Peace Corps Volunteer Helps Improve Health

February 7th, 2012 by admin

Some of the women who will benefit from the health clinic.
12 JANUARY 2012
Washington — A U.S. Peace Corps volunteer is helping to build a new health center in northern Cameroon that will eventually serve more than 14,000 people.

Volunteer Cheryl Finell is working with her local community to build the center, which will serve 15 villages. Currently, the nearest health center in the community is 17 kilometers away, on a road that is often impassable during Cameroon’s rainy season.

“While talking with residents of the area, local leaders and the staff of the nearest health center, the need to build a health center in the village became painfully obvious,” Finell said in a January 12 Peace Corps press release. “Once constructed, the center will be integrated into the government’s health care system, the government will send health care professionals and medical equipment to the center, and money will be allocated for the health center’s budget,” Finell said.

The Clark University graduate, from Bronxville, New York, has been serving as a community health volunteer in Cameroon since 2010. A portion of the funds for the health clinic was raised through the Peace Corps Partnership Program, which helps fund Peace Corps volunteer community projects worldwide. To receive funding through this program, a community must make a 25 percent contribution to the total project cost and outline what will make the project a success. This helps ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability.

More than 3,280 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Cameroon since the program was established in 1962, and 221 volunteers now serve in the country. They work in the areas of education, environment, agriculture, health, business and information technology. They are trained and work in Pidgin English and French.

The Peace Corps, established to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. Its 9,095 current volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries.


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