Washington — In Fiji, Peace Corps volunteer Jennifer Diffley has been working with her local village for more than two years to protect the ocean and ecosystem, from ridge to reef.
Diffley, of Henderson, Nevada, has developed an environmental education program with workshops for adults and children that teach best practices in waste management, safe fishing practices, pesticide and fertilizer use and coral reef protection.
Peace Corps volunteers worldwide regularly work to protect the environment and the ocean through communitywide education campaigns and cleanup and waste-management efforts. Today, 12 percent of volunteers work in the environment sector, the agency says.
“To help the foreshore area, we’ve planted trees along the shoreline and mangroves in estuary areas. Villagers are learning to keep their rubbish away from waterways and to manage waste by separating and composting,” said Diffley, who has been working as an environmental education volunteer in Fiji since May 2010. “People in my village also maintain a marine protected area where we protect the ecosystem and plant coral to rehabilitate the reefs.”
Peace Corps environment volunteers help communities make informed decisions about how to best protect the environment through recycling projects, youth clubs, park management, and forest, soil and marine conservation. From turning discarded plastic bags and bottles into clothing and schools, to teaching families about solar cooking, volunteers address some of the most pressing environmental challenges in their communities.
More than 2,290 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Fiji since the program was established in 1968. Currently, 55 volunteers serve in Fiji. Volunteers work in the areas of health, business and environment. Volunteers are trained and work in the languages Fijian and Hindi.
Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment to support the agency’s mission of promoting world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries.