Tag Archives: Community Development

John E. Fletcher in Bolivia

Jeff Fletcher (John E. Fletcher)

Country of Service: Bolivia
Service Project Title: Bolivia Mines Community Development
Dates in Service: 1967-1969
Keywords: Community Development

Accession Date: March 10, 2014
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 2 linear inches

Document Types

  • Reports
  • Publications

Going Above and Beyond: Community Partnerships

In a statement issued March 1, 1961, President Kennedy acknowledged that Peace Corps Volunteers would never make a fortune from their service abroad.  Most made enough to subsist. Nevertheless, volunteers often went above and beyond—taking on additional projects to satisfy the community’s needs.  Projects included recruiting volunteer labor and additional funding for renovating and construction projects.

During his service in Paraguay, Robert Meade oversaw a school partnership project to build an elementary school.  A school in Bethesda, Maryland partnered with the Paraguay community and raised $700 for the construction.  Meade documented the efforts of local volunteers, as well as the entire building process, through photography.  The partnerships created during the school project represent the essence of the Peace Corps.  Robert Meade created the captions below.


Paraguayan workers on the building of Maria Auxiliadora Elementary School.  Bricks were made nearby and all labor on the school was voluntary.

“Paraguayan workers on the building of Maria Auxiliadora Elementary School. Bricks were made nearby and all labor on the school was voluntary.”

"Putting on the roof of Maria Auxiliadora."

“Putting on the roof of Maria Auxiliadora.”

"Oxcart delivering bricks for the school project."

“Oxcart delivering bricks for the school project.”

To learn more about Peace Corps Volunteers in Paraguay, visit the Peace Corps Community Archive at American University.

Preparing for New Experiences Abroad

Bossi Letter 1966

Stephen Bossi, Peace Corps Training Letter, 1966

The Peace Corps Community Archive includes many fascinating stories conveyed through letters, photos, and diaries of returned Peace Corps volunteers.  However, many of the collections also include volunteers’ handwritten notes, outlines, exams, and other materials from their Peace Corps training.  All volunteers attended some form of training prior to their departure, or, in later years, immediately upon arriving to the country of service.

Frum Certificate 1965

Jennifer Frum, Certificate of Completion of Training, 1965

The training materials provide insight into what the Peace Corps considered essential for volunteers to know about the country’s culture, history, and language.  They also demonstrate the process Peace Corps trainers used to educate and prepare volunteers for living and serving in a culture very different from their own.  Several collections include images of service and construction projects undertaken during the volunteers’ training.  Construction projects, as well as visits to local social, industrial, and government agencies provided experiential knowledge for volunteers preparing to work in community development.

Frum Training 1965

Jennifer Frum, Introduction to Field Experiences, 1965

Other documents in the collection include training schedules, exams, note outlines, and diary entries detailing the daily training experience.

Strengthening Communities: Non-formal Education

The Peace Corps not only educated students in school classrooms, but used the wider community as a platform for spreading information to local citizens.  Although many volunteers worked in formal education, others were assigned to community development projects.   Non-formal education sought to establish community programming and workshops based on areas of need.  While some focused on a specifically on health care or sanitation, others were encouraged to assess the local community’s greatest needs before developing projects on-site.  Community outreach included youth and business development, in addition to environmental and health education.

In Colombia, Christine Hager sought to educate young girls and women about cooking and sewing.  Serving in Dagua Valle, Colombia (1968-1970), Hager organized clubs for mothers and young girls to provide support.  The community development also included experiential learning on raising chickens, planting seed beds, and gardening.

Brian Adler and Cynthia Elliot also worked with non-formal rural community education in Marshall Creek, Suriname.  Instead of formally teaching students in a classroom, Brian and Cynthia organized community libraries, after-school programs for youth, and workshops to teach English to adults in the community.

The collections documenting the variety of community development reinforce the Peace Corps’ commitment to educating communities and improving people’s lives.

Tom Mullin in Colombia

Tom Mullin

Country of Service: Colombia
Place of Service: Cundinamarca
Service Project Title: CARE Project
Dates in Service: 1961-1963
Keywords: Community Development

Accession Date: February 2007; Friends of Colombia Archive
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.25 linear feet

Document Types

  • Reports
  • Publications

Joel Lazinger in Colombia

Joel Lazinger

Country of Service: Colombia
Place of Service: Acacias
Service Project Title: Co-op Development Program
Dates in Service: 1964-1966
Keywords: Community Development

Accession Date: July 2003; Friends of Colombia Archive
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 2 folders

Document Types

  • Diary
  • Photographs

Digital Surrogates

  • Diary (disc)
  • Photographs (disc)

Ron Dizon in Afghanistan

Ron Dizon

Country of Service: Afghanistan
Place of Service: Kabul
Service Type: Operation Help (Food for Work Program)
Dates in Service: 1971-1973
Keywords: Community Development, Middle East

Accession Date: May 6, 2013
Access: No Restrictions
Collection Size: 12 items and an e-book

Document Types

  • Correspondence 
  • Photographs

Book on Operation Help is available for free download here.