USF World News
Meet Christy Prouty, Peace Corps Co-Director for Project “Camp BUILD” in Uganda
November 9, 2012
During her two-year stay in Uganda from 2010-2012, Christy worked as a Community Health Volunteer and co-directed the impactful project, Camp BUILD (Boys of Uganda in Leadership Development).
Camp BUILD was week-long program organized by Peace Corps volunteers and a team of Uganda teachers. The camp strived to integrate approximately 150 boys ages 13-15 from diverse backgrounds and cultures across Uganda to help these adolescents build the necessary skills to become active and engaged citizens of Uganda, their communities, and the world.
For these boys, many of the citizens in their home villages struggle with limited resources and knowledge about protecting themselves against health risks like HIV/AIDS and malaria. Christy and the volunteers taught the boys about nutrition, reproductive health, personal hygiene and sanitation.
Camp BUILD worked to facilitate teamwork among participants. Christy explains, “In Uganda, there are many different tribal backgrounds associated with the various geographical regions, so when bringing together youth from all over the country, it was important to encourage cultural understanding and an appreciation for diversity.” Many of the boys came from different language regions, classes, kingdoms, religions and ethnicities. For this reason, it was vital for the boys to be a part of tribally mixed groups in order to foster an environment where they could practice working together, demonstrating appreciation and respect for one another, all while building friendships.
Camp BUILD volunteers spoke with the boys about dissecting gender roles in order to understand the meanings and myths that are attached to them. The boys were taught about their roles in sexism, and how they could promote responsible social change. Intermingled in these lessons were dramas and skits which demonstrated to the boys skills in effective communication. Through these initiatives, volunteers educated the boys on expression of their personalities, aptitudes, and emotions through art, song, dance, sports, drama, creative writing, and critical thinking in small groups.
“The Peace Corps volunteers helped to guide these young boys to the understanding that leaders are not only at the national level, but can be among peer groups, within their families, communities, and beyond. It was important for them to be shown that they could make an impact at all levels,” said Christy.