Sunday, the New York Times published an article, “Saving the Cows, Starving the Children” byThe author contends that poor children in India are undernourished and one reason is the failure to use cows for beef and feed eggs to these children. To read the article, here is the link:
From that article:
“GANDHI famously denied himself food. And by starving himself to protest British rule, he ultimately made India stronger. But India’s leaders today are using food as a weapon, and they are sacrificing not themselves, but others. Their decisions threaten to make India’s children — already among the most undernourished in the world — weaker still. Earlier this month, the chief minister of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, struck down a proposed pilot project to introduce eggs in free government nursery schools in districts populated by economically disadvantaged indigenous groups. The proposal came from the state’s own officials, but was dismissed by Mr. Chouhan on the grounds that eggs are a nonvegetarian food. Mr. Chouhan, like many Hindus, is a vegetarian and avoids eggs because they may be fertilized and are seen as a life force.”
The article is good to read. Why is Peace Corps important to these concerns? In the 60s, hundreds of Peace Corps Volunteers went to India on projects to promote poultry as a source of protein to combat hunger. This effort is not mentioned, of course, in the article. It would be critically important to know:
-What happened with these Peace Corps project.
-Were the projects successful or not?
-If successful, what elements were essential to the success?
-If not, what elements contributed to failure?
-Did the Volunteers meet with cultural barriers?
In order to address these questions, a person would have to know first that there was a Peace Corps in India. How would the average person know that? Perhaps a google search might yield some information,but not a comprehensive analysis. Peace Corps does have a random selection of materials from the last 50+ years. But one would have to know not only that once there was a Peace Corps in India to even think to google the topic.Then, one would have to know that the Peace Corps website does have an random collection of documents from the last 50+ years. More importantly, how would once access that page? It is not easy. It is not on the digital library accessible on the webpage. One would have to know the key link is: http://collection.peacecorps.gov. But, again, one would have to know that once there was a Peace Corps…in India. There are no evaluation reports listed.
As usual, it falls to a RPCV to provide important information. John Chromy (India III) describes how and why Peace Corps left India. Here is that link: http://ganga633.squarespace.com/stories-to-share/2013/1/21/why-the-peace-corps-left-india-by-john-chromy.html
Peace Corps Volunteers and their host country counterparts and other HCNs all spent time, effort, and the little treasure they might have had, to try to met the nutritional needs of children. Is it important to know all about that work? YES.