Peace Corps Honduras
Description of Peace Corps Service
After a competitive application process stressing technical skills, motivation, adaptability, and cross-cultural understanding, Peace Corps invited Raphael Crawford-Marks to serve as a Health Educator in the Central American nation of Honduras.
Mr. Crawford-Marks began an intensive 11-week pre-service training on February 12, 2007 in Santa Lucia a community located a half hour from the capital, Tegucigalpa, and in the community of La Paz. The program consisted of Spanish language training, technical skills training, AIDS education, and area studies training. Throughout the pre-service training program, Raphael lived with a Honduran family, reinforcing his linguistic abilities and exposing himself to Honduran culture and traditions.
Training program included:
- 185 hours of formal instruction in Spanish
- 113 hours of area studies (the history, politics, economics and cultural norms of Honduras)
- 141 hours of technical project training
- 16 hours of AIDS education
On May 3, 2007, Raphael completed training and was sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. He was assigned to Trujillo in the Department of Colón.
Support to People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA)
In his two years of service, Raphael Crawford-Marks focused on supporting people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). In his community, Mr. Crawford-Marks worked with Nuevo Amanecer (New Dawn), a support group for PLWHA founded in 2004. On the national level, Mr. Crawford-Marks worked on and later coordinated Viviendo Positivamente (Living Positively), a new Peace Corps Honduras initiative for working with PLWHA and Support groups.
Strengthening Local Support Groups
Mr. Crawford-Marks helped the leaders of Nuevo Amanecer to plan and facilitate bimonthly support group meetings and other activities such as marches, community service events, potlucks, and holiday parties. Mr. Crawford-Marks also worked on several other projects with the support group, including securing a grant to fund the group’s activities for 6 months, conducting a demographic survey of 100 PLWHA in Trujillo, and increasing the group’s outreach to PLWHA. By the end of his service, average attendance to support group meetings had increased 200% (from 5 to 15). Additionally, Mr. Crawford-Marks gave technical assistance and training to support group leaders from surrounding communities, including Santa Rosa de Aguán, Santa Fe & Guadalupe, and Limón. Throughout his service, he focused on transferring skills to his Honduran counterparts while gradually diminishing his own role, so that by the end of his service the support group leaders were effectively planning and facilitating all support group activities with minimal help.
Revision and Creation of Educational Materials
As member of the Viviendo Positivamente team, Mr. Crawford-Marks edited and rewrote significant portions of an activities manual for PLWHA support groups. He also created or adapted a number of new activities, covering topics like Healthy Lifestyles, Communication, Team Building, Stigma and Discrimination, Self-Esteem, and Adherence.
Development of “Training of Trainers” (TOT) Curriculum
Since assuming leadership of Viviendo Positivamente in 2008, Mr. Crawford-Marks and his team created a 3-day “training of trainer” (TOT) curriculum for PLWHA support group leaders and facilitated TOTs in four communities: Santa Rosa, Copán; Trujillo, Colón; Catacamas, Olancho; and Tegucigalpa, M.D.C. He also trained 12 new Health PCVs on the Viviendo Positivamente methodology. Since the creation of the new TOT, the Viviendo Positivamente team has trained 40 Honduran men and women representing 11 support groups from 5 different departments.
To fund two of the TOTs, Raphael wrote and managed two President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) grants. The grant proposals included detailed budgets, action plans, and monitoring and evaluation plans. Each of the TOTs were completed on time and on budget.
Mr. Crawford-Marks also worked on fulfilling the health project's first goal of HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and worked primarily in Men's Health, a Peace Corps Honduras initiative that uses an innovative methodology to prevent adult men from contracting HIV and other STIs and raises awareness of other male health related topics.
Men's Health is a Peace Corps Honduras initiative that targets adult men in HIV/AIDS prevention, other topics related to men's health, and masculinity. This initiative was created in response to the lack of organizations working with adult men, a population that is rarely engaged, yet is often responsible for making the majority of the decisions in reproductive health for themselves and their partners.
Mr. Crawford-Marks implemented many of the initiative's activities in his site and facilitated several training of trainer workshops (TOTs) in the Department of Colón. During his service, Raphael facilitated educational activities and TOTs that trained 62 Honduran men to be Men’s Health facilitators, and an additional 74 Honduran men in HIV Prevention and Sexual/Reproductive health.
Raphael also completed several secondary projects during his service. During the summer of 2007, he taught English to a Garifuna youth group. He later organized a pen pal program between students at the local high school and American students at Ashland High School in Ashland, OR.
Raphael revised a hygiene manual and trained the Honduran staff of the Trujillo chapter of Pure Water for the World to give hygiene education in communities where they delivered biosand water filters. Since then, the staff of Pure Water has given hygiene education to thousands of Hondurans in the departments of Colón and Gracias a Dios.
Raphael achieved a Spanish language Oral Proficiency rating of Superior as administered by a Certified Peace Corps Language Tester at the close of his service. Raphael effectively used Spanish to communicate in his work, with his colleagues, Honduran work partners, and in daily life.
Raphael completed his Peace Corps service in Honduras on May 1, 2009.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Peace Corps Honduras
Posted by Raphael at 9:49 AM