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Posts Tagged ‘Peace Corps environmental education’

My first three months in Mexico were spent in the city of Querétaro with my fellow environmental Peace Corps volunteers. This environmental group of 22 people is split between two programs, natural resources management and environmental education. I, myself, am a part of the latter program of environmental education and so my training was dedicated to the three main topics of eco-technologies, the formation of eco-clubs, and climate change education.

We spent these three months in the Peace Corps classroom prepping ourselves as best as we could for the next two years; we went on field-trips to check out working eco-technologies, we heard eco-club success stories and failures, we even hosted our very own eco-fair. Even with this experience and knowledge under our belt, one of our beloved trainers would cautiously remind us “the plan usually doesn’t survive the battlefield.” Naively, once we made it out of training, a period of many wrongly conjugated Spanish verbs, we were eager to hit the ground running. Eager to get projects going with community members, eager to start our service as Peace Corps volunteers.

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Projects just do not magically start right away, however. No, in truth, the first three months in site are dedicated to the Peace Corps volunteers conducting community diagnostics to learn about the needs and priorities of the communities in which they work. For example, when I first arrived in my site of Huimilpan I noticed that although many women in the communities had great eco-technologies, they were not all functioning at the optimal level of performance. With this knowledge, the priority became focused on first fixing these eco-technologies before moving on to additional projects.

To remediate this, I developed a survey with the help of one of my counterparts and began to interview the women of three different communities in order to gauge the functionality of the eco-technologies. The survey included such questions as,

What are some of the principal problems in your garden?

What do you put in your worm compost?

Of the following choices (bio-filter, water cistern, and greenhouse), what eco-technology is most important for you to have in the future?

This survey is one of the many methods I used in learning more about Huimilpan, the communities, and their needs. After three months of much research and talking with just about anyone willing to talk, I came to the conclusion that I am super busy, super excited, and see a lot of potential for change here in Huimilpan.  After 7 months in Mexico my projects are beginning to come together, and I couldn’t be more excited. Check back these next few days to learn just what they are.

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: I found a baby, baby kitten all alone on the street yesterday and brought him home. I’m not even a cat person…

Interviewing Community Members

 

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