The number one question that people have asked me, besides maybe, "How did you live without running water?", is probably, "What did you do?" So, for the sake of full disclosure, here is my official Description of Service, otherwise known as The DOS Report:
Description of Peace Corps Volunteer Service
Gretchen Eisenhut SSN: XXX-XX-XXXX
Agroforestry Extension Program Senegal
Gretchen Eisenhut entered training on September 16, 2004 at the Peace Corps Training Center in Thies, Senegal, where she began an intensive 8-week pre-service training program. The pre-service program in Thies included 125 hours of language instruction, primarily in Pulaar, and with some French and Wolof, 70 hours of agroforestry techniques including tree propogation and gardening, 40 hours of cross-culture, and 30 hours of personal healthcare and safety and security training. During this training, Ms. Eisenhut resided in a Senegalese household in order to further her language and cross-cultural skills.
Following successful training, Ms. Eisenhut was sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer on November 17, 2004. She was assigned through the Ministry of the Environment and Protection of Nature. She served as an Agroforestry Extension Agent for 20 months in the rural, agrarian village of Gourel Abdoulaye Diaw, located in the Tambacounda region.
Ms. Eisenhut’s primary responsibility was to promote the adoption of agroforestry technologies by Senegalese farmers with the goal of combating the effects of deforestation while positively impacting agricultural production.
With the assistance of her counterpart, Ms. Eisenhut conducted natural resource management surveys of the local area, to establish community and environment needs. She worked closely with individuals and the a women’s group to inform them about the potential of agroforestry and encouraged them to implement the agroforestry techniques. Ms. Eisenhut trained villagers in tree nursery establishment and maintenance, as well as gardening techniques. Through her work, she promoted capacity building and self-motivated projects.
Ms. Eisenhut also participated in a number of activities unrelated to her primary project:
· Helped establish weekly Arabic lessons for women to empower local women who are not typically taught Arabic.
· Aided Tostan, a Senegalese NGO, with trainings on women’s health and human rights, and with surveys conducted in several villages.
· Distributed quality garden seeds at low cost to farmers living in a 30 kilometer radius, which greatly increased farmers’ likelihood of gardening, and reduce necessity of to re-seed,, due to better seed quality and higher germination rates.
· Trained villagers to produce and use non-chemical farming, such as organic pesticides made with neem.
· Collaborated in construction of women’s health hut/birthing room.
· Participated in women’s health training, addressing topics including pre-natal health and check-ups, nutrition, utilizing the heath hut, and family planning.
· Worked with community health workers to promote awareness of first aid and disease prevention.
· Created a study group, and promoted recreational reading, while encouraging the allotment of light sources to allow children to study after dark.
· Conducted English classes to increase knowledge of the language and promote interest in adult education..
In February 2005, Ms.Eisenhut completed a three-week in-service training at the Peace Corps Training Center in Thies. The program included intensive agro-forestry training, cross-collaboration, and French language.
Ms. Eisenhut assisted in training of new Peace Corps agroforestry volunteers in November 2005. She also attended a cultural fair during which she presented the culture and environment of the Tambacounda region to new volunteers.
Pursuant to Section 5(f) of the Peace Corps Act, 22 U.S.C. Paragraph 2504(f) as amended, any former Volunteer employed by the United States Government following her Peace Corps Volunteer service is entitled to have period of satisfactory Peace Corps Volunteer service credited for purposes of retirement, senority, reduction in force, leave, and other privileges based on length of Government service. Peace Corps service shall not be credited toward completion of the probationary or trial period or completion of any service requirement for career appointment.
This is to certify in accordance with Executive Order 11103 of April 10, 1963, that Ms. Gretchen Eisenhut served successfully as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Her service ended on June 23, 2006. She therefore is eligible to be appointed as a career-conditional employee in the competitive civil service on a non-competitive basis. This benefit under the Executive Order entitlement extends for a period of one year after termination of volunteer service, except that the employing agency may extend the period up to three years for a former volunteer who enters military service, pursues studies at a recognized institution of higher learning, or engages in other activities, which, in view of the appointing agency, warrants extension of the period.