Programs and Activities

Highlights from my first 6 months at post:

- Implementing malaria work through two bed net distributions around Adourekoman and a cross-sector distribution with Rebecca, an Environmental Action volunteer, in Odo-Otchere

Put your hands in the air for living malaria free!
- Launching a Care Group in Adourekoman. These 15 women meet weekly to discuss village health issues and share the information with other mothers in the community

- Training and working with my Amour et Vie Team to implement a peer educator approach to sexual health, malaria and other disease prevention

These kids are amazing!

- Discussing community development, the roles of women and human rights while building sand castles with all my village petits

- Teaching hand washing and disease prevention for Lassa Fever and other common diseases

Focusing intently on disease prevention! Our health starts with our clean hands!

- Talking global racism, American culture, politics and practicing conversational skills with Adourekoman's English Club

- Witnessing births, assisting in vaccination days and weighing (playing) with more babies than I can count. And fulfilling the infamous Peace Corps Goal Four with the birth of baby Charlotte!

Charlotte at 4 months!

- Picking cotton, harvesting beans, learning how to crochet, ecrasing pimant (and dealing with the aftermath of burning hands, face and eyes!), practicing Idaasha, riding motorcycles, visiting friends villages, celebrating funerals, dancing in large crowds of people, attending voodoo festivals and stargazing across the magical dark sky!

The cotton harvest brought me back to jumping in fall leaves and winter snow ball fights!

- Surviving Peace Corps Pre-Service Training and swearing in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer

Stage 28 Rural Community Health Volunteers Swear-In!

- Sharing my new home with my family, who came to visit in January, and everyone else who follows my experiences here!

From one side of the Atlantic Ocean to the other

- Meeting amazing, motivated and inspirational Volunteers, Host Country Nationals, Peace Corps Staff, Ex-Pats and tourists here in Benin. It is a joy to work with all of you!

Cheers to another 18 months in Benin!

The Job:

So, what exactly will I be doing in Benin?

Well, as a Rural Community Health Adviser, my projects will work to improve maternal and child health. I will be collaborating with other volunteer and community leaders to address issues such as malaria, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, hygiene and sanitation. Many of our initiatives begin with Care Group discussions and setting up these groups will be one of my first tasks in Benin.

The new Peace Corps Application Process allows you to apply directly to open positions in countries that the Peace Corps serves.  Since I did not apply under this new system, and instead chose for the PC to send me anywhere, I was thrilled to receive this nomination.  I think the job description is perfect for my interests and I can't wait to get started!

Let Girls Learn 

First Lady Michelle Obama and the Peace Corps have partnered up to expand access to education for girls around the world.  The program, called Let Girls Learn, will be launched this year in 11 countries, including Benin.  There are countless challenges facing the 62 million girls worldwide that are not in school, but the goals of this collaboration are three-fold:

1. Empowering Leaders: The initiative will aim to train thousands of Volunteers and tens of thousands of community leaders over the next six years to be champions of girls’ education.

2. Working Hand in Hand with Communities: Peace Corps Volunteers collaborate with local leaders to achieve community-based solutions through the Peace Corps Partnership Program. From helping establish a school library to organizing a technology camp for girls, the newly established Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund will support Peace Corps Volunteers’ efforts.

3. Increasing the Impact of Peace Corps Volunteers: Peace Corps Volunteers work to break down the barriers to girls’ education in the communities they serve. Through Let Girls Learn, the Peace Corps will expand the number of Volunteers directly promoting girls’ education and empowerment. Activities for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers will engage the American public, extending that impact even further.

For more information about this campaign, please check out the Let Girls Learn website and watch the campaign video, featuring Michelle Obama, above.

Stay tuned for more #LetGirlsLearn updates!

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