Part two - A sampling of activities
In previous chapters we described in detail seven different examples of Peace Corps Volunteers who successfully developed secondary activities as part of their Peace Corps service. Our interest was to show how they did it - who originated the idea; how the activity got started; who did what; the problems that arose; and how they were resolved.
If our analysis seemed to suggest that the process is more important than the activities themselves, the sampling in this chapter should show that both are important.
To make reading easier, we have grouped the activities into 12 different categories - Appropriate Technology and Energy; Arts and Entertainment; Business; Construction; Environmental Education; Health Education; Literacy; Recreation for Children and Youth; Resource Centers and Libraries; Services for People with Special Needs; Volunteer and Vocational Training; and Work with Women. These categories are not mutually exclusive, however, and an activity that focuses on women in development may also help business, promote the arts, and use appropriate technology. For that reason, we suggest at least glancing at all the examples offered to stimulate your own thinking about what you'd like to do to enhance your Peace Corps experience.
Some of the activities were initiated by the PCVs themselves; they saw a need and came up with an answer that was personally appealing. Others were ongoing efforts started by local individuals and organizations to improve their communities, which PCVs joined either on their own initiative or at the behest of these community groups.
You should understand that in selecting these activities, we intended to give you an idea of the types and variety of activities, not to do a survey of what interests Volunteers the most. That "Business" seems the most popular is understandable: People assume that income-generation can make a large and immediate difference in their lives; it is also a prime motivation for getting people to participate in an activity and to continue to do so after the Volunteer has left.
With respect to Environmental Education and Work with Women, however, while these undoubtedly are popular themes, their visibility in our sample also reflects the materials we had at hand - copies of The Exchange and case studies of Peace Corps projects prepared by the Environment Sector. The same is true of the Volunteers' role in fund-raising: Its prominence in our sample reflects the source of our information, not its importance as a secondary activity. Much of our information came from SPA and Peace Corps Partnership files, which consist of PCV applications for assistance. While Volunteers do get involved in fund-raising because of their contacts and perceived expertise, they are encouraged to rely as much as possible on local resources so that communities can learn to help themselves.
In our sample, we have included every region, but not necessarily every country in which Volunteers serve. Were we taking a Gallup-type poll, we're sure that every Peace Corps country would have success stories to add to our list. Still, our examples do show what's possible when PCVs put their talents to work.
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