Peace Corps Volunteer Jordan Hatcher, in Senegal
When she arrived in Senegal in March 2013 to begin her Peace Corps service, Green Bay, Wis., native Jordan Hatcher looked forward to working as a health educator, teaching nutrition, sanitation, and other good habits that can make a real difference in people’s lives. Indeed, over the past year, much of her time has been spent in schools and the local health hut. But Hatcher has also learned that her community has another project they want her help with: construction of a wall around their primary school. A main road runs between several of the school buildings, leaving students and teachers unprotected; several serious accidents have occurred.
“Although I knew construction of the wall fell outside of my primary job duties, I saw the community’s initiative and commitment to the project and felt that this was an important cause to include in my service,” said Hatcher, 24, who graduated from Green Bay Preble High School in 2008.
The wall would protect the school’s staff and 150 students, as well as a newly constructed school garden and tree nursery. The Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP), which supports Peace Corps volunteer community projects worldwide, is helping to fund the resources needed for the project. In order to receive funding through the PCPP, a community must make at least a 25 percent contribution to the total project cost and outline success indicators for each project. This helps to ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability.
“The community has been the driving force in project planning and created a committee to oversee the timeline, finances, and masonry,” Hatcher said. “My goals are to create a safe learning environment for students, as well as to promote basic financial planning, budgeting, and project management skills for the committee responsible for the wall’s implementation.” Continue reading