On May 9, 2017, the SolarSPELL team held a training with 41 incoming Peace Corps volunteers in Port Vila, Vanuatu. This was a record number of volunteers in a training for our team—by nearly double!
This training also marked the official launch of SolarSPELL Health—a new phase and programmatic focus for the SolarSPELL, complementing and augmenting our prior focus on Education. We are so grateful that Peace Corps Vanuatu invited us to include the Peace Corps Health volunteers, and we look forward to continuing to work very closely with the Health volunteers.
The day launched with an overview of SolarSPELL’s history and development.
Next, the volunteers received their new SolarSPELLs, and began figuring out how they work.
After that, they started surfing around on the SolarSPELL’s offline website, discovering all of the open-access education and health-related content that is now available to them.
Emily Blau, a member of the SolarSPELL team who is a doctoral student at ASU’s College of Nursing and Health Innovations, also explained to the volunteers how some of the content on the libraries was added with them specifically in mind, when they might be facing culture shock, homesickness or just not feeling well.
The afternoon continued with a discussion of some challenges the volunteers will likely face, when introducing SolarSPELL to their field-posts. All examples came from real-world examples shared with us by Peace Corps volunteers already in the field.
We were fortunate enough to have a guest speaker come and give some firsthand testimonial and recommendations for the future, for these incoming volunteers. Alexis, an RPCV who was serving in the field during our first Vanuatu training two years ago, has continued to work and live in the Port Vila area since concluding her service. There was complete silence in the room as Alexis spoke, as the in-training volunteers were so interested to hear what she had to say.
We also had some VIP visits during the day, both from Peace Corps staff, including Vanuatu’s Country Director, as well as staff from the Ministry of Health. It was fantastic to meet all of these people and learn of their keen interest in SolarSPELL.
We were also fortunate enough to meet an ASU alum!!!! Bryce is a health volunteer, looking forward to head out to his new island-home in a few short weeks. Go Sun Devils!
Several of the volunteers were quite interested in the SolarSPELL Library lab. Tomorrow, we’re looking forward to meeting the volunteer who will be taking the lab back with her, to her school, next week.
The SolarSPELL team from Arizona State University included four undergraduate students from the Polytechnic School, of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, a doctoral student from the College of Nursing and Health Innovations, and a faculty member from the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the Polytechnic School.