What Community Engagement looks like in Albania.

translation: “Take Care of Your Health, Take Care of Diber” On all the sticky notes are the opinions of people who attended the agricultural fair regarding what they can do either for their health or for the environment.

What to do for Peshkopi’s Big Weekend?

A few weeks ago was the biggest weekend of the year in Peshkopi when we had an Agriculture fair, Cultural Festival, the inauguration of our University, and a visit from the prime minister himself, Shoku Sali. My sitemate Allison and I, we couldn’t let the opportunity go to waste to reach a lot of people by doing…. something at the festival.

One Reason why Peace Corps ain’t Easy

One trouble Peace Corps Volunteers have, in Albania at least, is finding meaningful work and willing local partners. Yes, we are placed within organizations and given counterparts within those organizations, but for a number of reasons, this hardly translates into volunteers being involved in meaningful work. In my experience, Ive had to actively meet people in every organization in town to find work and colleagues.

One example of success was meeting the local Save the Children youth group, who was very eager and willing to work with Allison and me.  The pictures of the board with messages is the project Allison I completed with our young Save the Children colleagues (who are mostly kids from ages 12-18). The idea of soliciting opinions from the community with some sort of prompt such as health or environmental protection came from my experience with Design Connect during my time as a graduate student at Cornell University. Its nice to put something from my education to use in Albania 😀

What I liked about the project is that the kids from the group were engaging the people from their community on issues of eating healthy and protecting the environment. Allison and I just helped set up and organize the board and we let the kids do the talking.

a local grandpa submits his opinion

Although saying “dont litter” is almost a cliche in America, in Albania it is a very serious, ubiquitous problem stemming from both a lack of infrastructure but also a lack of appreciation for the environment. When the local youth group addresses the public at a local festival and asks them not to litter and to use the trashcans, I cant help but feel it is making an impact, if only as a first step in the right direction.

the board really filled up and we had over 100 sticky notes by the end of the day

One of the posters we made for the trashcans. “I am here to be used!”

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One response to “What Community Engagement looks like in Albania.

  1. Pingback: Was serving in the Peace Corps worth it? | dude, where's my gomar?·

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