Since the start of FROGâ€™s grants program in March 2009, FROG has funded seven projects in Guyana, with five completed and two in progress. The total amount of funding given to date is US$2,630.00. The projects were led by current and past Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 9. Below is a summary of the projects that FROG has funded in 2010 through your generous contributions.
- St. Monica-Karawab Clean Water Project, Part II, US$395 – Phillip Chan, GUY 15
- Afterschool Homework Help at Two Brothers Primary Accelerated Learning Center, US$500 -Edith Yoo, GUY 20
- Promoting and Complimenting Local Pepper Sauce and Food Spices Production, US$485- Juan Rodrigues, GUY 20
- In School Youth (ISY) Program, US$100 – Adia McPherson, Peace Corps Response Volunteer 2010
- Kwatamang Village Ground Raising Project , US$500 – Nick Smith, GUY 20
- Guyana A.R.T.S. (Act, Reach, Think, and Shine), US$250 – Mica Gaard, GUY 21
St. Monica-Karawab Clean Water Project
In March 2009, FROG funded its first project when Phillip Chan (GUY 15), proposed to return to his PC Site, St. Monica in the Pomeroon River (Region 2), during his spring break from medical school at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He and a classmate worked with the community to construct a water tank stand and install 4 tanks to collect 1,800 gallons of rainwater in order to improve access to clean water for community members. Philip wrote of his experience, â€œOn a personal note, it was really awesome to be back in St. Monica. There were moments of nostalgia, bizarre feelings of dÃ©jÃ vu, and a little bit of sadness. However, for the most part I was actually heartened by all the positive steps the village seemed to be taking, from the woodworking shop and functioning village telephone, to the head teacherâ€™s enthusiasm and continuing use of the computers.â€?
Because of the success of his first project, Phillip returned to Guyana, with five of his fellow medical students. The group installed additional rainwater catchment tanks in the village of Karawab, Pomeroon River (Region 2) and educated the community about proper water treatment and hygiene. With the completion of the project, the water catchment system in Karawab is capable of collecting 900 gallons of rainwater and improving access to clean water for a broad range of community members. The group also conducted educational activities at Karawab and St. Monica schools, teaching the students about the importance of clean water treatment and healthy hygiene practices, with the hope of ensuring the proper use and maintenance of the water collection systems for years to come.
Phillip said, â€œAwesome trip this year! At first, I was a bit more anxious having a larger group with us, and trying to get everyone out to the village all in one piece. But, once we got to Guyana, the week was an incredible success and in retrospect it seems to have gone by so amazingly fast. The days were jam-packed with teaching, playing with kids, local trips, purchasing construction materials, and paddling around on the river.â€?
Priya Sharma, a Jefferson Medical College (MS1), who was also on the trip said, â€œSpending a week in Guyana was one of the most gratifying experiences I have ever had! Since this was my first time traveling to a foreign country for a service project, I was extremely apprehensive about the obstacles that I would face. However, I was completely amazed by how easy it was to adapt to the Guyanese life. As soon as we arrived at the village, I was overwhelmed by the gratitude and hospitality of St. Monica, and we were able to interact with the villagers as if we were from St. Monica itself. Every day was a new learning experience, whether it was learning how to sleep in a hammock comfortably, or learning how to balance a flashlight while acting out Yoda in our “Celebrity” game.â€?
After School Homework Help at Two Brothers Primary Accelerated Learning Center
In March 2010, Edith Yoo (GUY 20) used a FROG grant to purchase textbooks for the secondary studentsâ€™ after school homework program at Two Brothers Primary Accelerated Learning Center in Canal #1, Region 3. The learning center is open Monday through Friday, from 4 to 5pm for students to get homework help from community volunteers and to have access to the textbooks which their families may not be able to afford. The program typically sees 10-12 children on a daily basis. The students come from all along the West Bank to be able to have access to free textbooks. In addition, a small portion of the FROG grant was used to purchase storybooks for the library and chapter books for the secondary school. The books are being used to encourage reading, and to have students practice reading.
Edith wrote â€œWord is spreading about the learning center homework help program, and secondary school students will now bring their older brothers or sisters to help study for the CXC as well as many students are bringing their friends from neighboring villages. Students who would never be able to complete assignments because they did not have textbooks are now able to have access to books, not only when they need to complete assignments but also to just come and review what they learned that day.
â€œParents are eternally grateful that we are giving this kind of support to their children. A parent came up to me and said â€˜Having these books is going to save me, there was no way that I could afford these books, and my daughter really needs them.â€™ The thank yous from parents and students are endless. A student in Form 1 told me, â€˜Miss, you are really saving me I wouldnâ€™t have been able to do my assignment if I didnâ€™t have this book.â€™â€?
Promoting and Complimenting Local Pepper Sauce and Food Spices Production
During the summer of 2010, Juan Rodriguez (GUY 20) worked with the Vilvoorden Women’s Group on the Essequibo Coast, Region 2 to implement a project which aims to create a way for members of the womenâ€™s group to earn income from producing and selling pepper sauce and ground spices in their local communities. Funds from the FROG grant were used to purchase equipment and supplies to start production and packaging of the pepper sauce and dried spices. All funds generated from the sale of their products will be used to sustain production.
Juan said â€œThrough this project I managed to learn some interesting agricultural tips concerning pepper sauce and food spices, but more importantly it provided me an opportunity to more intimately work with the ladies from the Womenâ€™s group. I am truly proud of being a part of the project and thank FROG for giving us an outlet to execute it for the benefit of our community in Guyana.â€?
In School Youth (ISY) Program
Adia McPherson, a Peace Corps Response Volunteer, worked with Artistes in Direct Support (AIDS) in Georgetown. She used her FROG grant to strengthen staff and volunteer capacity in implementing their In-School Youth HIV prevention program. During the project, she planned and implemented five training sessions on the following topics: HIV and AIDS Basic Review; Care for PLWHA and Fighting Stigma and Discrimination; Counseling and Working with Youth; Effective Implementation of Community Outreach Programs; and Leadership and Governance. She also had a guest speaker from the local organization Help and Shelter conduct a training session for the staff on â€œHow to Handle Reports of Abuseâ€?. Adia also researched and compiled information to create additional resource materials, including activities booklets to supplement the In School Youth (ISY) Abstinence Program sessions; a guide book for creating brochures and other publications; a website maintenance manual; and a guide book for creating skits. The publications were printed and distributed to A.I.D.S. staff members, who were also given soft copies to use.
â€œThe staff capacity building sessions were beneficial to the work we do at A.I.D.S. The topics covered were delivered in such a comprehensive manner that persons of all ages were able to learn from the handouts. After each session the staff was left with a renewed sense of responsibility not just for ourselves but we were also compelled to create new activities to attract the general public to increase HIV/AIDS awareness as we fight stigma and discrimination. As an organization we are always interested in gaining knowledge to elevate our staff and group members and found this capacity building conducted by Adia McPherson to be innovative, rejuvenating and necessary. It brought our staff closer and this is important for team building. We certainly learnt a lot and used the experience to better our lives and strengthen our HIV/AIDS education work in all our projectsâ€? reported Maria Mitchell, Staff Administrative Assistant and Volunteer Peer Educator, A.I.D.S.
Kwatamang Village Ground Raising Project
Nick Smith, GUY 20, is currently working with village leaders in Kwatamang, a small village in Region 9 between Annai and the Rupununi River, to raise a section of ground linking the East and West sides of the village. The village is divided by a low area that floods during rainy season. The FROG grant funds are being used to enhance the efforts of the community in this effort.
Guyana A.R.T.S. (Act, Reach, Think and Shine)
Mica Gaard, GUY 21, is utilizing a FROG grant to help support Guyana A.R.T.S., a youth development program that encourages teens (ages 13 to 16) to Act, Reach, Think, and Shine through the arts. This project is focusing on children in Black Bush, Corentyne, Region 6, who have very limited self-improvement opportunities and often do not attend school regularly. Mica wrote in her proposal, â€œCommunity members and I created Guyana A.R.T.S. to give the teens in Black Bush the opportunity to grow in a fun and nurturing environment during the summer holiday. Through visual arts, drama, music, and storytelling, students will learn about the arts, but also learn critical development skills such as teamwork, creativity, life skills, and leadership.â€?
FROG congratulates all of the grant receipts for 2010 on jobs well done. We look forward to continuing to support the efforts of RPCVs who are making a difference in the communities that they serve.
If you have a project idea to help support community development in Guyana, check out FROGâ€™s website for more information on how to apply for a grant.