St. Louis Resident Promotes Clean and Green Community in Mali

July 14, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 14, 2009 Peace Corps Volunteer David Williams of St. Louis, Missouri, is making a difference in rural Mali by assisting a garbage collection initiative in his community. Williams worked with villagers in the hills of Mali, who are proving their dedication to the environment on a local level.

The idea for the initiative was launched at a weekly meeting of a local water and sanitation committee. Frustrated by standing water and garbage piling up in their village, committee members decided to do a weekly cleaning of the water pump and the road leading to the school. The idea grew to include biweekly civic responsibility training for residents and students attending the local school, and the eventual transfer of full cleanup responsibilities to the community. Upon this transfer of responsibility, the committee hopes to continually target new areas and increase local awareness of sanitation issues.

This project was funded through the support of the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP), and made possible, in part, by members of the St. Louis Peace Corps Association (PCA), who donated to this cause. Donations funded the purchase of essential cleanup items, including a wheelbarrow, shovels, brooms, rakes, gloves, and a donkey to pull a community-donated cart.

For over 10 years, the St. Louis PCA has supported projects by Peace Corps Volunteers from St. Louis. Williams project demonstrated the community support, moderate budget and host country agency support the PCA considers when funding a project. Our participation in the Peace Corps Partnership Program is a fine way to stay connected to current Peace Corps programs throughout the world, said St. Louis PCA President Mike Murray, who was a member of the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers to serve in Colombia from 1961 to 1963. We prefer to support St. Louis Volunteers in order to maintain a connection to our community, he said.

PCPP allows individuals or groups to donate funds to specific Peace Corps projects, creating true partnerships with the communities it serves. In order to receive funding through the program, a community must make a minimum 25 percent contribution to the total project cost, as well as outline success indicators for the project. This helps to ensure community buy-in and project sustainability.

One hundred percent of each tax-deductible donation goes toward a development project. In-kind contributions, such as computers and school supplies, can also provide valuable support. To learn more about the Partnership Program or to see other projects currently in need of funds, visit www.peacecorps.gov/contribute.

As the Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world. Historically, over 195,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries in which they have served. Currently, 7,876 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in 76 countries. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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