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The Peace Corps in Ecuador Helps Girls Assist Themselves

QUITO, Ecuador — On a standard day within the Ecuadorian village of San Pablito de Agualongo, ladies might be seen carrying 20-liter jugs of milk to a distribution middle as much as three kilometers away. Typically, these ladies — who make up the vast majority of farmers within the space — carry the heavy containers on their backs. Not less than, that was once the case, till Peace Corps volunteer Jon Van Treeck obtained concerned.

Background

Working with the Peace Corps in Ecuador, Van Treeck seen that girls in San Pablito had been experiencing again issues and different well being considerations. He got here up with the thought to assist ladies on this village construct dollies to make their each day duties simpler. He utilized for 2 grants for a complete of $2,520. This quantity bought the fabric for 20 dollies—a small quantity, however important in a city of solely about 600 individuals.

The neighborhood of San Pablito participated on this mission from starting to finish. Van Treeck initially proposed his thought to El Lecherito, the group that runs the distribution middle. El Lecherito is a neighborhood group with 80-90 % feminine management. He additionally enlisted the assistance of Alberto, a neighborhood engineer, who helped with the design. Alberto assembled the inspiration of every dolly, consisting of handles and a platform, and drew up a blueprint. Then, Alberto and Van Treeck organized workshops the place native ladies may put collectively their very own dollies and discover ways to preserve and restore them on their very own.

Specializing in Self-Sustainability

Van Treeck instructed The Borgen Venture that his initiative is in keeping with the mission of the Peace Corps in Ecuador and elsewhere. The aim isn’t solely to assist native residents however to assist native residents assist themselves. In reality, the very first aim of the Peace Corps, when it was established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, was “To assist the individuals of nations and areas in assembly their wants for skilled staff.”

Based on testimony by Peace Corps members and residents alike, the Peace Corps dolly mission has
been useful for all events. One participant named Rosario instructed Van Treeck, “I really feel like I’ve extra vitality and carrying the milk container is rather a lot lighter. I believe for the longer term, the dolly will enhance my well being rather a lot.”
Van Treeck remembers one mom who attended the workshop together with her two younger boys. “I may see
in her actions that this can be a useful gizmo,” he remembers.

The Peace Corps program in Ecuador started in 1962, only one yr after the Peace Corps itself was
based. The present complete variety of volunteers to have served with the Peace Corps in Ecuador is
6,478.

Advantages for the US

There’s proof that the efforts of the Peace Corps in Ecuador may have results past this one village,
at the least for the U.S., which funds the group. Research have proven that nations which welcome
the Peace Corps are usually higher allies of the U.S. As an illustration, in 75 % of instances, these nations vote
with the US on the U.N. on points which the U.S. State Division declares “key votes.” This
is true even though the complete funds for the Peace Corps is $398 million, or about one ten-thousandth of the 2019 U.S. funds.

Regardless of the large-scale outcomes of this mission, Van Treeck is aware of that the dollies will make an
essential distinction. The mission has additionally taught Van Treeck rather a lot about service and international poverty.
“The muse of this work is relationships, 1000 %,” Van Treek sums up. It’s a query of belief. “And
whenever you construct that belief you’re going to get one thing to occur.”

– Eric Rosenbaum
Photograph: Flickr

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