Washington — Peace Corps volunteer Barbara Meyer of Seattle has designed two new employee training programs in her local hospital and is leading fundraising efforts for training equipment so she can improve community health in her village in Lesotho.
"Our hospital is one of 18 government-funded district hospitals serving Lesotho," said Meyer, age 62, who has been living and working in Lesotho since 2011. "The hospital provides care to a mostly rural population of 200,000 and has a limited budget for equipment and staff training."
The first training program is a two-day course aimed at helping hospital employees improve communication skills and work together as a team. The second program will be offered monthly and is designed to develop leadership skills in hospital management.
Donations will go toward the purchase of two computers, a projector, speakers and training materials. "Owning this equipment will lead to more efficient practices and allow for the programs to be taken on the road to other communities," said Meyer.
To get the training under way, Meyer is raising funds through the Peace Corps Partnership Program, which helps support Peace Corps volunteer community projects worldwide.
The community will contribute to training materials, and staff will help lead the training. In order to receive funding through the Partnership Program, a community must make a 25 percent contribution to the total project cost and outline success indicators for the individual projects. This helps ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability.
"We plan to continue regular trainings for at least a year to make sure that the skills taught become truly embedded in the culture of the hospital," Meyer said.
More than 2,235 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Lesotho since the program was established in 1967. Currently, 63 volunteers serve there. Volunteers work in the areas of education, community development, health and business. They are trained and work in the Sesotho language.