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Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2011

Peace Corps Volunteer Spotlight: Ed Pettitt

Country of Service: Botswana
Title: Community Capacity Builder for HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Support
Time in Country: 2006–2009

During his Peace Corps service in Botswana, Ed Pettitt was based at a remote clinic in New Xade, a San (Bushmen) village deep in the Kalahari Desert. He worked to increase participation of villagers in various HIV/AIDS–related programs, such as Prevention of Mother–to–Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT), Voluntary Counseling & Testing (VCT), and Anti–Retroviral Treatment (ART). Ed also implemented secondary projects related to youth development and adult literacy. He extended his service to work with the Botswana–Baylor Children's Clinical Centre of Excellence, where he helped to develop a psychosocial support group program for HIV–positive adolescents called Teen Club. He was later hired by the Botswana–Baylor Clinic and continued to work in Botswana until recently, when he returned to the United States to work in Houston, Texas, as a research coordinator for the University of Texas Prevention Research Center, which promotes child and adolescent health.

Smithsonian FolkLife Festival: Ed will be escorting five members of the Naro Giraffe Dance Group, who are based in D'Kar, Botswana, a village near the site of his Peace Corps service. He worked extensively with the group's leader, Kuela Kiema, during his time as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The group will be performing traditional San dances, which have been passed down from generation to generation for tens of thousands of years and which are used in social, spiritual, and healing contexts.

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Last updated Nov 20 2013