Loret Miller Ruppe Award
Friends of Tanzania
Friends of Tanzania (FOT) is a non-profit charitable and educational organization that sends 100% of the donations from its members to help support projects in Tanzania. Each year FOT is able to send about $30,000 for 10 to 15 projects and an additional $15,000 is given for specific Member Designated projects. In the last 20 years FOT (see attached history) has sent $350,000.00 to help support over 250 community development projects on Tanzania. Projects include simple water/sanitation systems, school construction, community reforestation efforts, micro-loans, bee hive activities, and many more. These funds come from donations made by FOT members. In October, 2011, Friends of Tanzania in Colorado invited Tanzanian Ambassador Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar to Denver and she accepted! A “Tanzanian Networking Event,” with more than 130 attendees, many of whom were FOT members, from 20 Colorado-based organizations, and many university researchers sharing information about their work in Tanzania, was held in honor of the Ambassador’s visit.
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC have an annual holiday party which serves as the only annual fundraising event. Board members raise funds through a silent auction, private donations, ticket sales, and calendar sales. In addition to raising funds for RPCV/W, this event is used as a platform to make an impact in the community. Each year, RPCV/W donates a significant portion of the money raised to a community partner selected as the organization’s yearly Partner for Peace. Out of several 2012 applications, RPCV/W awarded a $2,000 donation to Language ETC, a language, education and technology center for low income adult immigrants. During a teacher training for Language ETC, RPCV/W will assist new teachers by hosting language lessons. The goal of the lessons will be to provide new teachers with the opportunity to sit in the position of new students who have little exposure to the English language. Language ETC usually is only able to teach the teachers one language, but with the support of RPCV/W members there will be four languages taught by several teachers. This will give Language ETC the ability to better prepare teachers for their classes.
Project Wizard of the World (WOW), Friends of Malaysia
Project WOW brings RPCVs from Malaysia to grade school classrooms around the country in an effort to fulfill the third goal of Peace Corps – bringing the world back home – by promoting global awareness and cross-cultural understanding among young Americans. The 42 RPCVs of Project WOW use Malaysian folktales as a gateway for children to gain broader cultural understanding of Malaysia. In 30 states, over 3,300 elementary school students have gained some familiarity with Malaysia via these folktales, multi-media presentations, flashcards, show-and-tell, discussion, and Malaysian memorabilia – all provided by Tourism Malaysia and corporate donors such as Tuttle Publishing, G2, Inc., with support from DHL, Malaysia. Project WOW has been has been remarkably successful in organizing the project, engaging RPCVs, and reaching out to their communities nationwide.
Bring the World Home, RPCVs of Hawaii
Bring the World home is a 30-minute television program that interviews RPCVs about their experience of what it is like to serve as a volunteer. The topics that were discussed in the series were:politics, social structure, living conditions, economics, food, culture of host country, Peace Corps assignments, readjusting to life in the U.S, and advice that the RPCVs could give to those who were and are thinking about joining the Peace Corps. Only the host of the show, the guest, and the producer are RPCVs. Twenty-four shows have been taped so far and the group plans to tape more. Click here to read more about the Association of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Hawaii and their innovative television program
The Colombia Project, RPCVs of South Florida
The goal of The Colombia Project (TCP) is to aid Colombia’s displaced families while serving as a replicable model for 1) helping displaced families develop small businesses through direct, people-to-people assistance; 2) providing international aid with complete transparency; 3) encouraging local community initiative and sustainability and minimizing dependency; and 4) encouraging, supporting and cooperating with local non-profit organizations. Since 1999, TCP has sent $9600 to Colombia to support one education program and 34 small business programs. Through a partnership with ADESCOP, its first Colombian partner, TCP provided a year of schooling for 25 displaced children, delivered clothing and school supplies, and provided loans for 16 micro-enterprise development projects in Bogota settlements. The Colombia Project has also provided increased visibility for RPCVSF in the local community through the 2000-01 photo exhibits, which re-introduced the RPCVSF booth at the Miami International Book Fair. In addition, TCP provides an avenue for RPCVSF members to satisfy an oft-expressed desire to participate in meaningful service projects.
Peace Initiative, Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs
Ethiopia and Eritrea RPCVs (E&E RPCVs) have pursued every opportunity to advance the cause of peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea after a border war erupted in May 1998. Members of the groupﾒs Peace Initiative Committee helped establish a neutral, extra-official channel for the two countries to exchange views and proposals for resolving the conflict. Committee members also called upon the US Congress, the Department of State, the UN, other countriesﾒ diplomatic missions and private organizations.
When progress toward a peaceful resolution reached an impasse in 1998 over administration of the disputed area of Badme, E&E RPCVs proposed sending RPCVs to Badme to serve as neutral custodians. Unfortunately, the Ethiopians wrested Badme from the Eritreans before an offer could be reached.
A group of E&E RPCVs went on a peace-building mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea in June of 1999, meeting with the president of Eritrea and the prime minister of Ethiopia, as well as other senior government officials and important members of the public. During the long search for a peaceful resolution, E&E RPCVs have been held in high regard by leaders and foreign representatives of the two countries.
Friends of Sierra Leone
Friends of Sierra Leone celebrates Sierra Leone-American historical connections while educating others and organizing advocacy and relief efforts on behalf of the country. The group has hosted public events featuring U.S. and Sierra Leone government officials, donor community officials, anthropologists, artists, historians and leaders of civil society. Members have held speaking engagements in schools throughout the US. The group sponsored or co-sponsored advocacy days in 1998, 1999, and 2000. Between 1991 and the present, the organization also sponsored twenty relief and medical supply shipments totaling over six thousand dollars. In 2000 the group collaborated to bring victims of the Sierra Leone conflict to New York for treatment.
The Borneo Project, Friends of Malaysia
Though the indigenous peoples of the Malaysian rainforest have legal protection, there is still pressure to have them removed from their lands and to have their land exploited for its natural resources. The Borneo Project helps the indigenous people to use the resources and to develop their communities in a sustainable manner. It also sponsors legal literacy campaigns to make villages aware of their legal rights and acts as a human rights watchdog by monitoring illegal and inhumane actions taken by the government or logging company officials.
FOM has sold crafts made by a women’s cooperative in Borneo, sponsored the attendance of a speaker from the Borneo Project at the NPCA National Conference and raised over $5000 to sponsor a micro hydro plant. FOM’s support of this project has helped to foster group cohesiveness and has given members a positive use for their language and professional skills.
Youth Guidance Connections and Peace Corps Partnership in Ghana, Chicago Area Peace Corps Association
The Connections program based in the South Side of Chicago in what is verifiably one of Chicago’s most deprived neighborhoods focuses on youth empowerment and on youth seeking their own solutions to their and their community’s problems. The participants do service learning projects such as working with the homeless and voluntering in a Big Brother/Big Sister program. The students also raise money every year for a three week trip to Africa. Over the years CAPCA has been a generously supported the Connections program financially and otherwise.
In 1999 CAPCA was able to arrange that the students include a visit to the the village of Mafi-Dove, Ghana in their trip. Mafi-Dove is a current PCV site and the site of a CAPCA supported Peace Corps Partnership Project to construct a junior secondary school, library and latrine for the community. Connections programs participants come away from their experience with a much broader view of the world. 99% go on to college or a trade school and many have expressed interest in serving as Peace Corps Volunteers.
Philippine Scholarship Program, Peace Corps Alumni Foundation for Philippine Development
In 1982, using funds contributed by former volunteers, staff and friends of the Philippines, the PCAFPD established a scholarship program to provide educational opportunity for Filipino students with demonstrated financial need. The program uses a careful selection process to choose scholars of merit. The project is dedicated to the principle that motivated individuals, given the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills, can make a difference in the development of their communities and nation. As of 1999 PCAFPD had made it possible for 57 Filipinos to complete their degrees.
Spisske Podhardie Synagogue, Friends of Slovakia Association
Friends of Slovakia Association undertook the restoration of a 19th century synagogue and Jewish Cemetery in the town of Spisske Podhradie, Slovakia. The project involved not only the restoration of the site, but also the bringing together of different communities and institutions. The project was accomplished through foundation grants. Members of the Friends of Slovakia and local volunteers donated their time to the project.
El Barrio English as a Second Language Program, Northern Ohio Returned Volunteer Association
By 1992, Cleveland, Ohio’s Hispanic population had increased by 40%. Many if the newcomers were political refugees from Central America. For most these immigrants, poor English skills were a major barrier to employment. In response to this need NORVA and El Barrio, a local Hispanic empowerment group, established a self-sustaining English as a Second Language program. The NORVA-El Barrio partnership provided free English instruction, a bilingual GED program and classes on life/job skills. In addition they organized community service projects such as planting trees at a neighborhood recreation center.
Cameroon Childrens’s Center and Cross-cultural Exchange, RPCVs of Alaska
This ongoing program represents a collaborative effort among several community groups propelled by RPCVs of Alaska to establish ties between Alaskan and African students, and to fund the construction of a children’s community center in Cameroon. In June 1995 15 Alaskan high school students went to Cameroon where they lived with local residents while helping to build the Children’s Center. RPCVs of Alaska staged fundraising events such as a March for Africa. Efforts are on-going to make the Center self-sustaining.
HCRPCV’s Mexico project, Hill Country RPCVs
In the wake of Hurricane Gilbert HCRPCVs sent a team to El Chorizo, a poor Mexican community near the US border. On their first trip they constructed 6 houses. In subsequent trips they built and repaired over 50 homes and schools, and organized children’s activities. The community participated in the project through town meetings held to determine community needs. Members of the community also initiated similar projects on their own. Funding was provided through small grants and many materials were donated or recycled.
Africa Night/Fiesta Latina, North Carolina Peace Corps Association
Each year NCPCA holds an Africa Night and a Fiesta Latina to raise money for their own community service projects and for development projects abroad. In 1995 these events raised over $10,000. The money raised has, among other things, funded a high school in Kenya, a community library in Guatemala, a project to locate missing persons in Rwanda and NCPCA’s work with battered women.
International Calendar, RPCVs of Wisconsin/Madison
The RPCVs of Wisconsin/Madison won the Ruppe award in 1994 for their International Calendar. The Calendar continues to this day and has become renowned. The calendar features high-quality photographs taken by serving volunteers or RPCVs. The calendar is both beautiful and informative. Each month a photo from a different country is featured along with cultural information. The calendar features national, historical and religious holidays of more than 90 countries. Proceeds are donated to development projects and charities in the US and abroad.
Emergency Relief Assistance/ Peace and Institution Building, Friends of Liberia,
During the Liberian civil war Friends of Liberia provided over $100,000 in publicly raised funds for direct relief to Liberian refugees. FOL advocated for peace and kept the American public informed about the war by newsletters, e-mail and a video, “Liberia: The Path to Peace.” In 1991 FOL sponsored a public forum that brought together high-ranking representatives from all sides of the conflict in the United States for the first time. In 1993 they sent a fact-finding mission to Liberia and made recommendations to the Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee. FOL was instrumental in the establishment in the United States of Temporary Protected Status for Liberians.
Voices of Peace, Returned Volunteers of the Northwest
To promote cross-cultural understanding in their community, Returned Volunteers of the Northwest organized a weekly series of forums to present the people, culture and history of a country from a personal perspective. The program was initially in response to Americans’ intolerance and lack of understanding of Middle Eastern and Islamic cultures during the Gulf War. Each week a different country was the subject of these forums which became so popular that the meetings had to be moved to a larger facility.
An Arab Mosaic: North Yemen, Tunisia and Morocco, Boston Area RPCVs
Boston Area RPCVs held a series of three slide presentations and discussions at the Brighton Branch library in Boston. These were accompanied by a month long exhibit of handicrafts and photographs from the featured countries in the main lobby of the library. The exhibits and presentations drew large and diverse audiences. They were promoted through press releases and fliers.
Book Project, RPCVs of Southern Florida
RPCVs of South Florida put approximately 500,000 quality used and surplus books in the hands of students in over 20 sites in the developing world. Miami school districts donated the books, certain shipping companies provided free shipping and local costs were covered by a Rotary grant. The books were distributed in-country by serving volunteers and staff.