Funded Project: Togo Latrine Project

My name is Anna Williams and I recently COS’d from Peace Corps Togo. I saw your newsletter about the donation to my clinic latrine project. The latrine was part of the pilot program with Rotary International. Everyone in Zafi is so appreciative of the donations that made this project happen. It’s a huge boon for the clinic and the health of the people in Zafi. I’ve attached some photos from the latrine. The one with me and the women is from the weekly baby weighing. We did a hand washing training and talked about low cost hand washing stations they can set up in their own homes. The other by the latrine includes myself and several prominent community members.




Thank you for your help and support.


Anna Williams

Peace Corps Response Rwanda

Funded Project: Tonga | Camp GLOW 2015

NJ Native Rene Fern is a volunteer in Tonga. The RPCV-NJ donated $500 to her Peace Corps Partnership Project described below and we look forward to hearing from her regarding the progress of this initiative.

Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) is a week-long sleep-away camp designed to empower its participants by: 1.) Advocating a healthy lifestyle; 2.) Providing vital information on sensitive topics; 3.) Teaching leadership and team-building skills; 4.) Encouraging critical thinking and logical decision-making; 5.) Building a network of motivated girls and women; 6.) And fostering self-confidence and creative expression through a fun, safe, judgment-free environment.

Camp GLOW is part of a nationwide project that conducts individual camps on two islands, hosting female 9th grade student leaders from various middle and high schools within the region who have displayed academic excellence and leadership potential. The camp will engage 25 girls in a week of games, sports, arts, technical training, and educational sessions. The sessions will cover topics such as goal setting, leadership, water safety, public speaking, conflict resolution, sexual health, the rights of women and children, sexual harassment and domestic abuse, nutrition, food sanitation, and environmental responsibility. The camp will emphasize the importance of being informed, active, independent, and responsible citizens, and will include an element of community service.

This contribution also falls under the US government’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative to ensure adolescent girls get the education they deserve which is promoted by First Lady Michelle Obama in cooperation with the Peace Corps.

Peace Corps Revisited – Guest Blog

Joanne Brandwood (Botswana 1981-83)

I served in the Peace Corps (in Botswana) over three decades ago, but this summer I was lucky enough to see Peace Corps in action once again. My husband, Bob, and I visited two of our children at their Peace Corps sites—one in Ethiopia and one in Vanuatu. Of course, the physical challenges of life in the developing world seemed much easier when we were in our 20s, but we were both struck by how familiar everything seemed—even in countries that were thousands of miles apart!

This is my daughter and me with Sarah’s local counterpart and his family. They shared the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony with us—both delicious and welcoming.

Sarah & Counterpart-Endalk's family

After visiting Sarah’s village Bob and I had the opportunity to travel to several of Ethiopia’s amazing historical sites, including this 900 year old stone church in Lalibela.

in Lalibela

This is our son David, with his host parents on Tanna island in Vanuatu.  Dave & host parents

Below is a photo of David dancing a “Kastom” dance with some men from his village.

kastom dancing

Mandela Washington Fellowship Program

In June, Rutgers’ Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs (GAIA) began hosting a group of talented young African leaders for the Mandela Washington Fellowship, an initiative of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). These fellows are between the ages of 25 and 35 and working to progress social change in sub-Saharan Africa through entrepreneurship, advocacy, and community service. The fellowship is intended to provide them with the skills and the know-how to advance their goals when they return to their home countries.
The U.S. State Department asked the GAIA Centers to coordinate a “peer collaborator” program as part of the fellowship experience. This program matched individuals with Fellows who share the same field of study and experiences.  The pair then meet informally once a week for six weeks.

Rutgers sought Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to participate in this program which started at the end of June and several volunteered to do so.  Initial communication and some meetings have taken place to date. According to one of the Fellows, “The session was very informal and friendly so I felt really calm and happy about the whole experience. We talked about passion and inspiration. We talked about our respective works as well. We have been having an email conversation ever since and I am truly grateful. She is also trying very hard to put me in contact with important people that are engaged in similar works.”

Thanks to Greg Costalas, a Senior Program Coordinator at the GAIA Centers, for reaching out to RPCV-NJ for collaboration on this project and for the NJ RPCVs who are participating in the program.
If you’d like to know more about the Peer Collaborator program or wish to volunteer for this opportunity next summer, please reach out to Greg Costalas at

Howell Farms – Potato Harvest – August 15

IMG_8578 Howell Farms Apr 2015 Both teams plowing

Potato Harvest 2015

RPCV Pete Watson, Howell Living History Farm manager, relayed via email that 1,475 lbs spuds were harvested on Saturday, August 15th with the help of farm visitors lead by NJ RPCVs Greg (and 2 friends from DC), Carmine, Pat & Dave, Peter, Gerry, Jon (and Lynn).

It was a bit equatorial in terms of heat and humidity, but we ‘done good’ according to the boss man. Howell Farm’s Ian Ferry used horses Jack and Chester to pull the potato lifter and Rob used oxen Jim & John to haul baskets, bags and other supplies to the field.

Due to a bumper (and record) crop, there are still another 1000 – 1500 lbs to harvest…an invitation was extended to get in their digs on Saturday, August 22nd!

Thanks to all who helped us maintain the wonderful tradition of planting and harvesting this crop for our local food pantries, and helping us demonstrate the importance of preserving and teaching agricultural skills!

RPCV Camping Weekend – August 28-30 at Belleplain State Forest

You are invited (along with your family & friends for a camping trip! August 28th, 29th and 30th we will be at:
1 Henkinsifkin Rd, Woodbine, NJ 08270
(609) 861-2404
Our camping specialist, Dennis Ng, will be providing a list of things to bring this week. Activities available in the park include:

Facilities & Activities:


  • Hiking
  • Nature trails (trail guide available at office)
  • Horseback riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Biking
  • Physical fitness trail
We have limited space this year so please RSVP by August 22nd to:
Anthony Privetera or Dennis Ng or

Host an International High School Exchange Student Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State

Would you like to have a cross-cultural experience in your community while contributing to improved relations between the United States and other countries? If so, consider hosting an exchange student sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in your home or school.  Each year, almost 2,000 high school students representing over 50 countries are awarded highly competitive merit-based State Department scholarships to study in the United States for an academic year.  These promising young leaders live with American host families across the country, attend high school, and participate in extracurricular and community service activities.  When they return to their home countries, they engage in alumni activities to share what they learned, put their new skills in practice, and maintain their links to the United States as they become leaders in their communities.

The benefits of hosting Department of State-sponsored exchange student go beyond simply welcoming someone new into your family or school and sharing American culture, values, and traditions — when you host an exchange student you welcome a new culture and language, and all the richness that comes with it into your community, help a young person learn and grow, and create long-lasting relationships and memories.  Learn more and fill out an interest form at or email

June 21st (11-2pm) “Art in the Peace Corps” at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens

Peace Corps and the Philadelphia Magic Gardens have teamed up to provide a community outreach event titled “Art in the Peace Corps” that will feature an arts-based ‘Around the World’ style table line-up with RPCVs displaying pieces & crafts from their host countries. It will also bring in Isaiah Zagar, lead artist and creator of the Philadelphia Magic Gardens, who is also an RPCV (Peru) and whose experiences as a PCV helped to inspire this work of art & spur the spread of murals across Philadelphia! Magic Gardens expects 500-600 people to pass through their exhibit on this day!

The event description, location, directions, parking etc. can be found here:

This is a great opportunity to bring together RPCVs from every decade to connect with the Philadelphia & greater area community and to support a RPCV’s non-profit!  If you can help by setting up a display table, please contact Patrick McGettigan

Reminder: RPCVs get in for only 5$ when they let them know they served in Peace Corps at the front desk; anyone displaying their work will get in for free!

Patrick McGettigan

Field-Based Recruitment – Philadelphia / South Jersey

RPCV Mozambique 2011-2013

(267) 902-9280