Monday, January 3, 2011

An Empowering Development

On Monday December 13th, about a month after my original invitation, the NGO Development program I had been invited to in Morocco was cancelled. I was given the option to switch to another program in Morocco or go to another country to do NGO Development. After a week of deliberation, I decided to stick with Morocco and be a Health Educator and Community Development volunteer. I was a little disappointed about not being in NGO Development, but it wasn't strong enough to pull me somewhere else. I wasn’t exactly sure why, but Morocco was calling me and I just had to answer.

After adjusting to the idea of this slightly different work, I am now more motivated than ever. I am building my knowledge to empower myself by studying about Morocco, its economics, culture and religion and learning its languages, and devouring materials about the principles and practices of development - in particular Peace Corps' An NGO Training Guide for Peace Corps Volunteers. I’m delighted to discover that the work development actually entails at the ground level is something I'm excited about and feel I’ll be well suited to. I can't wait to find ways to use the knowledge I'm acquiring and the skills I'll gain in pre-service training (PST), and by applying any natural capacity I discover I have for the work, to pursue what I'm most passionate about: empowering my new community to strengthen themselves from the inside out.

Essentially, the primary challenges all the Volunteers will face, and the primary skills we'll all be learning, will be communicating with and understanding a country’s people and their needs, and figuring out how to ultimately meet those needs within their cultural context. It is this process of empowerment, after all, not a particular field, sector or job description, that is the real work of the Peace Corps. And it is exactly why I wanted to join in the first place.

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