Afghanistan, Bolivia, Jamaica, Malawi, Lesotho, Togo
By JoAnna Haugen on Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
Kevin McNamara is helping to train National Guard teams in agribusiness development, including the proper use of fertilizers and pest management. The teams then provide training and resources to Afghan farmers in order to help them improve productivity by using fertilizer and water more effectively and manage post-harvest activity better. They have also helped start an agriculture school in Afghanistan. McNamara is an agriculture economist from Purdue University.
Elizabeth McGee Gore (03-05) recently completed a seven-day climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro. She accompanied a handful of celebrities and activists who climbed to raise awareness about and money for water crisis related organizations, including Children’s Safe Drinking Water, the U.N.’s refugee agency and PlayPumps International. Gore is the U.N. Foundation’s executive director of global partnerships and the Nothing But Nets campaign. She served as an educator on the climb to help convey the importance of ready sources of clean water.
After serving in the Peace Corps, Stacia and Kristof Nordin (97-00, 00-04) decided to make Malawi their home, and they are using the opportunity to educate Malawians about the possibilities of growing indigenous vegetables and crops. Stacia works for the Malawi Health Ministry, educating policymakers and citizens about the importance of indigenous vegetables and permaculture to ensure people receive proper nutrition. As a result, the Nordins have planted more than 200 varieties of indigenous vegetables around their home, which they hope will show their neighbors there is no single crop that is better than others.
Mike Breeding (87-91) and his wife, Selloane, are currently working on adopting four children from Lesotho, ages five through 12. The children are Selloane’s extended family members who were left without anyone to care for them when their caregiver, Selloane’s sister, died of AIDS. Breeding is a bus driver and his family currently lives in a two-bedroom house, but with help from the community, he hopes to remodel the basement and raise enough money to bring the kids to the United States and pay for all the adoption fees.
Returned volunteers Megan Adcock (05-07), Jeff Finkelman (05-07), Connor Hannigan (06-08), Deborah Lithander (05-07) and Jeff Locke (05-07) have created The UNITE Foundation, a nonprofit organization based out of Washington, D.C., in response to the difficulty of finding financial support for youth programs in Togo. The foundation supports Camp UNITE, an educational life skills camp that volunteers coordinate with local nonprofit organizations. The program, which has about 180 participants each year, brings Togolese students and apprentices from different ethnic groups together to build positive relationships through team building activities while providing training on important skills related to topics such as gender equity and HIV/AIDS education. The camps also train approximately 40 Togolese teachers and apprentice owners annually, who lead instructional classes at the camps and take the skills they learn back to their communities. The UNITE Foundation is currently coordinating a benefit run with Johns Hopkins University and partnering with Elikeh Afropop (a Washington, D.C.-based band that combines rhythms from Togo with 70s Afrofunk) for a charity concert this spring.