helped build everything from         country to help you decide on that              Volunteers bound for graduate               A publication for Peace Corps
                                                                                                                                         Volunteers serving worldwide
community resource centers to aq-            next step.                                  school should take advantage of the
ueducts. And this fiscal year, which             Many posts have a resource center,      career assessment tests to determine             Barbara Daly      Press Director
began in October, is off to a great start    and in it you’ll find information on        which field is appropriate for their
with over $318,000 already being             graduate programs, resume writing,          skills and browse the Graduate School           Nathan Arnold             Editor
                                                                                                                                         Amber Fox                 Writer
raised. To learn more about how your         and job options. Still deciding which       Guide with information on Peace                 Anjali Aiyappa            Writer
community’s project can qualify, visit       field is best for you? The Career Infor-    Corps’ Fellows/USA program and
www.peacecorps.gov/contribute.               mation Consultants manual lists 600         leading graduate programs.                      Do you have something
                                             professionals who are willing to meet           While still in the field, Volunteers
Bird flu update                                                                                                                          to share with us?
                                             with returned or current Volunteers.        can visit www.peacecorps.gov/index.
    The agency’s highest priority is             In addition, the Peace Corps            cfm/rpcv for complete information               We welcome all Volunteer
the safety and security of all Volun-        publishes five manuals on teaching,         on career resources and job listings            submissions or suggestions.
teers, so rest assured that should an        business, agriculture, environment,         through the Peace Corps’ Hotline e-             Inquiries may be made to:
outbreak of the avian flu occur, the         and international fields, offering an       newsletter.                                       Peace Corps Times
Peace Corps has contingency plans                                                                                                          c/o Press Office
in place. Peace Corps will continue to       The staff who compile these resource manuals value your input. So, if you have                1111 20th St NW
                                                                                                                                           Washington DC 20526
work with other government agencies         a suggestion or comment, drop a line to rvs@peacecorps.gov. The Returned Vol-                  or
to ensure the agency has the resources       unteer Services staff would enjoy hearing the best way to get you information.                pctimes@peacecorps.gov
necessary in an emergency situation.