Thursday, December 28, 2006

[FOG/PC-Guinea projects news] Other projects of note

FOG Secretary Stephanie Chasteen reports:

Hey, good news, turns out that Bintimodia Library project had already been funded. Thank you to those who attempted to donate.

There are, however, several other projects in Guinea seeking funds. 'Tis the season! We are also still seeking funds for our pet project, the Gender Conferences.

[Other PC-Guinea projects of interest:]

School renovation in Gaoual

Fencing resources in Gongoret

School construction in Koyin

Water pump installation in Kansan

You may click on any link above for more info about that project.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

[FOG/PC-Guinea projects news]: Library project in Bintimodia

Friends of Guinea Secretary Stephanie Chasteen reports:

A PCV in Bintimodia is fundraising for a library. He still needs over $1500! You can donate to his project through PCPP at

The Bintimodia Library and resource center will be opened to the public community to provide written resources, encourage a culture of reading and literacy, and provide a distraction-free environment for studying. Bintimodia will partner with the library in Kamsar -the closest established library- in establishing professional standards and procedures as well as in receiving preliminary training for librarians. To stimulate interest in the community, community events and readings for young children will be held each month and library promotion fliers distributed throughout the surrounding community.

Update: Steph reports that this project has now been funded. However, she also shared info on other PC-Guinea projects of note. That can be found by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

[FOG/PC-Guinea commentary]: Praise for the work of the gender conferences

Becky and Rick Thyne shared the following thoughts (reposted here with permission) upon hearing that the gender conferences would continue.

Dear friends of Guinea and the Peace Corps programs there:

Our son Jesse Thyne and his Peace Corps Volunteer friend and colleague Justin Bhansali were killed in a highway accident near Pita nearly seven years ago, on January 7th, 2000. They were returning from a holiday in Ghana, each heading back to the kind of important work all of you are so deeply involved in.

What prompts this note is the announcement about the gender conferences. Jesse was deeply commited to the women and girls of Diountou, the village an hour from Labe where he worked. After he died, several of our friends donated money to a fund in his memory, which we used in conjunction with the people of his village and Jesse's Guinean friend and patron, Mamodou Korka Diallo, to build a Center for Women and Girls in the village.

We're pleased to know that all of you are still making such an heroic effort to draw attention to gender inequality and to lift up women and girls so that they share in the benefits of education and dignity to which all of you are so dedicated.

We're also reminded that many of you will be on the road during these holidays and we're eager for you to be very careful and prudent as you travel.

We send you our continuing gratitude for your bravery and deligence as you continue in "the hardest job you'll ever love," and we send you our warmenst holiday greetings

Becky and Rick Thyne

Monday, December 18, 2006

[FOG/PC-Guinea news]: Gender conferences a go!

Friends of Guinea Secretary Stephanie Chasteen passed along the following information from PCV Brian Buehler. He reports that Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP) has agreed to allow funding for the gender conferences. These conferences, run by Peace Corps volunteers in the field, have been one of the most successful projects ever sponsored by FOG. Thanks to everyone who wrote to PC and PCPP in support of the conferences! Brian B's letter is below:

Friends of Guinea,

We received confirmation last week that OPSI will again permit camps – which includes the Gender Conferences – as viable projects under the Peace Corps Partnership Proposal (PCPP) guidelines. This is exciting news, as it will truly facilitate the funding of the Conferences. It was clear that your communication had a fundamental influence on their thought process as they made this decision. Thank you for continuing to work hard for the people and volunteers of Guinea. You are having a great effect here, even from so far away!

We have been working hard on the Girls’ Conferences, and they promise to be excellent this year. With the move last year of the Fouta Conference, we will be well integrated into the community of Mamou and can take full advantage of all its resources. Basse Cote Volunteers will also participate in Mamou, where they should find the facilities at ENATEF excellent as always and the burden of travel a bit lighter. Planning for the Haute Guinée Conference is in full swing as well, with the usual generous community contributions and volunteer enthusiasm. We also look forward to incorporating two local organizations into the fold as planning partners for the Conferences. This will aid the volunteer organizers in their preparation and ease the transition from one generation of volunteers to the next.

We will be submitting the PCPP Proposal for the Girls Conferences shortly. Thanks very much for your help over the past few months, as we could not have done it without you.

Brian Buehler
Third-year Agency Initiatives Volunteer
Peace Corps Guinea

Sunday, December 10, 2006

[FOG/PC Guinea news] Progress on Gender Conference funding snafu

Earlier, Friends of Guinea reported on threats to the Gender Conferences by some recent Peace Corps administrative changes. Peace Corps Guinea Country Director Steve Petersen reports the following update:

FOG members:

We received guidance that indicates OPSI [Office of Projects and Special Initiatives] will fund 'camps', but the guidance didn't specifically address the issue of funding transportation and lodging. Though a large part of any 'camp' cost, this cannot be assumed (and, the guidance was based on the liability issues involved with 'camps', not the lodging and transportation issue), so I asked for clarification.

Today I received word from PC/W [Peace Corps headquarters in Washington] that lodging and transportation can be funded, and we are now actively working on getting the proposals (for both the girls and boys conferences) ready to send to OPSI. We'll let you know when they have been reviewed and posted.

I am also working on getting the excess funds returned from the conferences last year applied to the the events planned for this year; something OPSI told us they would do, and now that the lodging and transportation issue has been resolved, I believe it is something we can make happen.

Best to all of you, and thank you for your continued support.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

[Health news] Malaria worsens AIDS risk?

According to a BBC report, scientists working in Kenya believe that there may be a link between malaria and the spread of AIDS across the African continent.

The study, published in the journal Science, says the way the two diseases interact can help them spread faster.
When people with Aids contract malaria, it causes a surge of HIV virus in their blood, making them more likely to infect a partner, the research says.

Meanwhile people weakened by HIV are more likely to catch malaria.

AIDS and malaria are the two biggest natural killers in Africa.

Note: the abstract of the Science article can be found here.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

[Development issues] HIV-AIDS funding crowding out other health programs?

This brief piece from the Center for Global Development warns that HIV/AIDS programs may be crowding out other health initiatives in a competition for scarce resources.

The piece pointed out:

For instance, over the years 1998 to 2003, as funding for HIV/AIDS grew from 9 percent to 43 percent of overall U.S. foreign assistance for health and population, funding in the health sector strengthening category nearly vanished, declining from 20 percent to just 1 percent. Aggregate funding for all other major causes stagnated, save for infectious disease control. We see similar trends among other donors and within developing countries.

The editorial notes that as serious as the AIDS pandemic is, HIV/AIDS related deaths comprised around 5 percent of total mortality in low and middle-income countries.

In addition to rapping what it calls the HIV-AIDS lobby's insularity, the editorial argues that funding to strengthen the public health sector should be given more priority since it would help efforts to combat not only HIV-AIDS but other health crises.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

[Guinean news] Protesters shot in Fria

Guinéenews has two articles (here and here) on rioting in the western mining city of Fria. The city's residents took to the streets to protest against the 'castastrophic state' of the roads and broken promises to improve them. Protesters dislodged big stones and used them to erect barricades on the city's main arteries. The mayor intervened and the situation appeared to calm.

However, Guinéenews reports that the following day, the 'forces of order' invaded two schools (the lycée Cabral and collège Tito) and proceded with what observers described as "excessive force and arbitrary arrests" against students (and teachers) who were in the middle of class. After these incidents, students marched to the center of town were engaged in violent battles by soldiers who'd been sent from Conakry. Shots were fired into the crowd and several were seriously wounded, according to Guinéenews.