Washington, D.C., March 29, 2015 - Peace Corps volunteer Kristen Moses of Silver Spring, Md., is working to increase entrepreneurship and host professional training activities with her community in Georgia by opening a social enterprise café. A portion of the funds for her project were raised through the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP), a program that helps support Peace Corps volunteer community projects worldwide.
The café will teach professional development training to employees and increase the skill set of young adults in the Tserovani Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Settlement in eastern Georgia. The café will buy and hire locally as well as display local artists’ work and host community events.
“While the social enterprise café operates as a typical for-profit business, its mission is to serve the community and follow socially responsible business practices,” said Moses, who is completing a master’s degree in Social Enterprise through the Peace Corps Master’s International program at American University, in Washington, D.C., and has been living and working in Georgia since April 2013.
“In a community of about 7,000 people, it is surprising that there are only a few bakeries, only one restaurant, and one café. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for a local business to open and close its doors within the space of 3 months,” continued Moses.
Moses’ goal is to help change this and increase local entrepreneurship. She currently works with six different individuals and organizations throughout Georgia that make handicrafts and need assistance to sell their merchandise. In the past month, the group secured a store to rent and hired two managers. They hope to open for business in the next couple of weeks.
Through donations, Moses’ project was fully funded in December 2014 and also raised an additional $1,200. In order to receive funding for the café through the PCPP, the community made a 25 percent contribution to the total cost and outlined success indicators for the project. This helps ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability. One hundred percent of each tax-deductible PCPP donation went toward the social enterprise café.
Along with opening the café, Moses was able to complete a professional training for fourteen-year-olds in the community. The participants wrote resumes, practiced interview skills, and attended other practical lessons before receiving internship assignments with local businesses and governmental offices.
Moses is one of the 41 American University alumni and students currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 967 Eagles have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. Those interested in supporting projects like Moses’ in Georgia can visit: www.peacecorps.gov/donate.
About Peace Corps/Georgia: There are 86 volunteers in Georgia working with their communities on projects in English education and community economic development. During their service in Georgia, volunteers learn to speak Georgian. More than 585 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Georgia since the program was established in 2001.