|By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, July 05, 2001 - 5:31 pm: Edit Post|
Peace Corps Programs in the Ukraine
Peace Corps Programs in the Ukraine
Since achieving independence in 1991, Ukraine has taken significant steps toward democracy, political pluralism, and a free-market economy. In an effort to better integrate into the global marketplace, the Ministry of Education has made English language education a top priority, but has been unable to train a sufficient number of teachers to fulfill such a mandate.
Ukraine also faces serious environmental challenges. In an effort to address these multi-dimensional needs, Peace Corps Volunteers work in the areas of business development, English language education, and environmental protection and management.
In an effort to redirect businesses to the norms of the free market economy and help them regain customers, the Peace Corps was invited to send business Volunteers to Ukraine in 1992. Today, business Volunteers primarily teach courses at business education institutions, universities and high schools, serve as advisors to municipal regional governments, and offer training and expertise to business assistance centers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Business Volunteers have also become active in education initiatives such as American Culture camps, girls' education, and HIV/AIDS prevention.
One Volunteer organized small business training sessions for unemployed women and university students. Approximately 30 unemployed women received free training in business and left with the tools they need to increase self-confidence, independence, and motivation to enter the business arena, specifically in small home-based businesses.
The education project has been developed to improve the English language skills of Ukrainian students and teachers. In 1999, the Peace Corps expanded its university education program to recruit more highly skilled Volunteers. Volunteers engage in activities that heighten cross-cultural awareness and understanding. They also provide assistance in establishing and expanding English teaching resources, curriculum development, and teacher training. Volunteers have been active in establishing summer camps, English clubs, and essay contests. Volunteers include health topics, access to information technology, and girls' issues in their English classes.
One Volunteer coordinated a methodology seminar for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. The overall goal of the project was to improve the teaching of English in the more remote parts of Ukraine. Teachers and students were supplied with materials and instruction methods for teaching English. Sixty participants were provided the opportunity to network for professional contacts within their specific area of interest, such as English language films and conversation groups.
The Peace Corps Environmental Protection Project was initiated in 1997 to increase the organizational capacity of environmental institutions. Environment Volunteers work with schools, governmental and non-governmental organizations active in environmental initiatives. Volunteers expand the awareness of environmental threats and their impact on natural resources and educate the public about environmental protection. In addition, Volunteers work to establish and sustain management systems and strategies that address environmental problems throughout the country.
One Volunteer developed a project to protect the canal system in Vilkovo, Ukraine. The project established a Canal Campaign Committee that organized a workshop, public campaign, and an international symposium. The goal of the campaign was to bring together government, businesses, organizations, and citizens to form a task force to preserve the canal.