Before she COS’d, Sarah and I started up a QPCV group. Following other PC countries, we may end up naming it Volunteer Diversity and Support. The three main goals are:
Q Volunteer support
Raise staff and admin awareness
Influence new Volunteer training
This past Tuesday, Ellen, Nora, and I pulled off the first Safe Space (Espacio Seguro) training in PCDR! The training director gave us an entire day with the whole training staff and medical officers, without really knowing what we were going to do. The level of support that we have gotten from the administration has been pretty surprising, and we hope to duplicate the training for the rest of the staff and admin. I think that we were able to start a lot of good conversations, and if nothing else, got the training staff to think about culturally-taboo topics. It was a little strange having the teacher/student positions switched—most of the participants were once teaching us about Dominican culture and how to speak Spanish, and here we were, giving a day-long training session.
The difficulty that we face now is keeping the group active, and trying to develop useful training materials for the admin and new volunteers. Ellen is going to sit down with the training director to go over the curriculum they use during training, in the hopes of weeding out heteronormativity, and making them more open to different voices. The fact that they are asking us to work with them, instead of us trying to convince them, is huge.
So, hopefully, we can leave Peace Corps Dominican Republic more open and inclusive than when we found it.