This past weekend we hosted day-long programs at the school in my village and the school at the road village for Upper and Senior Secondary school students. PCVs “Trek” to different schools to host programs involving future planning and empowerment.
This is an example of how Peace Corps’ best laid plans for “sustainability” sometimes aren’t as sustainable in reality. We shouldn’t just be going to random schools and teaching lessons about goal setting and stress reduction. Sometimes our English is hard to understand and the students won’t feel as comfortable with these outside strangers.
That’s why at the program at the school in my village, we encouraged students and teachers to be teaching the lessons. Students who have attended previous Peace Corps programs and teachers taught three lessons: Healthy/Unhealthy relationships, Future Planning, and Advocacy with a Peace Corps volunteer there to assist. The students were nervous at first, but then opened up and were able to connect with their peers better than we would have.
Another interesting aspect of the program was that we invited two role models, 1 male and 1 female, to share their stories and to encourage the students. They spoke about the importance of education, the challenges they faced and how they overcame them. Our female role model then stayed for the rest of the lessons, contributing and encouraging the students along the way. At the end of the program we had a session on Sexual Education which was informative for the students and teachers. We made a plan to have a Peer Health club meeting after the program to review the topics and respond to any unanswered questions.
Then we chose 4 students, 2 boys and 2 girls, who had been active and attentive during the program and are positive, motivated students to attend a summer camp – Camp GLOW – at the Peace Corps training center. They will be accompanied by one of the teachers, and will dive farther into these topics and will bring them back to our village.