Archive for the ‘Editor’s Pick’ category

Peace Corps Volunteer Launches Osh Women’s Leadership Club

May 18, 2009

Becky, a Peace Corps volunteer and Master’s International Student in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, has set up an Osh Women’s Leadership Club Blog. It looks like she plans to have the members of her club take turns posting on the site, which we eagerly look forward to reading!

For those unfamiliar with Kyrgyzstan, the city of Osh is the country’s second-largest city and it is located in the southern part of the country. You can learn more about Osh here.

(Unfortunately, I never made it down to the city during my time in Kyrgyzstan. Yes, I am very much aware of all I missed out on.)

Since we’re designating Becky’s two sites as “Editor’s Picks,” we have included her links on our sidebar.


Links Worth Checking Out – Editor’s Picks

May 11, 2009

Apologies for the lack of commentary in this post. Today and tomorrow are incredibly busy days for me. (I’ll be attending the Florida Conference for Women tomorrow and if you will be there as well, I’d love to meet and chat a bit!) However, in the meantime, I would like to leave readers with three worthy links that I recommend you all check out until I can add more on Wednesday:

BlogHer, an online community designed to help female bloggers connect with each other and gain exposure for their own blogs, has announced the 2009 International BlogHer Scholarship winners. Do check out these inspiring blogs and bloggers here.

Mother’s Day was yesterday and to correspond with the holiday, Save the Children compiled a Mother’s Index which ranks the best and worst countries to be a mother. A partial list of country placements and the full report can be accessed here.

NEED Magazine has a pretty succint motto: We are not out to save the world but to tell the stories of those who are. While digital issues are available online, the magazine also has a blog with some powerful photos to accompany the posts. NEED Magazine’s main Web site is here and it’s blog can be found here.

Peace Corps Philippines Volunteers Tout Women’s Rights

March 25, 2009

Ever since I lived in Jinhae, Korea and would stay up late at night listening to my neighbor beat the crap out of his girlfriend (and be told by Korean friends and co-workers not to call the cops or interfere because it could make the woman’s life even worse – a kind of sick reasoning that was fully backed up with common scenarios as to just how worse her life would be if I budded in), women’s rights has been a personal crusade of mine. (And a big part of the current thesis I am writing for my M.A. in East Asian Studies).

Even though March (Women’s History Month) is almost over and despite the fact that International Women’s Day (March 8th) has come and gone, that doesn’t mean that the issue should be put to rest. If anything, such a time should only serve as a reminder to us that the topic needs constant addressing.

For a very inspiring post about what is being done to deal with the issue in the Philippines, read this post from the blog Amanda in the Philippines. Amanda is a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and just recently conducted a women’s rights workshop with fellow Peace Corps volunteers in the country.

The whole experience was really eye opening. On Sunday we met with the women’s group that we were working with to facilitate the workshop. They are called Buklod ng babae (Women bonding together) and are based in the downtown area of the city that we were in. For two days we were to meet with around 25 women and girls (I say girls because some of these girls were “18” and I refuse to call them women) who work in GRO bars or on the street. I have mentioned GRO bars before, but to clarify, GRO stands for Guest Relations Officer here, it is the term that they use, for lack of a better word, for prostitutes. There are GRO’s that work on the street, but mostly there are bars where there are varying levels of entertainment involving the girls there for sale.

The workshop did not criticize the women’s line of work as clearly it was seen as the only available means of supporting themselves and their families. Instead, the seminar dealt with issues of rape, self-respect, HIV/AIDS and served as a source of information about women’s rights.

To get a better idea of what kind of environment the women they were interacting with worked in, Amanda and her colleagues visited some of the bars the women and girls entertained in.

We started in the city where there are ordinances which affect GRO Bars. The first bar we went to, Mangos, had (as expected) a bunch of old nasty white men scamming on the young-looking girls that were working. There were about 10 or 11 girls, many of which were in short shorts and bikini tops. There was a small stage at the front where at least one was dancing at all times. It was not like the dancing that you see in the movies, the girls were swaying slowly and looked uncomfortable, they stared only at their reflections in the mirrors and did not look around at the onlookers as though they were pretending to be somewhere else. We stayed for a little while and spoke with a girl who is a member of Buklod and also a GRO at the bar. She looked like she was about 4 or 5 months pregnant, but we did not bring that up. The next bar was the bar that was owned by the woman that came to the workshop. Here there were a few more old nasty white guys, but there was no stage or dancing, the girls had on little black dresses and tags. They were tags like they wear at my LGU with the girl’s picture, age, etc on it. The owner says that they wear them to show that they have been certified by the government as ok for GRO work.

We have added Amanda’s blog to our sidebar for those wishing to continue following her Peace Corps experience and her updates, and have also put her blog in our “Editor’s Pick” category.

Another Great Resource for Nonprofits

March 18, 2009

Last night I stumbled upon the Web site for One World, an online resource for nonprofits worldwide. It’s a great news aggregate in terms of relevent headlines, training workshops (there is a strategy workshop on integrated online communications such as the use of Facebook, Twitter and the Internet which looks good) and international job postings as well.

It also covers a broad range of world regions and issues. It’s worth a browse and perhaps some regular visits from time to time.

I’ll add a link to our sidebar as it seems they update their site regularly.

This looks like a very useful resource for anyone working in the non-profit field or doing work involved with international development.

Editor’s Pick: Interview with Andy Gray of Global Adventure and

March 9, 2009

Photo by Andrew Gray at

Photo by Andrew Gray at

Last week we published a video post we titled “Inspiration in Cambodia,” which showed how one man is making a huge difference in the lives of Cambodia’s poor and his efforts to help the people help themselves. This week, we get to talk to the individual behind the making of that video, Andy Gray, who has served as our bridge into the village of Andong and the lives and needs of Cambodia’s poor.

Based out of Tokyo, Japan, Gray serves as the eyes behind the photo blog, which acts as a window into his and his wife’s work in their non-profit venture Global Adventure.

In Gray’s own words, Global Adventure takes “small groups of people from Japan to see another side of life in Cambodia. We go to build relationships, learn, and serve in simple ways. We spend most of our time at an orphanage about 50km outside Phnom Penh.”

Andy was generous enough to take time out of his busy schedule to talk with me about Global Adventure. Below you will find the contents of our interview, and you will also find a link to his photo blog on our sidebar: (more…)

Editor’s Pick: palabras sin fronteras

February 13, 2009

Every once in a while we’ll showcase a blog that has caught our interest in the hopes that it will catch our readers’ interest as well.

While getting wonderfully lost in the World Wide Peace Corps Blog Directory (seen on the sidebar), I stumbled across this gem from the Dominican Republic: palabras sin fronteras (also added to our sidebar).

Warning: Do not start to read this blog unless you have time to spare because if you’re like me, once you start, you may not stop.

Written by a self-described “non returnable Peace Corps volunteer,” the unique thing about “palabras” is that it goes beyond the simple recording of a typical day-in-the-life-of a PCV. It’s written in a romanticized and magical style reminiscent of great writers such as Salmon Rushdie.

In fact, this blogger can make a mention of “explosive diarrhea” (an unfortunate reality all former and current Peace Corps volunteers are familiar with), sound like an excerpt from a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel – or at least artfully and humorously connect the two:

When the viajita died, her children commenced to cry a flood of tears, inundating the only bridge out of town, leaving them isolated in their mourning, from the velorio to the funeral 9 days later. It was like something out of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel. I wish I had so eloquent a way to describe having 9 days of explosive diarrhea while the latrine’s flooded.

Written in small, but very poetic paragraphs, each dedicated to its own story about life in the Dominican Republic through the eyes of one Peace Corps volunteer, “palabras” makes for an addicting read.