Monday, April 06, 2009

Help the Dialacoto Health Workers Association

It seems that I have left Senegal, but Senegal has not yet left me.  A "Peace Corps Partnership Project" which I had been working on since last August with my volunteer neighbor Hawa Ba has finally been approved.  Which means that the Powers That Be in Peace Corps have decided that it's a worthwhile project, posted it online, and we can now solicit funds for it from friends, family, and the public. 

A little background: Peace Corps Partnerships is one of the primary ways for Volunteers to get funding for projects.  It's supposed to be a little more formal and legit than Volunteers just asking their friends and family to send them money - the project has to be vetted by Peace Corps to ensure it's a good project, and all donations are tax-deductible, like giving to any charity.  This particular project is to help a Health Workers Association in the Dialacoto area where my village is located, get some supplies to extend their health education, sanitation, and income generating projects.  The funds will go toward getting each member of the association a bicycle to use to travel to villages in the area where they work (which especially benefits the women members, by the way, as they are the least likely to own or have access to a bicycle), and to buying supplies like shovels and rakes, which will be used to keep the villages clean and for gardening activities like the mango orchard they started last year.  You can read more details about the project here

I didn't start working on this project until I'd been in my village for over a year because I wanted to make sure that any big projects that I did would be things that would really be useful and would benefit the community.  And I wanted the idea for a project to come from someone in the community, rather from me, in order to ensure that it was something people really wanted.  So this project was finally proposed to me last August by the president of the Health Workers Association, and the Association is contributing 25% of the funds for the project, so I feel pretty confident that this is something that people really want and that will be useful.

So that is my spiel.  Please consider contributing whatever you feel comfortable with.