Interview with Jennifer Ann Watkins, March 17, 2021
Project: Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project
Interview SummaryJennifer Watkins majored in French and theater in college and after graduation worked in New York producing theater workshops. Following the precedent of her parents, who had been Peace Corps volunteers in Ghana and her sister who had been a volunteer in Panama, she joined the Peace Corps as a volunteer in Niger from 2007-2009 and as a Response Volunteer in Burkina Faso from 2010-2011. She served in the Peace Corps teacher training program in a town in eastern Niger. This program sought to encourage girls to continue their education through high school rather than drop out to assist with household chores. Watkins developed projects in science, language, and culture, and encouraged the girls to participate in soccer games. Originally, the Peace Corps Response program placed her in Guinea, but she was evacuated to Burkina Faso when the Guinea program closed due to conflicts in the country. She replaced an absent math teacher in middle and high schools. Unlike Niger, in which Islam is the dominant religion and culture, Burkina Faso is more diverse in religion, language, culture, and political activity. Watkins considers her greatest contribution to her West African communities was her presence as a single, independent woman.
Interview KeywordNiger (Country of service) Peace Corps Volunteer Job: Teacher training 2007-2009 (Date of service) Burkina Faso (Country of service) Peace Corps Response Volunteers 2010-2011 (Date of service) Cultural diversity Training girls for success Islam Theater Theatre Travel Children Family Friends Girls
Interview LC SubjectPeace Corps (U.S.) Peace Corps (U.S.)--Niger Niger Peace Corps (U.S.)--Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Voluntarism Volunteers. Teaching. Education. Communication and culture Interpersonal communication and culture Language and culture Manners and customs Lifestyles Schools Teachers Housing. Secondary education Agriculture. French language. Language and languages Political violence. Violence. War. Volunteer workers in education Race. Sexism. Discrimination. Misogyny Race relations Social norms Culture. Religion. Evacuation West Africa.
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Watkins, Jennifer Ann Interview by Katherine Weist. 17 Mar. 2021. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Watkins, J.A. (2021, March 17). Interview by K. Weist. Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Watkins, Jennifer Ann, interview by Katherine Weist. March 17, 2021, Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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