Arts & entertainment
Creating a Museum of Living Nature in Hungary
A PCV assigned to the town of Vac in Hungary wanted to learn more about local culture and made several visits to the "Cultural House." After getting to know the people involved, she became interested in their desire to create a museum of living things.
They wanted to acquire new specimens and exhibit them on a mobile display to schools around the area. Unfortunately, no money was available to construct the display cases. As a result of the PCV's proposal to Peace Corps' Small Project Assistance program, the project was awarded a grant large enough to make the Museum of Living Nature a reality before she ended her tour of service.
Educating the Community through Theater in Benin
Meeting with local health, school, and community leaders, a PCV in Benin discussed an idea she had of using drama as a tool for community development. With their support, she organized a meeting for anyone in her rural community interested in planning an evening of entertainment providing education on such topics as health, AIDS, education, and women's issues.
The idea took hold, and a seven-member advisory committee was formed, with the director of the social center serving as facilitator. An acting troupe of 12 members rehearsed its first production, which premiered on International Women's Day.
Although the PCV had been concerned that the villagers would not accept nor be interested in the presentations, over 400 people attended the premiere. The advisory committee unanimously decided to continue to plan presentations with smaller troupes of actors traveling to 12 rural villages to perform mini-sketches every other week, reaching an audience of over 5,000 people. These performances not only entertained and educated the community, but also served to assess community needs and determine possible solutions.
Establishing a Radio Station in Albania
From reading the news in English on the local radio station to becoming the news anchor on television, one TEFL Volunteer is now moving ahead another step in bringing the world to Albania. At the request of the Tirana mayor and a hotel director, he is starting the first independent FM radio station in the country.
An experienced broadcaster in the U.S., the PCV will be teaching and training Albanians to operate the station. The International Media Fund in Washington, D.C., has agreed to provide up to $25,000 for the project, and the PCV has already received support from his former colleagues, who have sent him information about the equipment and expenses required to get the station underway.
Organizing a Community Fair in Mauritania
A PCV from a rural community in Iowa decided to try a favorite event from home - a county fair - as a way to promote regional products and exchange information about improving agriculture, health, and craft techniques. Though it had never been tried in Mauritania, she was able to rally all the PCVs in her area, her APCD, and local leaders to participate in the one-day event. The fair was an overwhelming success with over 20 organized exhibits, displays, demonstrations, crafts, and vaccinations for children. It proved so successful that it was adopted by the Mauritanians as an annual event.
Painting a World Map on School Walls in the Dominican Republic
This activity, now famous in Peace Corps, was started by an Environmental Education PCV in the Dominican Republic, who discovered that very little material was available to teach Dominican students geography. Using a world map from the National Geographic, simple geometry, some paint, and a group of enthusiastic students and teachers, this creative PCV transformed a barren school auditorium wall into a colorful and educational world map.
The activity's simplicity is half its success, as it has been reproduced in nearly all the countries where Peace Corps Volunteers serve. PCVs have adapted the idea to suit their particular communities by introducing creative color schemes and innovative labeling techniques. The PCV who developed this idea wrote a manual describing the project in full, and as an RPCV, she has continued to conduct workshops on making world maps. Her manual has since been revised and published by Peace Corps' Information Collection and Exchange. Also, World Wise Schools is incorporating her material into a Study Guide for teachers to instruct their students in mathematics, geography, cultural anthropology and the many other subjects that map-making applies to.
Practicing English at the Drama Festival in Hungary
Two creative and ambitious PCVs have begun an annual Drama Festival in Vac, Hungary, which helps secondary-school students use their newly learned English in an entertaining way. Planning for the event begins months in advance, with the PCVs coordinating and encouraging schools to prepare and practice their presentations.
Over one thousand students from four regions of Hungary and neighboring Slovakia and Romania participated in the first round of the competition. The final round was held two weeks later, with the Peace Corps staff and the U.S. Ambassador serving as judges for over 100 productions.
Teaching Children to Play the Piano in Micronesia
Once her Micronesian friends discovered she was a former piano teacher, one PCV was overwhelmed with requests to give children piano lessons. Besides learning how to play the piano, her students learned about American culture through music.
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