Peace Corps

In which theresa briefly talks about GAD

It’s been kind of a busy week. Two weeks. Month. Year. But mostly a busy couple of days. I went North for the quarterly GAD meeting. Got there early, stayed with Lyle, did some great brainstorming with a couple of different people, got some work done, gossiped (a lot), and had a pretty good time.

So what’s GAD? GAD stands for Gender and Development, and is the Peace Corps program for encouraging equal education of children (read: girls’ education), basic human rights for all (read: the right of girls to go to school and not be sexually abused by their professors), and a dozen other things to promote gender equity throughout the world (and specifically, in Benin).

We, in Benin, have a volunteer committee to encourage volunteers to initiate projects that deal with gender and development. These projects can be as simple as organizing soccer teams for girls at local schools or as complicated as week-long education and empowerment camps for middle school aged girls. This weekend, we had about 20 volunteers show-up, none of which were from the new class (who are all still in their initial travel restricted 3-month period at post).

It boils down to the fact that educated women educate their children. No, universal education isn’t THE solution to poverty, but literacy and critical thinking help a hell of a lot. It also boils down to the fact that women deserve the same rights as men, both under the law and in practice. It’s about human beings showing that everyone has the same basic rights and responsibilities, and that everyone is capable of realizing their dreams. aracer

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