Peace Corps Volunteer Creates Childrens Garden to Improve Nutrition in Botswana
February 23, 2012WASHINGTON, D.C., February 23, 2012 Peace Corps volunteer Christina Alexander of Cheyenne, Wyo., recently started a childrens garden project with her local community in northern Botswana to teach children about gardening and proper nutrition. A portion of the funds for the childrens garden are being raised through the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP), a program that supports Peace Corps volunteer community projects worldwide.
"The Childrens Garden is an essential project as it will provide children with the opportunity to learn about nutrition while encouraging them to grow their own crops of which they can take home to their families, said Alexander, who has been working as a community development volunteer since April 2011. Many children and adults currently do not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables within the village. Therefore, a significant portion of the population tends to be undernourished due to the lack of diversity and essential nutrients in their diets.
Alexander has been working with local farmers, social workers and teachers to educate students aged five to 12 to plant carrots, beets, cabbage, Swiss chard, beans, tomatoes, watermelons and maize. The students follow a weekly schedule to water, prune and fertilize the plants. The money raised through the PCPP will be used to purchase a water tank and pump for the gardens, and the community has donated the seeds, tools and land for the project.
Through the project, Alexander is also able to teach the students and their families about proper nutrition.
By introducing at a young age nutrition concepts we are helping the children of this village well into the future, said Alexander, who holds a bachelors degree in communications from the University of Wyoming. She noted that many local people eat diets devoid of fresh fruits and vegetables.
In order to receive funding through the PCPP, a community must make a 25 percent contribution to the total project cost and outline success indicators for the individual projects. This helps ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability.
One hundred percent of each tax-deductible PCPP donation goes toward a development project. Those interested in supporting Alexanders project in Botswana can visit: www.peacecorps.gov/donate. Alexanders project number is 637-102.
About Peace Corps/Botswana: More than 2,100 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Botswana since the program was established in 1966. Currently, 120 volunteers serve in Botswana. Volunteers work to address HIV/AIDS in the areas of health, community development and education. Volunteers are trained and work in Setswana and Sekalanga.
About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agencys mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.