The Peace Corps not only educated students in school classrooms, but used the wider community as a platform for spreading information to local citizens. Although many volunteers worked in formal education, others were assigned to community development projects. Non-formal education sought to establish community programming and workshops based on areas of need. While some focused on a specifically on health care or sanitation, others were encouraged to assess the local community’s greatest needs before developing projects on-site. Community outreach included youth and business development, in addition to environmental and health education.
In Colombia, Christine Hager sought to educate young girls and women about cooking and sewing. Serving in Dagua Valle, Colombia (1968-1970), Hager organized clubs for mothers and young girls to provide support. The community development also included experiential learning on raising chickens, planting seed beds, and gardening.
Brian Adler and Cynthia Elliot also worked with non-formal rural community education in Marshall Creek, Suriname. Instead of formally teaching students in a classroom, Brian and Cynthia organized community libraries, after-school programs for youth, and workshops to teach English to adults in the community.
The collections documenting the variety of community development reinforce the Peace Corps’ commitment to educating communities and improving people’s lives.