Difference between pages "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Peru" and "Inter-America and Pacific"

From Peace Corps Wiki
(Difference between pages)
Jump to: navigation, search
m (1 revision imported)
 
 
Line 1: Line 1:
{{Diversity_and_cross-cultural_issues_by_country}}
+
{{TOCright}}
In fulfilling its mandate to share the face of America with host countries, the Peace Corps makes special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps.  Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers.  Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other.
 
  
While our diversity helps us accomplish that goal, in other ways it poses challenges. In Peru, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ backgrounds, beliefs, lifestyles, and behaviors are judged in a cultural context different from our own.  
+
Since the Peace Corps’ inception in 1961, more
 +
than 73,000 Volunteers have served in the Inter-
 +
America and Pacific (IAP) region. They have served
 +
in more than 32 countries in the Inter-Americas and
 +
14 countries in the Pacific Islands. At the end of fiscal
 +
year (FY) 2006, 2,501 Volunteers were working in 23
 +
posts in all six of the agency’s sectors: agriculture, business
 +
development, education, the environment, health
 +
and HIV/AIDS, and youth. Additional countries in the
 +
Pacific and South America continue to be interested
 +
in establishing Peace Corps programs.  
  
===Overview of Diversity in Peru ===
+
The region is committed to ensuring the safety
 +
and security of all Volunteers. All IAP posts have
 +
trained safety and security coordinators. In addition,
 +
three regional Peace Corps safety and security officers,
 +
stationed in El Salvador, Fiji, and Peru, help posts
 +
assess risks and ensure appropriate training for staff
 +
and Volunteers. Each post has an emergency action
 +
plan, which is tested and revised at least once every
 +
year. Headquarters staff is trained to review posts’
 +
emergency plans and to support field staff in crisis
 +
management.
  
The people of Peru are known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to differences that you present. Outside of Peru’s capital, residents have had less direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles.  
+
Peace Corps Volunteers and their counterparts
 +
have become active, productive participants in the
 +
President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR),
 +
the five-year, multi-billion-dollar initiative to combat
 +
the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. For example,  
 +
in Guyana, Volunteers are focusing on community  
 +
mobilization strategies to prevent HIV/AIDS and to
 +
improve access to existing services. They help reach out
 +
to vulnerable groups, including orphans and vulnerable
 +
children, by working with the Ministry of Health
 +
and local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on
 +
national programs focused on prevention and care.
 +
They also work with health centers and communities
 +
to help facilitate community health assessments,  
 +
design and implement health education projects,
 +
and train health center staff and community leaders.
 +
Volunteers are working with health centers and NGOs
 +
to help Guyana address the HIV/AIDS pandemic as
 +
well as other diseases, such as tuberculosis, malaria,  
 +
and dengue fever. Other Volunteers worked to mobilize
 +
communities to attend health education outreach sessions,
 +
encouraging community members to be tested at HIV/AIDS testing facilities. These testing facilities
 +
will help lower mother-to-child transmission of
 +
HIV/AIDS.  
  
To adapt to life in Peru, you may need to make some compromises in how you present yourself as an individual.  
+
In FY 2006, Peace Corps programs in the
 +
Dominican Republic, Eastern Caribbean, and Panama
 +
received PEPFAR funding to carry out technical assistance
 +
to community-based organizations, offer small
 +
assistance grants, and organize behavioral change and
 +
monitoring and reporting workshops for HIV/AIDS
 +
prevention and education.  
  
Female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise as much independence as they do in the United States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs or orientations may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these issues. Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.  
+
Many Volunteers in the IAP region work in traditional
 +
sectors, such as water and sanitation. For
 +
example, Volunteers in Bolivia improve sanitary conditions
 +
by designing and constructing water systems that
 +
provide potable water to rural communities. They also
 +
help organize water boards to take over maintenance
 +
of these systems to ensure sustainability.  
  
===What Might a Volunteer Face? ===
+
In Honduras, Volunteers promote sustainable
 +
production techniques to improve soil conservation
 +
as well as to increase the diversity of crops, enhancing
 +
food security and family incomes. To improve family
 +
nutrition and income, Volunteers introduce improved
 +
vegetable and small animal production methods to
 +
women working in agriculture.
  
====Possible Gender Issues for Volunteers ====
+
In Mexico, Volunteers are now assigned to
 +
work with SEMARNAT, Mexico’s Ministry for the
 +
Environment and Natural Resources. Volunteers  
 +
focus on issues related to combating deforestation,
 +
forest fires, and soil erosion; promoting conservation
 +
of biodiversity and natural habitats; and improving
 +
management of national parks and wildlife reserves.
  
Gender roles in Peru are different from those in the United States, and it is important to understand them to be effective and to find personal satisfaction in your project assignment. Most Peruvian women have traditional roles, especially in rural areas, where they run the household, prepare meals, clean, and rear children. In addition, many women work in the fields, run small businesses, and care for farm animals. Men also have specific roles, and “manliness” is very important.  
+
In many IAP countries, Peace Corps’ traditional
 +
sectors are melding with some of the newer cross-cutting
 +
areas such as youth development and technology.
 +
Many programs target youth to develop life skills,
 +
leadership skills, and employability. In the Dominican
 +
Republic, for instance, Volunteers engage young
 +
people in activities ranging from business education
 +
to strategic planning to technical assistance. In rural
 +
communities, Volunteers work with farmers’ markets
 +
and agricultural cooperatives to introduce e-marketing
 +
and website development.  
  
It is not uncommon for women to experience stares, comments, and requests for dates on the street and in other situations. Female Volunteers are obvious targets because they generally look different from Peruvian women. Female Volunteers may have to accept certain constraints that male Volunteers do not, and adjust to different norms, behaviors, and ways of doing things.  
+
In Samoa, the education project includes a focus
 +
on information and communication technology.
 +
Volunteers work with teachers and counterparts in computer studies, helping them update curricula and  
 +
lesson plans for years 9–13 and providing assistance
 +
to teachers to access materials and resources for their
 +
classes. Volunteers also help teach computer skills to  
 +
youth and help teachers establish computer labs.  
  
Male Volunteers also encounter harassment, but less frequently.  Male Volunteers may be teased about not being “manly” enough for not pursuing women or drinking. Male Volunteers who cook, wash clothes and dishes, and clean the house may be considered strange by their neighbors.  
+
In Vanuatu, Fiji, and other Pacific posts, Volunteers
 +
are working with marine protected areas and other
 +
marine conservation projects. Volunteers in Vanuatu
 +
partnered with a U.S. conservation foundation to
 +
promote costal resource ecotourism.  
  
====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color ====
+
Volunteers have left a significant legacy of service
 +
to countries in the IAP region. Since the agency’s
 +
inception in 1961, Peace Corps Volunteers have served
 +
continuously in the Eastern Caribbean island of St.
 +
Lucia. The Peace Corps has also partnered with other
 +
countries for more than 40 years and will continue to
 +
work to the benefit of people throughout the Inter-
 +
Americas and the Pacific.
  
Peru has many ethnic groups, including large Chinese and Japanese populations, and an Afro-Peruvian community concentrated in Lima and other coastal areas. Peruvians from these minority groups, particularly Afro-Peruvians, are sometimes subject to subtle forms of discrimination, and Volunteers, including African-American Volunteers, may experience similar treatment.
+
==External Links==
 
+
[http://www.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/policies/peacecorps_cbj_2008.pdf Congressional Budget Justification 2008] Peace Corps website (PDF, 47MB)
All Volunteers may hear racial comments while on the street, although the comments are more likely to be descriptive than derogatory. For example, persons of Asian descent are called Chinos, whether or not they are of Chinese descent.  All Volunteers, but particularly Volunteers of color, will be subjected to a variety of questions, comments, and perhaps even jokes regarding their race or ethnicity. While some of these may be mean-spirited, most will be innocent, arising from unfamiliarity with or misinformation about other races and cultures. You will find it helpful to maintain a positive attitude about yourself and to approach any negative comments with patience and confidence. Peruvians, particularly in rural areas, tend to think all Americans are Caucasian and may express disbelief when you introduce yourself as an American. The need for repeated explanations of your ethnic background may become tiresome, but it is a wonderful opportunity to explain the rich cultural diversity of the United States to Peruvians.
 
 
 
====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers ====
 
 
 
In general, older members of the community are well-respected in Peru. Specific challenges for senior Volunteers are often related to language acquisition and adaptation to the basic living conditions of Peru. Also, because most Volunteers are in their 20s, seniors may find that developing a peer support system within the Volunteer community is a challenge.  
 
 
 
====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers ====
 
 
 
While there is some openness about sexual orientation in the larger cities, homosexuality is not looked upon favorably in smaller communities. We recommend that gay, lesbian, and bisexual Volunteers be circumspect about their sexual orientation with their Peruvian colleagues, particularly at first. Once established in their site, each Volunteer will make the decision with whom to discuss their sexual orientation.  Support mechanisms are available within the Peace Corps community and from Peace Corps staff.
 
 
 
 
 
 
====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers ====
 
 
 
Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion in Peru. Many other religious groups are present and visible around the country, and tolerance of all religions is fairly high. In some smaller communities, divisions exist across religious lines, and Volunteers need to understand these and be careful about being seen as aligned with one side or the other. If you are an observant member of any religion, particularly a non-Christian one, it may be challenging to explain your beliefs to Peruvians. Obtaining special foods and locating a place of worship for major holidays may also be a challenge. Lima has places of worship for most major religions, including several synagogues for the Jewish population.
 
 
 
====Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities ====
 
 
 
As a disabled Volunteer in Peru, you will face a special set of challenges. There is very little infrastructure to accommodate those with disabilities, and few places make any accommodation for those with physical disabilities. The major cities do, however, offer some institutional support for those with disabilities.
 
 
 
As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, to perform a full tour of Volunteer service in Peru without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. Peace Corps/Peru staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations in training, housing, job sites, and other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.
 
 
 
[[Category:Peru]]
 

Revision as of 17:28, 2 February 2008

Since the Peace Corps’ inception in 1961, more than 73,000 Volunteers have served in the Inter- America and Pacific (IAP) region. They have served in more than 32 countries in the Inter-Americas and 14 countries in the Pacific Islands. At the end of fiscal year (FY) 2006, 2,501 Volunteers were working in 23 posts in all six of the agency’s sectors: agriculture, business development, education, the environment, health and HIV/AIDS, and youth. Additional countries in the Pacific and South America continue to be interested in establishing Peace Corps programs.

The region is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all Volunteers. All IAP posts have trained safety and security coordinators. In addition, three regional Peace Corps safety and security officers, stationed in El Salvador, Fiji, and Peru, help posts assess risks and ensure appropriate training for staff and Volunteers. Each post has an emergency action plan, which is tested and revised at least once every year. Headquarters staff is trained to review posts’ emergency plans and to support field staff in crisis management.

Peace Corps Volunteers and their counterparts have become active, productive participants in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the five-year, multi-billion-dollar initiative to combat the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. For example, in Guyana, Volunteers are focusing on community mobilization strategies to prevent HIV/AIDS and to improve access to existing services. They help reach out to vulnerable groups, including orphans and vulnerable children, by working with the Ministry of Health and local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on national programs focused on prevention and care. They also work with health centers and communities to help facilitate community health assessments, design and implement health education projects, and train health center staff and community leaders. Volunteers are working with health centers and NGOs to help Guyana address the HIV/AIDS pandemic as well as other diseases, such as tuberculosis, malaria, and dengue fever. Other Volunteers worked to mobilize communities to attend health education outreach sessions, encouraging community members to be tested at HIV/AIDS testing facilities. These testing facilities will help lower mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

In FY 2006, Peace Corps programs in the Dominican Republic, Eastern Caribbean, and Panama received PEPFAR funding to carry out technical assistance to community-based organizations, offer small assistance grants, and organize behavioral change and monitoring and reporting workshops for HIV/AIDS prevention and education.

Many Volunteers in the IAP region work in traditional sectors, such as water and sanitation. For example, Volunteers in Bolivia improve sanitary conditions by designing and constructing water systems that provide potable water to rural communities. They also help organize water boards to take over maintenance of these systems to ensure sustainability.

In Honduras, Volunteers promote sustainable production techniques to improve soil conservation as well as to increase the diversity of crops, enhancing food security and family incomes. To improve family nutrition and income, Volunteers introduce improved vegetable and small animal production methods to women working in agriculture.

In Mexico, Volunteers are now assigned to work with SEMARNAT, Mexico’s Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources. Volunteers focus on issues related to combating deforestation, forest fires, and soil erosion; promoting conservation of biodiversity and natural habitats; and improving management of national parks and wildlife reserves.

In many IAP countries, Peace Corps’ traditional sectors are melding with some of the newer cross-cutting areas such as youth development and technology. Many programs target youth to develop life skills, leadership skills, and employability. In the Dominican Republic, for instance, Volunteers engage young people in activities ranging from business education to strategic planning to technical assistance. In rural communities, Volunteers work with farmers’ markets and agricultural cooperatives to introduce e-marketing and website development.

In Samoa, the education project includes a focus on information and communication technology. Volunteers work with teachers and counterparts in computer studies, helping them update curricula and lesson plans for years 9–13 and providing assistance to teachers to access materials and resources for their classes. Volunteers also help teach computer skills to youth and help teachers establish computer labs.

In Vanuatu, Fiji, and other Pacific posts, Volunteers are working with marine protected areas and other marine conservation projects. Volunteers in Vanuatu partnered with a U.S. conservation foundation to promote costal resource ecotourism.

Volunteers have left a significant legacy of service to countries in the IAP region. Since the agency’s inception in 1961, Peace Corps Volunteers have served continuously in the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia. The Peace Corps has also partnered with other countries for more than 40 years and will continue to work to the benefit of people throughout the Inter- Americas and the Pacific.

External Links

Congressional Budget Justification 2008 Peace Corps website (PDF, 47MB)