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Corps de la Paix
DESCRIPTION OF SERVICE
Lindsay Marie Rust
Peace Corps, Republic du Niger
October 18, 1996-December 4, 1998
In 1996, Lindsay M. Rust was selected through a competitive application process to enter training as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Niger, West Africa. Between October 18, 1996 and December 1996, she participated in an intensive ten-week training relevant to service as a Community Development Agent in Sahelian West Africa. The training, conducted by host-country nationals in classroom, informal, and field settings, consisted of:
- French Language
- Zarma Language
- Development Theory and the History of Development in Niger
- Niger-Specific Agroforestry and Gardening Techniques
- Strategies for Conserving and Restoring Topsoil
- Appropriate Technology
- Cross-Cultural and Gender Issues
- Community Analysis Techniques
In addition, Ms. Rust was selected in May, 1996, to participate in a 20-day training for Woodless Construction and basic, mud-brick masonry.
On December 27, 1996, Ms. Rust took oath as a Peace Corps Volunteer and on January 1, 1997, was installed in the Songhai-Zarma village of Larba Birno, as part of the Gotheye African Food Systems Initiative (AFSI) project. All work was carried out in Zarma and French, with quarterly reports distributed to counterparts and government agencies. Between January 1, 1997 and December 7, 1998, Ms Rust accomplished the following as a Community Development Agent:
WOMEN’S COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
- Collaborated with government services to establish the first Women’s Cooperative in Larba Birno and registered the group with the Nigerien government.
- Organized and led a collaboration with CARE International representatives to establish the first Women’s Savings and Loan projects in five villages.
- Conceived and guided the first Women’s Community Garden project, in collaboration with a local government service, with 200+ participants. Introduced basic gardening techniques to villagers who had never gardened before. Also directed workshops on natural fertilizers, natural pesticides, and how to save seeds for the next gardening season.
- Organized a one-day workshop for 80 women from 5 villages in recognition of International Women’s Day. Female community leaders were invited to speak and give demonstrations on the following subjects:
- Income-generating activities—bread-making, bead-making, gardening, caisses;
- Health and Nutrition—family planning, Oral Rehydration Solution, Improved Porridge for babies
- Girls in Education
- Facilitated a total of four such workshops in nearby villages.
- Obtained funding (1.000.000 CFA) from Africare for a Sheep Loan project involving 100 women. Collaborated with a local government service to vaccinate the sheep, train the loan recipients in how to care for their animals, and explain the economics of the loan.
- Implemented and guided Soil Conservation Workdays on community farmland.
- Responding to an alarming illiteracy rate and her villagers’ expressed desire to learn how to read, Ms. Rust arranged to have a literate villager trained in teaching adult literacy classes. This was achieved through a collaboration with the project PRSAA, which also provided classroom supplies and a salary for the teacher.
- Procured funds to establish a Zarma Language Library. The educational books are used to supplement literacy classes.
- Obtained funds (400.000 CFA) and supervised the building of a Toolshed for Woodless Construction Masons, in response to their expressed need for tools. Supervised the handling of funds received from the USAID Small Projects Assistance (SPA) program. Set up a framework for sustainable operation of the toolshed, involving the creation of a toolshed “bank”.
- Acted as a link between village-based masons and their office in the capital city in order to facilitate communication.
- Facilitated numerous Mango-Grafting and Fruit Tree Workshops and enlisted the help of local experts to teach the sessions.
- Encouraged a local fruit-tree grower to expand his business by transporting his seedlings to sell in nearby markets. The strategy was successful, as he sold many trees and gave a lesson on tree outplanting and care with each sale.
- Organized numerous trainings for students in the school garden. Taught basic gardening techniques and how to care for trees.
- Taught school workshops on soil restoration and conservation.
- Painted two World Maps in local schools.
- Conducted a WorldWise Schools exchange of drawings and letters between Nigerien and American students.
- Corresponded with an American high school class about life in Niger.
- Established a Regional Seed Bank with seeds collected from 17 different Sahelian tree species, as well as numerous herb and garden seeds.
Ms. Rust participated in numerous projects outside the community development sphere, including:
- Designed a wildlife mural and directed three volunteers in painting and sealing it. The mural occupies a prominent space in the Parc W Museum, home of the only game reserve in Niger.
- Worked with two local, traditional healers to learn their herbal remedies for common ailments, documented the treatments, and collected and pressed plant samples which were exhibited in the National Museum’s Medicinal Plant Exposition.
- Developed and drew illustrations for the Medicinal Plant Exposition, to make it more accessible to illiterate people.
- Illustrated ten educational plaques for the National Museum Zoo.
In early 1998, Ms. Rust expressed an interest in working more intensely at the National Museum in Niger’s capital city, Niamey. By April, she was officially invited to expand her work there. Because of her extensive background and training in the visual arts, she worked primarily with the artisans. Her accomplishments at the National Museum include the following:
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND SKILLS EXCHANGE
- Developed and encouraged the use of new designs, working primarily with silversmiths and batik artists, aiming to increase their sales and income.
- Actively and enthusiastically learned the crafts of batik and silversmithing from master artisans.
- Conceptualized and led a Color Workshop for the batik artists to expand their palette and understanding of color theory.
- Trained by an American counterpart in Digital Camera Photography and explored avenues for Internet Marketing of artisinal goods.
In December 1998, Ms. Rust scored Intermediate on the ACTFL language test for French.
Pursuant to Section 5 (f) of the Peace Corps Act 22 U.S.C. 25049 (f), as amended, any former volunteer employee by the United Stated Government following Peace Corps Volunteer Service is entitled to have any period of satisfactory Peace Corps service credited for the purposes of retirement, seniority, reduction in force, leave, and other privileges based on the length of Government service. That service shall not be credited toward completion of the probationary or trial period of any service requirement or career appointment.
This is to certify in accordance with executive order 11103 of April 10, 1963 that Lindsay M. Rust served successfully as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Her service ended on December 4, 1998. She is therefore eligible to be appointed as a career-conditional employee in the competitive civil service on a non-competitive basis. This benefit under the executive order extends for a period of one year after termination of volunteer service, except that the employing agent may extend the period for up to three years for a former volunteer who enters military service, pursues studies at a recognized institution of higher learning, or engages in activities which, in view of the appointing agency, warrants the extensions of the period.
December 4, 1998
Lindsay M. Rust
Peace Corps Country Director