Peace Corps Uganda Day of Service 50th Anniversary Event
By Abad Allawi on Friday, April 22nd, 2011
Although the March 1 milestone of Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary year is behind us, celebrations are continuing both here in the U.S. and abroad. (See the official NPCA /Peace Corps calendar.) Nicole Fiol, a current Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) who is also part of the NPCA Serving Volunteer Advisory Council and a former NPCA advocacy intern, was excited to share with us what PCVs worked on in Lweza, Uganda during a Day of Service event commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps. She sent us this account by fellow Volunteer David Harrison (Economic Development, Uganda 09-11):
On April 1st, over 120 current Volunteers, Trainees, Peace Corps Staff, and Returned Volunteers from every region of Uganda gathered at St. Gyavira Primary School in the village of Lweza near the capital city of Kampala to celebrate 50 years of Peace Corps service worldwide and nearly 30 years of Peace Corps in Uganda. St. GyaviraPrimary School, which currently serves as the center of learning of over 450 primary school students, had been in dire need of repair and renovation in order to cater to the needs of its students. This Day of Service, which was organized by a committee of Volunteers, was organized to rehabilitate the school facilities, provide a networking opportunity for current volunteers, and acknowledge Peace Corps’ recent anniversary.
Community Health and Economic Volunteers, who comprise the majority of Uganda’s 150+ Volunteers, worked with students and teachers on a wide variety of tasks: building a Peace Garden to give students a place to relax and study; painting classrooms and dormitories; organizing a campus-wide waste-management system to reduce litter and beautify the grounds; repairing the school’s dilapidated rainwater catchment system; designing and painting a student mural; and conducting Life Skills and Creative Expression classes with the school’s students. At the nearby Ranch on Jesus Primary School, more Volunteers and staff members worked with faculty to construct a fuel-efficient, industrial-size rocket stove, which reduces the amount of firewood used to cook meals for students and eliminates much of the airborne pollution generated by traditional cooking methods. Education sector Volunteers conducted workshops on methodology development and the use of the Staff and Faculty Toolbox.
The Peace Corps first expanded into Uganda when 32 Volunteers arrived as secondary school teachers in November of 1964, three and a half years after President John F. Kennedy signed the executive order creating Peace Corps. During the subsequent decade, the operation grew rapidly until the political turmoil of Idi Amin’s presidency forced the program to shut down in 1973. Volunteers were finally welcomed back into the country after the presidency of Yoweri Museveni – himself educated by a Peace Corps Volunteer during his secondary school days – helped to stabilize the country in the late 1980’s and early 90’s. The programs has since run almost without interruption, save for a brief interruption in 1999 and 2000, and has grown to a current total of 167 Volunteers working in the Community Health, Economic Development, and Education sectors.
[Photo credits: Rebecca E. Workman. To see more photos of the day, visit her Flickr photostream.]
This September 23rd — as part of the official NPCA 50th Anniversary events — join NPCA in a day of service. The day will begin with an opening ceremony at one of the site locations in Washington, D.C. The final list of service locations will be provided the week before the event. Can’t join us in DC? Show your Peace Corps pride by participating in a service activity in your local or global community. If you are planning a service day outside of Washigton, D.C., we want to hear from you. We will be totaling the service hours for the day and circulating the information to the entire community. Registration is required for this event. Register here.