2017 Peace Corps Connect

2017 Peace Corps Connect

Tuesday, 08 August 2017 22:17

Governor's Proclamation for 2017 PCC

Governor Hickenlooper proclaimed the period between August 4 and August 6 as Peace Corps Connect Days in celebration of the 2017 Peace Corps Connect conference. The proclamation was delivered by Jamie Van Leeuwen, Senior Advisor with in Governor Hickenlooper's office, on Friday, August 4 and presented to attendees of the Affiliate Group Network Annual Meeting (AGNAM). The proclamation was then displayed throughout the conference near the registration table.

Governor's Proclamation for 2017 PCC

Saturday, 15 July 2017 16:03

Meet Our Social Enterprise Finalists!

The finalists have been chosen! Meet the six RPCV teams who will compete  in Partnering for Prosperity, a social entrepreneurship competition, hosted by the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Colorado (RPCVCO), which will occur during Peace Corps Connect this August. This competition showcases work in our Peace Corps community that exemplifies  partnership and collaboration and impacts the world around us. Click HERE to find out how to attend the conference and see this competition live!

THE FINALISTS

Peaceful Fruits
Evan Delahanty, RPCV Suriname (2011-13)
Peaceful Fruits makes healthy, delicious, rainforest-friendly snacks!  Founded by a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Peaceful Fruits partners with local communities in the Amazon to harvest sustainable, ethically-sourced fruit. We then bring that fruit to Northeast Ohio, where we employ people with disabilities in full wage jobs to make our products. Organic, 100% fruit, and literally made by hand with love, Peaceful Fruits is in tune with what modern snackers want.  

After a successful pilot in 2016 and a recent well-received appearance on ABC's Shark Tank, Peaceful Fruits is on track to do $400K in sales this year and we are raising funding to scale up production and sales. The words we live by are, "Eat better for a better world." www.peacefulfruits.com
 
Bokk Baby
Margaret Davidson - RPCV Senegal (2012-14) and Danny White - RPCV Senegal (2012-14)
Bokk Baby, founded by two RPCVs, is an e-commerce social enterprise launching in Fall 2017 that retails sustainably made baby apparel, blankets, and signature gift boxes. Our apparel is manufactured in Denver, Colorado using eco-friendly, organic textiles, and our gift boxes for Mom & Baby include return shipping labels, so parents can donate gently used baby clothing and blankets back to us. We package donated items into gift bundles and distribute them to new mothers in rural Senegal in partnership with local community health workers. Textile manufacturing is the second-most polluting industry in the world, and Bokk Baby helps to reduce waste at the production level and encourage recycling. “Bokk” means “to share” in Wolof, and sharing is at the root of what we do; we all share the same planet, and every baby is born to make a difference.

Friends of ENCA Farm
Sherry Manning - RPCV Philippines (2006-08) and Carrie Evans - RPCV Philippines (1985-88)
Friends of ENCA Farm is helping Filipino farmers access the seeds to their future. More than 2 billion people in the world, including the majority of the Philippines, relies on food that is produced from smallholder farmers, which is defined as those who farm less than 2 hectares. However, today, the majority of the world’s seeds are not owned by farmers but by three major bio-chemical companies. Friends of ENCA Farm has launched a grassroots farmer-led seed saving movement in the Philippines and is now ready to help our participating farmers develop a farmer-led owned and operated social-enterprise organic seed company. This project will ensure that greater numbers of smallholder farmers have access to locally produced, regionally adapted organic seeds and will provide increased economic development for the participating farmers. To learn more please visit us at: www.encaorganicfarm.com.
 
Messages in Bottles
Michael Dirks - RPCV Vanuatu (2005-07)
Social entrepreneurship can help to engage national and international leaders on plastic waste and global ocean issues that really need some sustainable policy, life-cycle analysis and circular economy approaches to tackle the challenge. "Messages In Bottles," began as a small way to represent global water pollution generally (contaminants of concern, nutrients that create ocean dead zones, CO2 gas that accelerates ocean acidification, etc.) symbolized by plastic specifically and the footprint of non-recycled plastic waste in remote regions of the globe, as I observed as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Pacific. Half of the gift of "Messages In Bottles" is a fun one-for-one "makers" gift item. The other half of the gift is sent to congressional leaders and corporate leaders about the imperative to "think globally" on non-recycled plastic waste and many other environmental sustainability challenges. The "Partnering for Prosperity" award will help to grow this initiative into educational partnerships for creative problem solving with youth like with DAVA.org as well as extending the impact of environmental waterway "clean-up" efforts. Messages In Bottles will ultimately enable larger scale "recycling" partnerships where recycling, creativity and engineering can be built-in to multiple hands-on learning initiatives for youth and adults. Here is the website (work in progress):  https://thethirdarrow.wordpress.com/reuse-messages-in-bottles/
 
Microgrids in Uganda
Matthew Vanderwerken - RPCV Namibia (2012-14), Evan Fuellenbach, and Keni Herman
Our project is based on human centered research with the aim of creating a business plan to provide electricity in rural Uganda. Only 8% of the rural population in Uganda has access to electricity. People without a reliable source of electricity use unsafe methods such as kerosene that cause chronic respiratory and eye diseases. A solar microgrid system has the potential to provide rural populations with access to electricity that can be used for lighting and cell phone charging and eventually productive use. Meaning, Ugandans will not only be able to use light to read at night, but also to start their own business and create value for their families aiding in the development of their communities.
 
FarmRise
Justin Carter - RPCV Togo (2011-14), Caroline Smith, and Kira Griswold
Why do the smallholder farmers, who produce 80% of all food in developing countries, make up most the world’s hungry? Team FarmRise aims to improve food security within smallholder farmer communities by creating business linkages to enhance market access. Through our field research in Kenya, where 90% of production is performed by smallholder farmers, we have identified an opportunity to transform farming from a subsistence activity into a commercial enterprise. Our mission is to promote a sustainable value chain, whereby improved farming inputs lead to an increase in productivity, amplified by collective action, so farmers have the power to sell crops at competitive prices, allowing them to invest in their livelihoods.  Contact: Justin Carter at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

THE AWARDS

Two awards will be giving out during this competition, including the Judge's Choice Award in honor of Sue Fox and the People's Choice award, which will be determined by audience voting. The Judge's Choice Award recognizes past Rotary - Peace Corps Alliance Chair and RPCV, Sue Fox, who served in Liberia from 1968-1970.

Judge's Choice Award in honor of Sue Fox

Through her efforts to establish a formal partnership between Rotary International and the U.S. Peace Corps, Sue Fox, who passed away in 2016, exemplified the goals of Peace Corps, Rotary, and building partnerships to create peace in the world. The formal agreement between the two organizations was finalized in May 2014 as a direct result of Sue’s hard work and determination. The partnership provides currently serving volunteers access to Rotary Club funding, subject matter expertise, and networks, to help fund Peace Corps partnership projects. Many of these projects provide local communities with an array of training and resource development assistance. In the first year of the agreement, thousands of dollars were given in support of volunteer projects across three pilot countries, Togo, Thailand, and Philippines, including the creation of a clean water initiative in Togo, a book distribution project in Thailand, and the construction of latrines and a learning center for students with disabilities in the Philippines. In addition, her work helped to connect currently serving volunteers with local Rotary Clubs in host countries, facilitating a better understanding of Americans among local host country Rotarians (over 650,000 worldwide) who are business and professional leaders in their communities. Lastly, Sue’s work in creating this partnership raised awareness among more than 450,000 Rotarians in America about the people in countries where PCVs serve, the work of currently serving volunteers, and the mission of Peace Corps.

The RPCVs of Colorado are proud to host this competition and provide this Judge's Choice award in Sue Fox's honor. 

THE DONORS
This competition wouldn't be possible without the support of our local community. The RPCVs of Colorado would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the Judge's Choice Award in honor of Sue Fox and our social entrepreneurship competition:

Platinum ($1000 and above)
The Denver Rotary Club Foundation

Gold ($500 to $999)
Denver LoDo Rotary Club
Highlands Ranch Rotary Foundation
Smith Family
Mike Touff

Silver ($250 to $499)
Anonymous
Valerie Hopkins
Charlie Miller

Friend ($249 and below)
Anonymous
Ted M. Bendelow
Terry and Shelda Burger
Patricia Fiske
Verne and Carol Anne Nelson

Meet Acting Director Sheila Crowley 

Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley will be a featured speaker at the Peace Corps Connect conference on Saturday, August 5, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Acting Director Crowley will join NPCA President and CEO Glenn Blumhorst in a "fireside chat" to talk about Peace Corps' priorities under her leadership and then present the Deborah Harding Women of Achievement Award.

Sheila Crowley has served as Acting Director of the Peace Corps since January 2017. She brings to that role more than 25 years of public and private-sector experience, including leadership roles in international development, business, and the financial services industry. Most recently, Sheila served from 2015 to 2017 as Acting Associate Director of Peace Corps’ Office of Volunteer Recruitment and Selection (VRS), overseeing the recruitment, assessment, and placement of Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide. Previously, she held the position of Peace Corps Country Director, first in Romania and then in Indonesia, from 2010 to 2015. Read the rest of Director Crowley's biography on the VIP Speakers section of the conference page.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017 18:47

Get Your Ticket for the Kick-Off Party

The Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Colorado (RPCVCO) are partnering with the Posner Center to co-sponsor a Peace Corps Connect Kick-Off Party! Find out more about this event and purchase your ticket here.

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