Thursday, August 25, 2011


Sustainability. The word inspires, motivates, disheartens and haunts, all at the same time. Thinking about the short-term and long-term impacts your projects will have on the people you are trying to assist -- essentially the ability of these impacts to endure and replicate -- is a substantial portion of project planning here in the Peace Corps. Projects we design start as small ideas and blossom into complex tasks full of data collection and analysis, decision making, budgeting and the hefty job of implementation, followed closely by repetition. And through every minute of planning and implementation, sustainability is considered.

I believe that we all have different standards for sustainability. There are some absolutes on the large scale, but the small becomes more relative. Helping people learn to read is sustainable, but building a library and buying all the books may not be sustainable enough for some volunteers. Other volunteers and I have had countless discussions on the sustainability of projects, and I've found that my standards are quite restricting. It's possibly because I'm only 1/5 of the way into my service and thus still over-idealistic, but I often find it hard to decide whether or not to do something because it doesn't reach my standards.

There are a few main goals I believe I should try to reach in my village:
  1. Improve the quality of education provided by our elementary school, specifically in health education, environmental education, and English (if truly desired by teachers, students and parents)
  2. Increase the per-capita income of residents
  3. Increase the amount of educated adults in village
  4. Increase the utilization of water purification techniques
  5. Increase the overall health and hygiene of residents
My entrepreneurial spirit comes out when planning projects. The Peace Corps is exactly where I should be right now. And although maintaining the sustainability of one's projects can be difficult, it is a difficulty that I and my fellow volunteers embrace! Woah, 3am... I should be asleep!


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