Press Release: National Peace Corps Association Facilitates Google Tablet Donation to Departing Peace Corps Trainees
Washington, DC — February 24th, 2014 — Tablets will allow Volunteers to field-test hackathon-developed Android applications
In an innovative collaboration, the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) — the nation’s leading nonprofit organization connecting and championing Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps community — has begun distribution of 1,000 Nexus 7 tablets donated by Google for use by selected Peace Corps trainees about to depart the U.S. for assignments worldwide.
Once overseas, the tablets will allow for many different uses, including field-testing new Android-based project monitoring and evaluation applications inspired by Peace Corps Volunteers.
“We’re pleased to be able to help make this donation possible, knowing that it will enhance the efforts of Peace Corps Volunteers on the ground,” said Glenn Blumhorst, president of the National Peace Corps Association. “This is a prime example of a vital role the NPCA can play in engaging the private sector with the Peace Corps community.”
Google donated 1,000 Nexus 7 devices to the nonprofit NPCA to support Peace Corps field data collection efforts, including implementing the weReport platform that Jaron Reed — a food security Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala from 2010-2012 and now a graduate student at the University of Washington — developed as part of the Peace Corps Innovation Challenge.
“We’re excited to support the use of technology for social and environmental impact,” says Tanya Birch, Program Manager for Google Earth Outreach. “The potential for Peace Corps Volunteers to use tablets for mobile data collection enables them to better understand, and therefore serve, the populations in their mission countries.”
Julia Schulkers, an education Volunteer currently serving in Thailand, has also developed an “app” that shows great promise. Shulkers envisioned an easier way for Peace Corps Volunteers to collect the data that they use for project monitoring and evaluation: by entering it in real time using a mobile device. In May 2013, Schulkers submitted her problem-in-search-of-a-technological-solution, dubbed “RealTrack,” to Patrick Choquette, Director of the Office of Innovation for the Peace Corps. Choquette in turn championed the RealTrack problem at the Atlanta Random Hacks of Kindness hackathon held last June. Developer Neeraj Rao took up the challenge and spent months refining RealTrack on a pro bono basis.
“The beauty in all this is the collaboration,” said the Peace Corps’ Choquette. “Peace Corps Volunteers identifying issues on the ground, crowdsourcing the technical support from the American public, and using nonprofit and for-profit entities to deliver the resources.”
Distribution of the tablets began in January. The first tablets were given to a group of trainees headed to Schulker’s Thailand program. The remaining tablets will be distributed to selected trainee cohorts departing to 25 countries throughout the world over the next eight months.
About the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA)
Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is the nation’s leading 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization connecting and championing Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps community. It provides service and education opportunities that build on the Peace Corps experience, and is also the longest-standing advocate for an independent and robust Peace Corps. To learn more, visit: www.peacecorpsconnect.org
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