04 October 2009

What I’m up to this year with… Camp UNITE

4 October 2009c

On Friday I finally turned in the Final Report for Camp UNITE to the U.S. Embassy. I prepared the required two-page analysis of our objectives and our results and then I started having fun. I played around with photos and formatting and create a 14-page document complete with highlighted “personal profiles” of interesting counselors, graphic depictions of the participants regional distribution, and lots of pictures of kids having fun.
I’m proud of it, but I know I could do it even better, especially if I use Publisher rather than Word. There’s always next year –
I am an organizer again this year, along with E. Our third partner, J, will be finishing her service in just a few months – she’s hiking up Kilimanjaro before heading home – I might have to follow in her footsteps when it comes time for my Close of Service (COS) Speaking of that, it’s looking very likely that I will be extending my service in Togo, for at least a few months if not the whole year. I want to be here for all of camp and the follow-up/reporting – which would take me at least to October … but that’s a reflection for later in the year I think.
There are exciting things in the works for Camp UNITE. The three NGOs that have partnered with Peace Corps over the past eight years in administering the camp have created a consortium – an officially recognized alliance that enables better information and resource sharing. The Consortium is called CONGECS – (roughly translated as Consortium of NGOs for education, culture, and health). Their primary goal is the administration and development of Camp UNITE – this includes not only the camp itself but also follow-up activities.
One of the most exciting things about this consortium is that they are willing to invest in it – their time and resources and money – in the anticipation of securing funding later. This in unusual and so important. Many people and organizations here are unwilling to do anything until they’ve received outside funding. This means they are often stuck with no progress – they can’t do anything because they don’t have funds, they can’t get any funds because they don’t have any working programs.
CONGECS has been moving quickly establishing Articles of Incorporation, objectives, membership criteria. It’s fantastic to actually be involved in some ‘NGO development’! The opportunity to facilitate the transfer of UNTIE administration to CONGECS is the main reason why I would consider extending my service.

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