With collaboration from the Government of The Gambia and NGOs, Peace Corps Volunteers identify ways to reduce poverty by improving agriculture productivity, promote sustainable natural resource management, and encourage agricultural diversification.
Agriculture Volunteers recommend the best agricultural practices adapted for the local climate, available resources and culture they serve in. They help farmers learn to manage their fields and forests in a sustainable manner, supporting community members that take leadership roles, with the goal that improvements outlast the Volunteer’s term of service. They teach permagarden and composting techniques, encourage improved chicken management, and the development of apiary projects. They also work to combat some of The Gambia’s more pressing environmental concerns, such as erosion and deforestation with the development of tree nurseries, and the importance of reforestation to combat climate change.
While working in local communities, Volunteers will help generate income, encourage healthy eating habits, cultivate environmentally-friendly habits, and improve the overall quality of life.
Peace Corps works in close partnership with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education to place Volunteers as teacher trainers throughout The Gambia, to focus on building the capacity of Gambian teachers.
Volunteers work in rural schools to promote improved teaching methods, concentrating on English language proficiency and literacy. Volunteers observe and evaluate Gambian lessons plans, demonstrate new teaching methods and lesson plans, advise teachers how to create student-centered classrooms, and encourage positive classroom management skills. Volunteers also partner with teachers to develop teaching and learning aids, assist in the organization and use of libraries, encourage the use of resource centers to acquire technological resources, and help organize extracurricular clubs for balanced child development. Volunteers organize and arrange for educators to attend workshops and trainings throughout the country, increasing their ability to provide a comprehensive educational environment to all students.
Peace Corps collaborates with the Ministry of Health to build the capacity of Gambian communities and to aid them in the adoption of healthy behaviors and practices.
Volunteers partner with healthcare providers, hospitals, rural community members, peer health groups and local community organizations to educate communities about how they can create healthier lifestyles. Educational techniques include the construction of fuel-efficient cookstoves, introducing improved vegetable varieties, and conducting cooking demonstrations with nutrient dense ingredients.
Collaborating with local health posts is a primary way that Volunteers help to address maternal and child health. Volunteers will assist at clinics by weighing babies and updating vaccination records, and discussing with mothers how to prevent malnutrition in children. The clinics also serve as a space for Volunteers to hold workshops on topics such as exclusive breastfeeding, birth spacing, and family planning.
Clean water access and proper sanitation techniques are pervasive issues that affect most rural areas in The Gambia. Volunteers help to mitigate these issues by teaching proper handwashing techniques, speaking about the dangers of open defecation, and introducing proper pit latrine covers. They also work hand-in-hand with local government councils to write grants and receive funding to drill boreholes and construct wells.
Feed the Future
The West Africa Food Security Partnership and Global Food Security & Feed the Future is a regional partnership between USAID West Africa and Peace Corps to support better food security programming and training opportunities. Feed the Future gives Volunteers the tools to build capacity at a grass-roots level to increase food security through improved natural resource management, agroforestry, improved agricultural production, small animal husbandry, nutrition education, economic development projects, food processing and conservation, and climate change adaptation. Volunteers from all sectors are encouraged to participate in food security activities as part of Feed the Future.