PC Bolivia Volunteer Profiles (continued from p. 5)

she also co-teaches health classes.  She works mostly via informal education techniques including stories, games, puppet shows and other activities that are simple and entertaining.  Alexandra has also initiated a Mothers' Club in which 11 women participate.  Their central activity is a very successful garden that produces nine different kinds of vegetables.  The produce from this garden is divided between the participating women, who use it to improve family nutrition.  The remainder of the produce is sold daily at a market in a larger city not far from her site.  The proceeds from vegetable sales are used to purchase more seed and diesel fuel for the garden irrigation pump, thereby making the project sustainable.

Microenterprise Development Volunteer
Alison Gordon is a first year Volunteer working with vocational training program in a Department capital. Her primary responsibility is teaching business classes and consulting with local entrepreneurs to improve the management of their respective small businesses.   Allison helped start a restaurant (sponsored by her counterpart agency) that includes gardening and canning micro-enterprises which employ a total of 14 women.  Alison assisted with the market research and business plan for the restaurant, and taught the employees basic accounting. These small businesses have been able to provide jobs for previously underemployed women on a full-time basis, which has substantially increased their income. Alison has also assisted in team building workshops, and has collaborated with her counterpart agency in the design and implementation of a micro-credit program, including developing a database program to improve the monitoring of loans and payments. As a secondary project, Alison helped

design a literacy program that has improved the reading and writing skills of 60 women who are now able to work more effectively in their respective businesses.  Another of Alison's secondary activities has been teaching aerobics to her colleagues at the vocational school. 

Natural Resources Volunteer
Frank Aragona lives in a small town in the high valleys of the Department of Cochabamba.  Frank's situation is unique in the sense that he is one of a few Volunteers whose counterpart entity is the community itself.  In recent years, this agrarian-based community had switched from cultivating traditional crops to relying primarily on a monoculture of onions as their primary source of income.  Based upon a community wide request for Volunteer assistance, Frank was selected to serve in this site.  Upon his arrival he identified a number of problematic long-term impacts that the switch to onions had caused, but which were not initially recognized due to the income generated by a new crop with promising initial yields.  He formed a community Agricultural Committee to explore alternatives to onion cultivation, and has trained farmer-promoters to serve as local extension agents.  Working with the Committee and farmer-promoters, Frank was able to secure funding from an international NGO for a four-part project that addresses the current problems caused by onion cultivation and provides viable alternatives including beekeeping, improvements in onion crop cultivation and management, agroforestry, and guinea pig (cuy) breeding.  These four alterna

tive activities will allow the residents to improve their quality of life by increasing and diversifying their income sources and, at the same time, using the land in a responsible, sustainable manner.

Seth Nickinson was recruited as Bolivia's first Information and Communications Technology (ICT) volunteer through the Microenterprise Development Project.  Working with a League of Municipalities (Mancomunidad) that represents 14 municipal governments, Seth has helped strengthen municipal governance and promote local economic development. Seth and the Mancomunidad have developed an integrated ICT strategy that seeks to harness interest in the Internet, develop ways to fund technology and provide Internet access in communities, prepare people to use the Internet appropriately as a development tool, and use ICT to support small businesses and community economic development.  Seth has also assisted Volunteers working in crafts development by presenting workshops to artisan groups regarding the use of the Internet and its potential to increase their income. He recently designed an electronic artesania catalog that promotes and markets the work of 180 women artisans.  As the first ICT Volunteer in country, Seth has frequently given presentations exploring ICT as a development tool to Volunteers and Trainees, and worked with PC/Bolivia program staff to develop a workable strategy for integrating ICT across our project sectors.

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