Peace Corps Honors Volunteers Who Improve Water Access on World Water Day
March 23, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 23 2015 - In recognition of World Water Day yesterday, Peace Corps honors volunteers who work alongside their communities to address water shortages and find creative solutions to collect this precious resource. Today, 12 percent of volunteers work in the environment sector.
To address the adverse impact of water and food shortages, many volunteers work on projects ranging from fish farming and the introduction of small-scale irrigation systems to improved food processing and marketing of food. They also help address resource availability by building water pumps and school gardens, developing agricultural microenterprises and educating others about proper nutrition.
Below find examples of how Peace Corps volunteers in Uganda and Nepal are improving water access in their communities. Learn more about World Water Day at unwater.org/worldwaterday.
Peace Corps volunteer Jenna Marcotte of Allendale, Illinois, is working with her community to restore a rainwater collection tank on top of the local school to ensure a reliable, clean source of water for students and staff. Currently, the closest source of water is a river located miles from the school.
“Essentially the pupils have no water for drinking, no water for washing their hands, and no water for cleaning on most days,” said Marcotte a graduate of Greenville College who has been living and working in Uganda since 2013.
Marcotte rallied the support of school staff and students’ parents to help repair a rainwater collection tank.
“If progress ensues, my dream is that this will be just the first step in improving school sanitation and health,” Marcotte said.
Peace Corps volunteer Owen Duncan of Atlanta, Georgia, recently collaborated with his community to build an irrigation system to ensure the proper hydration of crops. In conjunction with the irrigation system, Duncan also organized community forums to figure out how to bring a reliable water source to his community.
“After spending time talking with everyone it became clear that access to water was a major hindrance in their ability to expand in agriculture,” said Duncan, a graduate of the University of Georgia who has been living and working in Nepal since 2013.
The community opted to build a 30,000 liter water tank that would help provide water to every home in the community. A portion of the project was funded by the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP), which helps fund Peace Corps volunteer community projects worldwide. In order to receive PCPP funding, a community must make at least a 25 percent contribution to the total project cost and outline success indicators for each individual project. One hundred percent of each tax-deductible PCPP donation goes toward a development project.
About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.