Juan Sebastian Gonzalez
From Peace Corps Wiki
Juan Sebastian Gonzalez
Juan S. Gonzalez began Peace Corps training on October 17, 2001 at the Peace Corps training Center in Santa Lucía Milpas Altas, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala. For his Peace Corps project, Environmental Conservation and Income Generation, he took part in an intensive 14-week program that consisted of 236 hours of Spanish language training, 68 hours of Guatemalan culture and history classes, 45.5 hours of non-formal education, and 180 hours of technical field and classroom-based training for his project. Technical classes included: non-formal education techniques, community analysis and diagnostics, sociopolitical and environmental characteristics of Guatemala, participatory analysis for community action (PACA), Ecotourism as a tool of conservation and income generation, and formation and maintenance of youth groups. Juan also completed an independent study project for his advanced language level.
The Environmental Conservation and Income Generation Group participated in an In-Service Training on July of 2002 in Chisec, Alta Verapaz. The topics covered over the three-day training were marketing techniques for Ecotourism projects, website design basics (given by Juan), and grant writing.
Juan was sworn into the Peace Corps on January 10, 2002 and was assigned to the Dutch Embassy funded organization, PROCUCH (Program for the Sustainable Development of Natural Resources in the Cuchumatanes Mountain Range) and ASILVO-CHANCOL, (Reforestation Organization of the Community of Chancol), for the duration of his service in Guatemala. Juan S. Gonzalez served as an Ecotourism advisor, assigned to the village of Siete Pinos, Huehuetenango. His primary responsibilities included:
-Creating a conservation plan with PROCUCH for the Magdalena-Pepajau watershed in Western Guatemala; -Writing an Ecotourism project proposal to submit for financing; -Designing the 2002-2004 annual plans of the ASILVO-CHANCOL for conservation; -Forming and training a local Ecotourism committee to take charge of the project; -Collaborating with Associate Peace Corps Director, Flavio Linares, to improve project reporting methods for Volunteers; -Research studies on the actual living conditions in the villages surrounding the town as well as the classification of local bird species.
Secondary projects included:
-Working with local communities to organize a composting latrine project; -Writing and securing grants to fund the construction of 24 demonstrative composting latrines in a158 square mile area; -Implementing a 3-month training plan with rural communities on the use and benefits of composting latrines; -Designing and supervising the construction of the composting latrines; -Assisting the local women’s groups, totaling thirty-six women, in securing local markets to sell jellies produced from elderberry trees, increasing profits by 600%; -Organizing an after-school education program for over 15 children, ages six to sixteen. Juan taught over 250 hours of subjects that included: self-esteem, leadership, and creativity within the larger topics of literacy, science, geography, and environmental conservation; -Serving as the representative for the Department of Huehuetenango on the Volunteer Action Committee, during which he gave orienteering and provided peer support to new volunteers; -Gave a full day website design workshop to 15 volunteers.