As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, I think about my time in Malawi a lot. I don’t think anyone can have such an experience without it affecting them throughout the rest of their lives – which is one of the reasons I wrote my book Vuto, inspired by my experiences in the country known as the Warm Heart of Africa.
My intention with the novel has always been two-fold:
- To open readers up to a culture and a people they may have never known about before.
- To give back to the Malawian people.
It’s time to kick that second purpose into gear!
Current Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs) are doing some fabulous work in-country right now, especially with initiatives aimed at youth and women. Two projects that particularly excite me are Go Girls! and Hope Kit:
Go Girls! Community Mobilization
According to PCV Tyler Walton, “HIV rates in Malawi are upwards of 10% of the population and the risk for contracting the virus is even higher among adolescent girls. These risks come from gender roles, gender-based violence, high dropout rates from school, economic inequalities, physiology of disease contraction, and many other factors. Go Girls! uses local youth groups to lead community mobilization meetings and facilitate community discussions on how to best address the issues in a locally appropriate manner. Our current project is targeting six villages and we hope to expand if our pilot project is successful. With this pilot we have the opportunity to reduce vulnerability for over 500 adolescent girls, increase rates of those completing school and reduce overall HIV rates in the local community. Every 20 cents can change the life of one girl.”
Hope Kit Training
“Hope Kit is an interactive training program that targets youth with HIV prevention messaging,” Walton explains. “We are hoping to do a training of trainers with two leaders from 10 different youth groups. These new trainers then go back to their communities and do out reaches with their youth groups, spreading valuable information about making healthy choices and avoiding contracting HIV. Peace Corps has already provided 10 Hope Kits for this training and we just need a small amount for additional supplies. This will be the second implementation of this project. In the first, eight other youth groups and two schools participated and in their community interventions they reached over 1,500 people! With 60,000 people in our catchment area, we know we can do more!”
I’m partnering with Tyler to make a difference. Today through July 4th, every dollar donated will earn the donor one entry to win a prize pack that contains an autographed copy of Vuto, a bookmark, tote bag, postcard and poster.
Not only that, but I will match every dollar donated as well.
Interested in participating? Send a donation to firstname.lastname@example.org through PayPal today.