A Peace Corp Volunteer and counterparts from her school will create 5-day youth leadership camp during the spring semester school break. The vision of the camp is that the youth, teachers, and workers at the school will improve their healthy eating habits over time, by uplifting individuals who typically do not have as much access to leadership opportunities, particularly teenage girls, into leadership positions. The training camp will focus on: the importance of healthy eating, how to incorporate healthy eating into one’s life, the development of leadership skills, the empowerment of girls and women, and the development of teaching and behavior change skills in the youth. The camp attendees will be at least 50% girls, and the majority of the counterparts will be women, so as to promote women’s leadership development in the community and provide the girl camp attendees with women mentors. The school will provide health teachers and a school manager to teach the youth, as well as spaces for the camp activities to take place in. 43 youth will attend the training camp – one student from each class from 6th to 12th grade. The youth leaders will be trained to communicate health information to their homeroom classes, as well as to the youth in the grades below them, through health lessons and through informational materials shared communally on a television located in the entrance of the school.
The counterparts at the school have consistently expressed concerns over the eating habits of the youth at the school, and a desire to develop solutions to the nutrition problems they have identified. The PCV had conversations with the school managers, the social worker, the health teachers, the school doctor, and the school director, inquiring about their greatest health concerns for the school. They all shared that nutrition, particularly the lack of students eating a healthy breakfast and giving themselves the fuel to succeed in a school day, was their greatest concern. Additionally, the school manager has invested a significant amount of time in developing the idea for the camp and beginning to organize the logistics for the camp. The school’s three health teachers have also played major roles in developing the project idea and planning the curriculum for the camp. Throughout the next two months, the health teachers will work in collaboration with the PCV to finalize lesson plans and co-teach the lessons during the camp.
During the classes at the camp, the youth will be trained to be leaders at the school by developing their teaching and communication skills. Not only will they gain nutrition and healthy eating knowledge during the camp, but they will specifically be trained in how to communicate this information with their peers. The students selected for the camp will gain skills that will allow them to be leaders and voices for positive change in their school and their community, long after the camp has finished. Additionally, by uplifting young girls into leadership positions in the school, a trend of girls in leadership will begin, continuously inspiring girls in the future at the school to strive to be leaders.