Many of you might be wondering what exactly I aim to do as an Environmental Volunteer in Peru. As part of the Community Based Environmental Management program, we have three main goals/targets:
1. Environmental Awareness – work with adults and/or children in formal settings (i.e. town meetings and schools) and/or informal settings (i.e. ecotourism club for children or day to day conversations and actions as a role model) to educate the community on environmental issues
2. Natural Resource Management – concrete project is reforestation (i.e. aim to plant 1000 trees with the community) but many Environmental Volunteers are placed near National Protected Areas and will work with SERNANP (Servicio Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas aka a national park organization) on whatever natural resource management plan they have
3. Community Solid Waste Management – concrete project is promotion of microrelleno sanitary disposal of solid waste (i.e. 1 large landfill or 3 multifamily landfills or 10 family landfills) and minimization of solid waste includes separation into recycling (which will also provide revenue) and organic material for composting (which produces organic fertilizer that could displace cost of buying fertilizer or even provide source of revenue).
Along with these three specific program goals, Environmental Volunteers are also expected to promote strengthening of organizations by working as facilitators for sustainable development. It is also common to incorporate the promotion of ecotourism in the community.
As with all programs within the Peace Corps, secondary assignments are encouraged and can be as diverse as teaching English in the schools, organizing sports for women, AIDS awareness…honestly whatever the volunteer sees as an opportunity and merges the interest of both the volunteer and community members.
I will keep you posted on how I progress with these aims at my site!