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Interested in working abroad? These former EWB-DC volunteers are doing just that!

Interested in working abroad? These former EWB-DC volunteers are doing just that!

Sometimes, Peace Corps volunteers end their time abroad, move back to DC, and join our Chapter. In those instances, we’re fortunate that our projects benefit from the amazing expertise these volunteers have learned while living and working abroad.

But sometimes cycle goes in the other direction.

Sometimes, our volunteers start on EWB-DC projects and then take on exciting opportunities abroad, bringing with them their experience from EWB-DC. That’s the case with Angeline Cione, who is currently a 3rd year Peace Corps WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) volunteer in Peru. After leading the EWB-DC El Salvador water project and traveling to the Cameroon project site to help with water system implementation, she joined Peace Corps. Her EWB-DC experience taught her the importance of the on-the-ground perspective for developing truly sustainable interventions, which was one of her driving reasons for wanting to serve in the Peace Corps. She’s stayed connected to EWB-DC and in summer 2018 she actually joined the EWB-DC Peru Project’s first assessment trip, bringing with her the local knowledge, experience from EWB-DC, and expertise from Peace Corps.

Angeline works on the Cameroon water project in 2015.

Angeline isn’t our only member who has moved abroad for an exciting opportunity. In the last few years, Lina Khan has moved to work in India with a Clinton Fellowship and Jim Curren stayed with EWB, but is currently supporting the hurricane recovery efforts in Dominica through EWB-USA’s Engineering Service Corps.

After spending time in DC, Lina, who volunteered on the EWB-DC Cameroon Project, moved to India to work with the American India Foundation (AIF). She received a Clinton Fellowship and joined Bhasha, a Language Research and Publican Center. Over the course of more than a year, Lina studied Bhasha’s alternative education program, Vasantshala. Vasantshala is a residential, non-formal school in rural India for students from tribal (or Adivasi) families. Lina studied the program’s multilingual teaching and efforts to prepare students for government schools. Using her background in monitoring and evaluation, Lina did extensive research through studies, policy papers, observations, and interviews to assess Vasantshala’s approach.

Jim, who had previously served as a Peace Corps volunteer, led the EWB-DC Panama Project before retiring from his full-time job in the DC area. After retiring, Jim headed to the island of Dominica where EWB-USA is providing technical assistance to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the hurricane recovery effort. In September 2017, Hurricane Maria traveled directly over the length of the island as a category 5 hurricane with sustained winds over 160 mph, lasting for over 9 hours and removing the roofs from over 75% of the buildings on the island.  

EWB-USA support in Dominica is focused mainly on the shelter sector, with the goal to “stand-up” rebuilding programs that will last for several years. On a day-to-day basis EWB-USA volunteers are inspecting buildings, reviewing plans, conducting training sessions and community information sessions, preparing quantity estimates, and procuring supplies.  

As with all EWB activities, the work in done through partnerships. In Dominica, EWB-USA is working with other non-profits including UNICEF, Red Cross, All Hands and Hearts, and Catholic Relief Services, but also with banks, local stores including builders, contractors, and hardware stores, and the communities.

What Jim find most rewarding is “working directly with owners and builders helping them to build better to survive both hurricanes and earthquakes. There is great interest in the models we built showing the correct construction techniques.”

Join us on March 28th, when Angeline will be back in DC to share her experiences as a mid-career Peace Corps Volunteer.  She will elaborate on what she has learned (and is learning) about how to make development interventions have greater chances for a positive and sustainable impact. She will also speak to specific experiences and strategies with WASH projects and her experiences with sustainable development in general. Full event details are on the calendar.