SSW News

Peace Corps Student Reports In

May 24, 2017    |  

In 2015, social work student Elizabeth Gill left for the Philippines as a Peace Corps Master International student.

Elizabeth said in 2015 "Two life goals of mine have been to obtain an MSW and join the Peace Corps, but I didn't realize that I could do both at the same time. I am so excited for this amazing, sure to be life-changing, opportunity and am thrilled at the ability to seamlessly integrate Peace Corps and graduate school."  Now, soon ready to come home and finish her social work studies, Gill reports on what she has been doing.

Camp GLOW in Bilar, Bohol, Philippines

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"While living and working abroad for 2 + years, Peace Corps Volunteers have the unique opportunity to immerse in a new community and learn about the community’s values, its assets, its needs, and its vision for the village and its people.  I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Bilar, a small farming town set in the center of the beautiful island of Bohol, Philippines- home to the Chocolate Hills and the world’s smallest primate, the Tarsier.

The issues Bilar has prioritized include domestic violence, teenage pregnancy, and the lack of awareness on important health topics such as HIV/AIDS and its prevention. To address these issues, my counterpart and I decided to implement a Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) Camp to educate, empower, and equip Bilar’s young women through various activities and discussions. With the help of Bilar’s Local Government Unit and the Let Girls Learn Initiative, the GLOW Camp was a success! We had 38 high school aged girls, two from each village of Bilar, attend the 3-day camp. During the camp the girls attended interactive sessions on women's empowerment/ gender equality, HIV/AIDS awareness, women's health issues, abuse/violence, leadership, and community service, which were led by local nurses, teachers, social workers, policewomen, and Peace Corps Volunteers. The girls are now partnering with the local Department of Social Welfare to assist the social workers with the facilitation of the monthly Community Development Sessions. At these development sessions, the girls have had the opportunity to share what they’ve learned from the GLOW Camp with others in their community.

The GLOW Camp served as a platform to develop female youth leaders who have already begun to educate their friends, family members, and peers on the relevant and important community issues. I’m in awe at my community for working so hard to make this camp happen. My counterparts are incredibly passionate, hard-working, and driven and I’m so proud to be living and working with them in Bilar."