By PSI and the Peace Corps
The small West African country of Benin hosts over a hundred Peace Corps Volunteers serving in local communities as teachers, health and enterprise advisers and environmental educators. Volunteers work at a local level to support underserved people and communities in each of these sectors. From their local vantage point, Peace Corps Volunteers know that the delivery of primary health care in resource-constrained countries like Benin faces many challenges that negatively impact both the quality of care and the achievement of sustainable clinical and public health outcomes.
To address these challenges, Population Services International (PSI) and its affiliate Association Beninoise pour le Marketing Social (ABMS) have undertaken programs to improve the provision of quality of services and products in Benin’s health sector.
Peace Corps Benin and PSI have had a long partnership, which has evolved and matured over the past eight years. Initially Peace Corps assigned one or two Volunteers to work directly with PSI. While this partnership was fruitful, it had a limited impact, and did not involve the many other Peace Corps Volunteers in Benin, serving both in the Rural Community Health and other programs.
Recently, PSI has been able to broaden its relationship with Peace Corps Benin and extend to include other Volunteers and to increase the impact of their joint activities. This collaboration complements Peace Corps’ recent emphasis on partnerships, increased emphasis on technical training, and a more focused programmatic approach. Peace Corps Benin sees in PSI a partner who can help improve pre-service and in-service technical training modules, assist in the development of job aids and tools for Volunteers after training, provide continued technical support over a number of years, and offer a structure and/or framework for Volunteers to better deliver their messages or assistance.