The E&E RPCV Board welcomes new Board member Karen (Preskey) Glover (Agaro 2007-09)
The Board of the Ethiopia and Eritrea Returned Peace Corps Volunteers welcomes Karen (Preskey) Glover (Agaro, 2007-09) as a new member. She was in the third wave of Volunteers to serve in Ethiopia, and part of the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers to re-enter Ethiopia after a 10 year absence. Karen was assigned to the Agaro Health Center to work on HIV/AIDS related care and prevention activities with the Health Office.
She initiated a series of meetings with community members and health care workers to compile and analyze HIV data to assess the community’s health needs. Over a two year period, she worked with community members to address the identified needs and made a concerted effort to understand the culture and integrate into the community, using a combination of Afan Oromo, Amharic, and English in her work and daily interactions. She helped write the Peace Corps/Ethiopia Amharic and Afan Oromo language training manuals.
In addition, Karen initiated a Mothers’ Support Group (MSG) for mothers living with HIV to improve prevention of mother-to-child transmission services. She wrote and received a Peace Corps grant to train two health care providers as site coordinators and five HIV positive women as peer educators. She provided daily support to mentor mothers and managed the budget. She facilitated weekly sessions with the mentor mothers for MSG members about HIV prevention, anti-retroviral drug adherence, positive living, and partner disclosure. At the end of her service, 10 women were enrolled and over 200 had received prevention messages and she handed over program management duties to local staff ensuring sustainability. As the first Peace Corps/Ethiopia Volunteer to start an MSG, she outlined the process to help more Volunteers start Mothers’ Support Groups. Karen linked local Iders (traditional social support societies) with the Organization for Social Services for AIDS to improve care and support for orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV by training 70 volunteers to provide care and support for 700 such youth; including psychosocial, educational, income-generating, and nutritional support.
Karen facilitated a community conversation for 60 people in her first year of service to discuss myths about HIV, prevention methods, and the value of getting tested. She then arranged two HIV testing campaigns in which 180 adults and children were tested. Karen taught two extracurricular high school English courses incorporating HIV/AIDS prevention messages into the curriculum for 33 grade 11/12 students and 50 grade 9/10 students for one year. She taught Life Skills to 20 Girls Club members emphasizing HIV prevention, assertiveness, self-esteem, and gender empowerment and other health related issues. She linked Scenarios from Africa and Peace Corps/Ethiopia resulting in cooperation to create Amharic versions of some Scenarios films with HIV prevention messages.
Finally, Karen collaborated with the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control on the Global Polio Eradication effort in September 2008 and April 2009. She monitored and evaluated vaccination teams and supervisors in Agaro and in other towns within the zone and conducted rapid convenience surveys to estimate percent coverage. Karen participated in two Operation Smile missions in Jimma, Oromiya to provide surgeries for people with cleft lips and palettes by coordinating efforts in Agaro to find potential patients and encouraging other Volunteers to do the same. During the mission, she translated between English, Afan Oromo, and Amharic for the nurses and surgeons. Karen corresponded with two elementary classrooms and a middle school class in the United States throughout her service to expose them to other countries and cultures.
Karen is currently a PhD candidate in Biochemistry at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND with an anticipated completion date of May 2016.
She is interested in supporting microfinance institutions in Ethiopia with Kiva.org, an organization that partners with microfinance institutions committed to alleviating poverty by allowing lenders to provide capital for loans online. She is interested in helping Ethiopian microfinance institutions become Kiva field partners as there aren’t currently any Ethiopian institutions participating in Kiva.
As a member of the first group of Volunteers to serve since the re-entry of Peace Corps to Ethiopia, she will be a valuable addition in expanding E&E RPCVs’ network of recently returned Volunteers.
John Coyne returns as Board member
After some reconsideration John Coyne (Addis Ababa 1962–64) has agreed to return to service on the Board.