Working with women
Celebrating International Women's Day in Lesotho
Hoping to arrange something big for the International Women's Day (March 8th) Celebration, one PCV invited representatives from the Lesotho National Council of Women, the Federation of Women's Lawyers, the Lesotho Council of NGOs, the Peace Corps WID Committee, and many other grassroots organizations to help plan the event. Through a number of meetings and discussions, they decided to organize a "Fun Run" and a workshop on women's self-esteem, facilitated by leading women professionals. The workshop would serve to kick off a speakers series the following month.
Donations from local businesses provided refreshments, T-hirts, and cash prizes for the five fastest women and men in the run. The Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association organized the race course, clocking of runners, and traffic control.
The day was a tremendous success, with over 250 runners and walkers, over 50 percent of them women. The event, which included entertainment and a raffle, was covered on local TV and radio and increased support for women's athletics nationwide.
Organizing a Women's Action Week Seminar in Central African Republic
With financial backing from Peace Corps' Small Project Assistance program, a PCV and her counterparts organized a Women's Action Week Seminar. The purpose of the seminar was to teach village women important development skills and furnish them with the tools to improve their communities' standard of living.
The training sessions focused on specific techniques and consciousness-raising themes. Topics ranged from apiculture and health to the role of women in development and in effecting community change. Training materials were designed using materials developed by VITA and ICE. 28
Printing a Calendar of Outstanding Women in Lesotho
The Peace Corps/Lesotho Women In Development (WID) Committee and a group of local women held a discussion on self-esteem and empowerment. Concerned that rural school girls did not have a variety of female role models, they decided to develop a calendar spotlighting the achievements of 12 outstanding Basotho women who had been successful in nontraditional professions to emphasize that women today have many options available to them. Funded through Peace Corps Partnership and the Women in Development program in Peace Corps' Office of Training and Program Support (OTAPS), they printed the calendars and distributed them to selected schools.
The calendar was received with great enthusiasm and Peace Corps Partnership funded a second printing. This time, the calendars were distributed throughout the country, again free to schools, but sold to the Peace Corps Office, Lesotho National Council of Women, the Women in Business Office, the American Embassy, and village stores. Sales such as these may make it possible to print the calendar annually without the need for further funding.
Supporting a Women's Training Center in Yemen
Three PCVs working with the Society of Family Development in Yemen as their secondary activity helped secure a $10,000 SPA grant to build a workshop to train unemployed Yemeni women as sewing machine operators. The government of Japan had donated 30 sewing machines for this purpose. The Society was able to provide matching funds by having the women make and sell school uniforms and craft items.
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