DOS – Description of Service


Description of Peace Corps Volunteer Service


Sara Goodman: 2011 – 2013

After a competitive application process stressing technical skills, motivation, adaptability, and cross-cultural understanding, Peace Corps invited Ms. Goodman to serve as a Non-Formal Education Volunteer in the West African nation of Burkina Faso 


Ms. Goodman began an intensive 14-week pre-service training on June 9th, 2011 in Saponé, a village located 30 km south of the capital, Ouagadougou. The program consisted of cross-culture training, language training, and technical skills training. As part of the technical training, Ms. Goodman taught local village children for four weeks in a model tutoring program. The training program included: 

·         250 hours of technical training;
·         120 hours of language training;
·         17 hours of cross-cultural training;
·         27 hours of medical training;
·         13 hours of safety and security training; and
·         7 hours of administrative training.

 Service Summary

On September 22nd, 2011, Ms. Goodman completed training and was sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. She was assigned to Lèba, a small village in the northern province of Zondoma, roughly 165 km north of Ouagadougou. Although French is the official national language, Mooré is the dominant language used for meetings, market transactions, and general conversation.

 During her first year of service Ms. Goodman worked with Primary School A to develop a test preparation class for the Certificate d’Études Primaire, the middle school entrance exam. There were roughly 70 students in the CM2 class who were studying for the exam.

 During her second year she served as a substitute teacher, filling in for a Burkinabe teacher who was away on maternity leave.  She taught 15 third grade students the subjects of reading and math in the first trimester for 20 hours a week. During her time there, Ms. Goodman reported directly to both primary school directors, Mrs. Cecile Savadogo and Mr. Diassibo Salif Lompo.  She also worked part-time in Non-Formal Education.

 In addition to working with teachers, Ms. Goodman engaged her community and worked closely with both the women and men’s parent associations (AME and APE) training them in income-generating activities such as liquid soap making and making organic mosquito repellent. She also worked with them to create and manage a school garden.

 As illustrated by her community needs assessment, food security was identified as the primary community need.  The village of Lèba, therefore, was very interested in doing a school garden. Ms. Goodman worked with local authorities to build a garden at Primary School B. To make this project more sustainable, Ms. Goodman led a Training of Trainers to create a team of nutrition ambassadors to educate each village neighborhood and teach them about food groups and how to make nutritious porridge and sauces. This training of trainers concluded with a practical exercise on making enriched porridge with local ingredients to help combat malnutrition.

 Ms. Goodman expanded on her experience as a summer camp counselor in the United States by helping to facilitate many camps throughout her service, including Camp G²LOW in Kaya (2012) and Fada N’Gourma (2013), Camp Heere in Lanfiera (2012, 2013), a Girls Lifeskills and Empowerment Camp in Yako (2013), and Science Camp 2012 in Koudougou as a counselor, team leader, and recreation and leisure coordinator.

Secondary Activities/Projects

Ms. Goodman was the USAID Small Project Assistance Coordinator for the Community Health AIDS Task Force (CHAT). She was responsible for reviewing and approving grants for HIV/AIDS related activities implemented by Volunteers and working with the Volunteer Service Officer to secure funding for HIV/AIDS related projects. She also worked as a regional malaria coordinator for the Nord-and Centre-Nord regions Volunteers to help organize and coordinate malaria-related projects. She also worked as the logistics coordinator and grant writer for a CHAT sponsored Health Animation Techniques Training in Orodara in June 2013.

Ms. Goodman worked with her local forestry agent and village arborist to coordinate the cultivation and distribution of Moringa trees to help reforest Lèba and use the nutrient rich leaves to promote healthy eating habits.

As part of the national mosquito net distribution campaign, Ms. Goodman conducted a village-wide mosquito net census in April 2013 going door to door to every neighborhood in a village of 2000 people. She reached 308 families and found that only 20 percent of villagers had one mosquito net for every two people, and that 45 percent did not sleep under a mosquito net at all. These results were shared with the local health clinic to help prepare them for the national distribution. The results were statistically significant. The census showed that larger families tended to have more cases of malaria, and finally that mosquito nets decreased the number of cases of malaria per year by half.

In addition to her work as a Non-Formal Education Volunteer, Ms. Goodman used her music education training in numerous activities, including writing songs to teach about malaria and the importance of sleeping under treated nets and early treatment, and playing the national anthem of both Burkina Faso and the United States at various Peace Corps and United States Embassy functions in Ouagadougou. Together with another Peace Corps Volunteer from Cambodia, she created a video of the Bach Double Violin concerto and uploaded it to YouTube.

 Ms. Goodman completed her Peace Corps service in Burkina Faso on August 23, 2013.  At the end of her service, Ms. Goodman tested Advanced Mid in French, and Intermediate High in Mooré according to the Guidelines of the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages.


One response to “DOS – Description of Service

  1. Wow! What a nice summary of 2 great years with the Peace Corps! See you soon!

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