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  • rpcv4change
    Hey, everyone. I am pasting a response I got from someone whom I emailed while I was still a PCV. This person has a lot of PC experience and I was told that
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 11, 2005
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      Hey, everyone.

      I am pasting a response I got from someone whom I emailed while I
      was still a PCV. This person has a lot of PC experience and I was
      told that they would be helpful in providing perspective on how PC
      works, and maybe could make some useful suggestions for improvement
      of PC.

      Read what he says below and let us know what you think. His last
      line is what seems to be the prevalent attitude, but there's some
      interesting info in what he says.

      Your Moderator

      (pasted correspondence follows)

      Dear X,

      The frustration you are expressing is not unfamiliar
      to me. I served in Ghana in 1963-5 and more recently
      in South Africa and Western Samoa. I also worked with
      PCVs in Micronesia in the early 1970's where I served
      as a consultant health educator and in Botswana in the
      80's when I was a USAID consultant. I am now headed
      for East Africa for another PC stint.

      One of the major problems with PC is that it doesn't
      have a memory; thus, re-inventing the wheel or more
      explicitly, making the same mistakes over and over.
      It has no memory because PC does not allow anyone to
      work for PC for more than 5 years. Thus, mistakes are
      not corrected and most of the PC administrators are in
      their position for a couple years, move up, and then
      out. (Note: Retired folks may serve more than 5 years;
      thus I am exempted). Since a lot of the PC Washington
      folks are RPCVs, they serve in a position for a year,
      then move up as their superiors move out, and during
      the last year, look elsewhere for another job. This is
      true from the Director all the way down to the lowest
      level.

      However, in my opinion, the most important person for
      a PCV is the country APCD. The APCD is responsible for
      finding suitable, safe, effective, realistic
      assignments within the country. In South Africa, I had
      a very good APCD and she had spent many months
      developing assignments that were meaningful. On the
      other hand, the teacher training APCD was lazy and
      only used the telephone to place vols; consequently, a
      lot of the vols ET'd due to frustration and boredom.

      One problem facing the country CD and APCDs is the
      fact that PC Washington decides how many vols will be
      sent to a country without asking the country. Thus,
      your country will get 60 this summer and I am sure you
      agree that most of them will not have realistic,
      viable assignments. When I was in the PC in the
      beginning, the host country asked for specific types
      of volunteers and Washington tried to meet those
      needs.

      Your frustration and angst are not uncommon. Even in
      South Africa and Samoa we all felt underutilized and
      were wasting our time. In Samoa, I only worked one day
      a month training nurses and nutritionists. I spent my
      time studying Samoan, reading over a hundred books and
      doing crossword puzzles. (I was a transfer so spent
      only 1 yr there)

      In Samoa, I tried to get the APCD to get the PCVs
      working in villages to take blood pressure and do
      diabetes testing on everyone in the village. (Diabetes
      and HBP are epidemic in Samoa) The SPA grant could be
      used to purchse BP cuffs and glucose testers. The APCD
      agreed that would be a good project but she merely sat
      on it and nothing happened. The village based vols are
      frustrated and bored to death because the village
      matais (chiefs) only want the vols to write grants and
      bring money to the village.

      You have two years so you may as well do some good.
      Start boys and girls volleyball, basketball, rugby,
      cricket, cross country, etc. teams. Teach first aid to
      people living in the country. Do diabetes and BP
      testings. One PCV teacher in South Africa recorded and
      typed children's stories and had children draw
      pictures about the stories. She then put them in a
      book and had them printed. Two other vols got a bunch
      of kids from their village together and took them on
      trips to museums, the city, camping, etc. SPA grant
      provided the funds to rent the bus.

      PC is over 40 years old and the complaints you have
      are just as old. Forget about changing PC. Better you
      find something more productive with your time.
      Good luck.
    • dlc574
      ... wrote: Are you still around? ...
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 3 5:53 AM
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        --- In peacecorps_improvement@yahoogroups.com, "rpcv4change"
        <rpcv4change@...> wrote:

        Are you still around?

        > Hey, everyone.
        >
        > I am pasting a response I got from someone whom I emailed while I
        > was still a PCV. This person has a lot of PC experience and I was

        <snip>
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