This is one in a series of dispatches from David G. Newman, who attended the recent Rotary World Peace Conference 2016 in Ontario, California. These stories are inspired by the organizers and presenters to this peace conference and are posted by Mr. Newman on CNC as part of the process of advancing Positive Peace in Winnipeg.
Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Director of the Peace Corps, shared many stories about the impact of this organization, now a strategic ally of Rotary International on a pilot basis.
Peace Corps operates in 60 countries with about 7000 volunteers who serve in other countries where they help create conditions for peace to flourish.
Ecuadoran Peace Corps
Alex Munoz, a female volunteer created a project to help local women working in a garbage dump in unsafe conditions. The women were ashamed of their jobs and worked at night in this toxic environment. They competed with each other.
Alex brought them together. They began to cooperate. They were taught they were recyclers doing meaningful work.
Together they achieved health insurance coverage. Together they bought a plastic compactor to make culturally relevant jewellery.
Eventually, they made an agreement with a municipality and became known as the Association of Environmental Protectors. They created a governance structure. Before they were scavengers, now they were entrepreneurs, artisans and leaders.