A recent onsite visit of Community Challenge Fund (CCF) projects by CCF Program Manager John Epler revealed that the grant funds are providing Peace Corps Volunteers with an extremely effective tool by giving them a resource for undertaking educational, health and community development activities in their communities.
Eight projects were visited during the trip - Four improved stove projects, two library projects, a water project and a latrine project. In each case, the organizational work of the PCV during the project planning and development process created opportunities to make lasting impacts on health and/or education in the community, in addition to developing leadership skills and capacity for future projects/activities. The PCVs provided courses on health and nutrition to the communities with water, latrine and stove projects and worked with youth in developing the library project, while giving courses on sex education and alternatives to domestic violence/abuse.
When we sat down with the community leaders and the beneficiaries of the physical projects, it was apparent that they had not only developed the confidence and skills to undertake additional community development activities in the community but that they also had learned important health and coping skills. In several cases, the PCVs had trained local Health Promotores that will conduct additional workshops in the region.
It was clear that donations made to support the Challenge Fund have resulted in, not just bricks and mortar activities improving community infrastructure, but provided individuals with opportunities to develop personal skills and knowledge lasting far beyond the construction of the projects.
To donate to the Community Challenge Fund, donate online or send a check to John Evans, FDR Treasurer at 4512 Park Road, Alexandria, VA 23312.
BEFORE: Traditional but dangerous three-stone cooking stove