Joshua Bender

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Biography[edit]

Joshua Bender (born 1979, Kansas) is an intern landscape architect with experience in landscape architecture, civil engineering, construction, and international grassroots development.

Professional Experience[edit]

Josh currently works as a landscape architect at AQ Arkitekter in Eskilsuna, Sweden.

Previous work experience includes employment with Professional Engineering Consultants, a multi-disciplinary engineering firm in Wichita, KS. He was involved in the completion of civil and landscape improvements to Wichita State University, Wichita Animal Services, and several aircraft manufacturing facilities. He also assisted area builders with residential lot grading plans.

Josh has also worked for Gossen Livingston Associates, a Wichita area architecture firm, where he guided a small team in completing an irrigation plan for Jardine Apartments at Kansas State University. He also assisted with site plans and construction documents for small projects on several high schools, veterans' cemeteries, and military bases. Josh worked as a paid student intern for Carducci Associates, a landscape architecture firm in San Francisco, CA. Some of his graphic work is still used by the firm as promotional material on their website.

Volunteer Experience[edit]

Nicaragua[edit]

Josh served as a volunteer in Peace Corps Nicaragua's Agriculture Program from 2003 to 2005. He lived in the village of Río Abajo, between Pueblo Nuevo and Condega in the Department of Estelí. Previous volunteers in that site include Richard Amory, 2001 to 2003. His counterpart was the Instituto Nicaragüense de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), locally based in Condega. His work included promoting the cover-crop beans canivalia and gandul (Canavalia ensiformis and Cajanus cajans, respectively), quality protein maize (QPM), and baking bread with the local women's group. He also played a minor role in helping Río Abajo get a potable water system, acting as liason between the village and the Japanese Embassy in Nicaragua.

El Salvador[edit]

Josh also served as a Peace Corps Response volunteer in El Salvador in 2006. He served as a Planning and Soil Conservation Specialist in Cantón Apulo, Ilopango, a town of approximately 15,000. His counterpart was the Asociación de la Organización de Cuenca del Lago de Ilopango, or ASOCLI. He worked to reduce the community's vulnerability to landslides and flooding by planting live barriers, mapping flood-prone areas, training a local emergency response team, and submitting a report to the City of Ilopango's mayor.

Education[edit]

Josh holds a Bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture from Kansas State University (KSU), with a Secondary Major in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. He had the honor of participating in two team design competitions led by Torgeir Norheim, faculty member at KSU: Fjordlyset, an Opera House in Oslo, Norway received an American Institute of Architects (AIA) Kansas Award for Un-Built Non-Commissioned Architecture in 2000; Student Union at Høgskolen I Stavanger received an Honorable Mention in 1999. While at KSU, Josh served alongside Matthew Benfer as editor of Oz, an architectural journal, recipient of AIA New York's 2002 Haskell Award for Student Architectural Journalism.

Currently[edit]

Josh moved to Sweden in 2008 to join his wife in her home country. He has been working full-time and taking night classes in Swedish. He eagerly awaits being awarded "MVG" upon completion of his Swedish studies.

Description of Service[edit]


Nicaragua[edit]


DESCRIPTION OF VOLUNTEER SERVICE
JOSHUA M. BENDER
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER XXX-XX-XXXX

DESCRIPTION OF TRAINING

Joshua M. Bender began Peace Corps Nicaragua’s community-based training program in the town of Santa Cruz, Estelí on September 3, 2003. The intensive twelve-week training program is designed to help trainees adapt to actual field situations while living with Nicaraguan families. The program included formal instruction in Spanish, Nicaraguan culture, cross-cultural adaptation, community development, non-formal education techniques, and technical themes related to agricultural extension in Nicaragua. Training consisted of approximately 160 hours of Spanish language study, 70.5 hours of technical training in agriculture extension, and 97.5 hours of cross-cultural studies. An additional 66 hours of non-formal self-directed activities were also carried out in technical and cross-cultural themes at the community level.

After successful completion of training, Joshua M. Bender was sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua on November 28, 2003.

PRIMARY WORK ASSIGNMENT

As an Agricultural Extension Volunteer, Joshua M. Bender was assigned to work in the rural town of Río Abajo, located in the northern highlands of Nicaragua. He carried out agricultural extension activities at the grass-roots level, working directly with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Agriculture (INTA), local farmers, and community leaders. Joshua M. Bender conducted the following activities in Spanish:

  1. Designed and delivered a community diagnostic study to 25 families to evaluate sustainable food production and community needs. Organized community meeting to present the results of the study and ranked priorities. Primary community interests were: a) Construction of a potable water system, b) Finding access to credit for agricultural production, c) Diversified crop production and the attainment of seeds, d) Continuing a student scholarship program, e) Providing English classes.
  2. Designed a revolving-fund project to distribute 1,100 lbs of cover-crop beans to 125 farming families in northern Nicaragua, coordinating the efforts of 25 Peace Corps Agricultural Extension Volunteers. Volunteers and farmers were trained in the use of cover-crop beans in basic grain production, planting Canavalia ensiformis in association with corn and Cajanus cajans in live barriers. Families were trained how to process the beans and incorporate them into their diets, or in animal feed systems. Participating communities learned how to form a community seed bank to guarantee the availability of seed for future planting seasons. Participating volunteers destined a portion of the harvest to 15 new volunteers, in new sites, making the project available to another 75 farming families. Maintained correspondence with participating volunteers, and provided all necessary technical information to guarantee the success of the project.
  3. Planted 130 lbs of Quality Protein Maize, Obetampa africana, with 12 farmers and their families, improving family nutrition due to the higher content of lysine and tryptophan. Taught the importance of planting Quality Protein Maize in association with cover-crop legumes, especially Canavalia ensiformis and Cajanus cajans, to increase soil fertility, productivity, and decrease erosion.
  4. Trained 25 farmers and their families in the use of cover crop beans: Canavalia ensiformis, Cajanus cajans, and Vigna radiata. Taught the benefits of association, cover-cropping, and live barrier cropping systems, promoting the incorporation of legumes with basic grains. Demonstrated different techniques to incorporate the beans into human and animal diets, using recipes from Un Brindis al Córdoba, a Peace Corps Nicaragua cookbook. Presented material together with Escuelas Radiofónicas, a non-governmental organization, promoting patio and parcel diversification. Efforts resulted in the planting of 60 lbs of cover crop beans, in association and as live barriers, with basic grains and fruit trees.
  5. Trained a women’s group (11 women total) how to form a small business. The leader attended a conference on commercialization and food processing techniques, and the group received training in accounting, feasibility studies, and small-business management. The group baked 50 lbs of bread per week, selling in the countryside and nearby towns, increasing the household income of participating women (average of $4/wk). We provided a loan for the purchase of baking pans. The group was also trained in the use of improved stoves, to decrease firewood consumption.
  6. Held regular cooking sessions with two women’s groups (12 women total), teaching them how to improve family nutrition and take better advantage of patio resources. Women learned how to take special advantage of cover crop beans, for human consumption and as animal feed. Taught classes using Un Brindis al Córdoba, a Peace Corps Nicaragua cookbook. Distributed two copies of cookbook to the leaders of the women’s groups so that they may continue using the recipes.
  7. Planted a forage bank of Moringa oleifera with two farmers, training them in it’s use in livestock and family nutrition. Performed experiment with the Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Technology and Peace Corps Nicaragua to determine the feasibility of integrating Moringa in forages systems, concluding that it is not apt in the absence of irrigation due to low drought tolerance.
  8. Organized a chicken vaccination campaign, immunizing 1,750 chickens in 120 homes against Newcastle disease and avian smallpox. Trained five community members how to administer the vaccine and organize the campaign. Thanks to their efforts, fewer chickens are now dying in the community.
  9. Taught six families how to convert old tires into planters, to decrease the amount of roadside garbage in the community and promote small-family gardening. Each family planted their tires with squash, carrots, peppers, and other small garden plants. Trained families in the importance of incorporating waste water into small family gardens, given the frequent drought in Río Abajo.
  10. Prepared and delivered a presentation on reforestation to 30 farmers. Topics covered the importance of trees in watershed management, the effect of deforestation on landslides, and the risk of forest fires resulting from the burning of trash or fields during the dry season.
  11. Assisted one farmer, three students, and an INTA researcher in a pasture grass experiment. Investigated the suitability of four pasture grasses for use in the dry tropic environment. Students were from the Universidad Católica del Trópico Seco (UCATSE) and gained valuable experience for writing their thesis.
  12. Planted 30 lbs of sweet potato, Ipomea batata, with 10 farmers, training them in food preparation, using recipes from Un Brindis al Córdoba, a Peace Corps Nicaragua cookbook.
  13. Held informal discussions with five passion fruit farmers regarding different opportunities for commercializing their products, including the export-entities Hortifrutti and CLUSA. Coordinated efforts of farmers and extension workers in diagnosis and treatment of fruit bore, a disease that was damaging passion fruit harvests in the community.
  14. Built a demonstration dyke of locally available materials, wood and stone, in the community with extensionists from the Programa Socioambiental y Desarrollo Forestal de Nicaragua (POSAF). Evaluated potential sites for dyke construction based upon necessity and erosion risk. As a result, six farmers in Río Abajo built 10 dykes. As a soil conservation measure, dykes decreased the velocity of runoff water and trapped soil that would otherwise have been lost to erosion.
  15. Trained three women and one man in the formation of community banks. Made three community bank presentations to the community and neighboring area. Organized two workshops and visits to neighboring communities with Peace Corps community banks.
  16. Conducted a farm-planning survey with one farmer and another Peace Corps volunteer, to evaluate the potential for creating a model farm. Performed on-site survey, drew a map, and presented the results to the owner. Decision to build model farm is still pending.
  17. Organized a model farm exchange between two local producers and 50 adolescents from four regional 4-H clubs. Coordinated the efforts of Peace Corps Volunteers to organize a field day. Participants learned of the importance of planting in association, patio diversification, planting on level curves, and opportunities to improve their production at home.
  18. Trained three agricultural extension workers from INTA in the importance of Moringa oleifera, Canavalia ensiformis, Cajanus cajans, watershed management, and community banks in rural community development. Provided regional office with seeds for use in the communities in which they worked.

SECONDARY PROJECT ACTIVITIES

  1. Worked with Community Development Committee (village council) composed of local leaders. Advised them in the running of meetings and requesting outside assistance for community development projects. Trained leaders how to solicit grants from interested donors, including the Japanese Embassy in Nicaragua. Also trained leaders how to approach their local municipal government for assistance and to provide consistent, patient pressure. Resulted in the awarding of a potable water project for the community, yet to be built, and the solicitation for a bridge to cross the nearby river, an obstacle to transportation and commerce in the area. Additional tasks performed with local leaders to achieve construction of said projects included community mapping, community surveys, topographical and hydrologic surveys, and coordination between the village council, the mayor’s office, and participating agencies.
  2. Advised a student scholarship program started by a previous volunteer in my community. The US donor provided $500 a year to benefit 10 students. Translated and forwarded correspondence between donor and beneficiaries. Organized fundraisers with the student group and verified that participants completed the requirements mandated by their contracts.
  3. Taught weekly English classes to 25 elementary school, three secondary school, and five university students. Classes involved pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and the use of English-Spanish dictionaries. Resulted in improved grades in English class for secondary school and university students.
  4. Organized an informal book and magazine sharing program to encourage literacy. Participants varied between five and 10, depending on interest in materials available. Provided National Geographic en Español and various works of Hispanic literature, at all levels of reading, to youth and adults.
  5. Organized local soccer team. Organized fundraisers to cover costs of balls, equipment, and league fees. Trained team captains in the organization of practices, improving player performance, health, and enjoyment of the game. Donated one ball to the team to get them started.
  6. Hosted eight training sessions for Peace Corps Volunteers in the Agriculture and Health programs: History of Nicaragua, Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Patio Management Day, Small Family Gardening, Garden Construction Field Day, Three Month Reports and the INTA Counterpart Relationship, Integral Parcel Management Field-Day, and Watersheds and Watershed Management. Researched and prepared all materials for presentations, collaborating with training staff.
  7. Organized Agriculture Table for the Peace Corps Nicaragua 2004 All Volunteer Conference. Assembled four presentation boards of photos, written experiences, seeds, produce, and products, the fruits of Agriculture Sector work.
  8. Hosted two trainees on a four-day volunteer visit, introducing them to Agriculture Extension activities, safety and security realities, cross-cultural and counterpart relations, and daily living skills.



COMPLETION OF SERVICE

Joshua M. Bender completed his Peace Corps service on November 18th, 2005.

“Pursuant to section 5(f) of the Peace Corps Act, 22 U.S.C. 2504(f) as amended, any former Volunteer employed by the United States Government following Peace Corps Volunteer service is entitled to have any period of satisfactory Peace Corps service credited for purposes of retirement, seniority, reduction in force, leave and other privileges based on the length of Government service. Peace Corps service shall not be credited toward completion of the probationary or trial period or completion of any service requirement for career appointment.”

“This is to certify in accordance with Executive Order 11103 of April 10, 1963, that Joshua M. Bender served satisfactorily as a Peace Corps Volunteer. His service in Nicaragua ended on November 18th, 2005. He is therefore eligible to be appointed as career-conditional employee on the competitive civil service on a non-competitive basis. This benefit under the Executive Order entitlement extends for a period of one year except that the employing agency may extend the period for up to three years for a former volunteer who enters military service, pursues studies at a recognized institute of higher learning, or engages in other activities which, in the view of the appointing authority, warrants extension of the period.”

Todd Sloan, Peace Corps Country Director, Nicaragua

El Salvador[edit]

DESCRIPTION OF PEACE CORPS SERVICE

JOSHUA MATTHEW BENDER

XXX-XX-XXXX

EL SALVADOR

Joshua Matthew Bender successfully completed a six-month service as a Disaster Response and Reconstruction Volunteer with Crisis Corps El Salvador. The Crisis Corps provides short-term post-disaster and humanitarian assistance by allowing exceptional Peace Corps Volunteers to return to the field in short-term, high-impact assignments. Joshua Matthew Bender worked as a Soil Conservation and Urban/Rural Planning Specialist with the Asociación de Organismo de Cuenca del Lago de Ilopango (ASOCLI)—the Lake Ilopango Watershed Association. He also coordinated activities with the National Civil Protection Commission of El Salvador (CNPC), the Local Civil Protection Commission of Apulo (CLPC), the National Territorial Studies Service (SNET), and the Alcaldía de Ilopango—the Ilopango mayor’s office. He lived and worked in the town of Cantón Dolores Apulo, located in the department of San Salvador, located approximately 15km east of the capital city of San Salvador, on the shores of Lake Ilopango. Cantón Dolores Apulo was severely affected by landslides and flooding due to heavy rainfall suffered from Hurricane Stan in October of 2005. The rains caused the sudden rise in stage of Lake Ilopango, flooding approximately 150 houses. Below is a detailed description of the activities and projects he participated in during his service:

  1. Created a territorial plan for the community of Cantón Apulo by coordinating with the local government, national governmental institutions, and community members. Conducted a two-month study to identify the causes of flooding in the community: the rise of Lake Ilopango and the sedimentation of the Güilapa River. The study was presented in the form of a 48-page report, written in Spanish. The study included maps elaborated in AutoCAD and coordinating information provided by the University of El Salvador in GIS format. Developed suggestions for the territorial planning of Cantón Apulo to decrease the disaster risk by implementing the following measures: earthwork operations in the river, reforestation of the watershed, construction of a sediment trap, riverbank protection, risk mapping, land-use restrictions, emergency/evacuation planning, relocation of vulnerable families, enforcement of existing laws, and the establishment of a no-build zone along the shore of Lake Ilopango. All measures were presented as options requiring further study by the Alcaldía, including the elaboration of a budget and proper engineering design. Joshua Matthew Bender presented the report to the mayor of Ilopango, Daysi Cruz.
  2. Provided support in the elaboration of a $1,000,000 housing project for the relocation of 140 families living in flood-risk areas. Provided a conceptual design—in AutoCAD—and elaborated a budget, coordinating work with the Office of Projects in the Alcaldía of Ilopango. The design included the use of anti-seismic, prefabricated panels to make the project safer, easier to build, and affordable. Researched and summarized applicable ordinances and how they affected the project’s feasibility. Joshua Matthew Bender presented the design to the mayor of Ilopango, Daysi Cruz.
  3. Compiled and provided information to the Offices of Planning and Projects in the Alcaldía of Ilopango. Information was gathered from different government agencies, including the National Territorial Studies Service (SNET), the National (Property) Registry Center (CNR), and the San Salvador Metropolitan Area Planning Office (OPAMSS). All information was provided in the form of maps and electronic files for use in Arc View GIS and AutoCAD. The maps included information such as the location of flood and landslide risk-areas, public and private property. These maps and files will be used in the future by the Alcaldía to better guide their territorial planning efforts.
  4. Trained the Local Civil Protection Commission of Cantón Apulo. Offered and coordinated six sessions, training 46 people in natural disasters and risk planning. Additionally, provided information on progress by the Ministry of Public Works in the construction of drainage works in the Desagüe River to reduce the height of Lake Ilopango.
  5. Implemented a soil conservation project to plant one acre of eroded slopes with live-barriers of Vetiver grass, Vetiveria zizanoides. The plantings aimed to decrease the landslide risk and diminish the amount of erosion that causes sedimentation in the Güilapa River. Tasks included the procurement of root cuttings, the training of a planting crew of 7 people, and coordination of the planting on 9 landowners’ property.
  6. Distributed 1,500 sandbags to the Local Civil Protection Commission of Apulo to protect houses from flooding of the Güilapa River.
  7. Gave an interview for the 30-minute program “Miradas” on a local Salvadoran TV station—Canal 33 of the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA)—regarding the humanitarian crisis of Cantón Apulo, identifying the causes and making recommendations on what could be done.
  8. Trained nine 9 health promoters in the importance of disaster planning and prevention. The presentation focused on simple ideas, such as erosion control and avoiding home construction on steep slopes.

Pursuant to section 5(f) of the Peace Corps Act, 22 US.C.& 2504(f), as amended, any former Volunteer employed by the United States Government following his/her Peace Corps service is entitled to have any period of satisfactory Peace Corps Volunteer service credited for purposes of Government Service.

This is to certify in accordance with Executive Order No. 11103 of April 10, 1963, that JOSHUA MATTHEW BENDER served satisfactorily as a Peace Corps Volunteer. His service ended on October 17th, 2006 and is therefore eligible to be appointed as a career conditional employee in the civil service on a non-competitive basis. This benefit under Executive Order Entitlement extends for a period of one year, except that the employing agency may extend the period for up to three years for a volunteer who enters military service, pursues studies at a recognized institution of higher learning or engages in other activities which in the view of the appointing authority warrants extension of the period.

Michael Wise, Country Director, Peace Corps El Salvador

Lavinia Jura, Crisis Corps Coordinator, Peace Corps El Salvador

Resources[edit]

Cover crop beans project outline 2005

Cover crop beans calendar 2005

Links[edit]

Photos from Nicaragua, 2003 to 2005

Photos from El Salvador, 2006

References[edit]

(for all information above)