This past March, iAffiliate Management’s Justin Zwack joined the Peace Corps. Justin has been a member of iAffiliate Management since 2013 as a Client Development Manager. Through the years we’ve watched him grow and become a very valuable part of the iAM team.
Justin has taken on a new adventure serving as a Business Advisor in the Community Economic Development sector in Namibia. Community Economic Development Volunteers are placed mainly in small to medium towns that have NGOs, ecotourism entities, conservancies, government institutions, businesses, cooperatives, and community groups requesting technical assistance in business and entrepreneurship development. Some of Justin’s responsibilities include business trainings, direct technical assistance to entrepreneurship teachers in implementing the Ministry of Education’s new Entrepreneurship curriculum, extra-curricular business clubs with local secondary school students, creation of savings and credit associations, individual financial management and planning counseling, computer literacy training, project and design management and grant preparation training, and HIV/AIDS awareness trainings.
On June 16, 2016, Justin was sworn in by Ambassador Daughton and officially became a Peace Corps volunteer. He wrote and told us a bit about his adventure so far:
“I’m officially a Peace Corps volunteer. Ambassador Daughton swore us in on Thursday, 16th of June. Many volunteers left shortly after swearing in, I left with Tate [title like ‘Mr.’ (Ta-te)] Ainima (my counterpart) first thing in the morning that Friday. It was an interesting 7 hour drive up through Namibia to my site in Ongwediva, a nice suburb of Oshakati in Oshana region, called Wamboland or ‘O-Land’ because everything starts with the letter ‘O’.
Right now I’m at Valombola Vocational Training Centre (VVTC) doing a number of things focused on entrepreneurship, but not limited to; setting up a mentorship program for graduating students who want to start their own businesses, various marketing activities for the school’s hotel, Access database for students, and production units that students will use to make products that the school will then sell to generate income.
I’m living on campus in a 4-bedroom house with AC and hot water showers. There are traditional open markets close to my house, as well as a modern shopping mall complete with Chipotle Tabasco sauce and a 3D movie theater. The experience has been multi-cultural in a number of ways. Last week a Japanese JICA volunteer moved in, and will be will be teaching electronics at the VTC. I’ve also been playing music with Zambians and Germans at the community center nearby.
It’s certainly not a stereotypical “living in a hut” Peace Corps experience, but the challenges are unique in their own way.
Hope all is well in the Midwest – It looks like a paradise out there with lush vegetation and WATER. Wamboland bone dry and almost entirely beach sand.”
Justin has been looking forward to this opportunity and will be a great fit in the community he is placed. We are proud of Justin and his commitment to volunteer with the Peace Corps. We can’t wait to hear more about all of his exciting endeavors.