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Lucy-George Cooper ’15 becomes Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa

Lucy-George Cooper volunteers as an assistant school teacher with the Peace Corps in Togo, a small country in West Africa. She instructs students in English, using teamwork-based creative thinking exercises and gender equitable practices.

Lucy-George Cooper graduated from Lake Forest College in 2015 with majors in economics and international relations, and a minor in French.  Currently, she is a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, a small country in West Africa.  An assistant schoolteacher, Lucy-George instructs students in English, using teamwork-based, creative thinking exercises and gender equitable practices.  In addition, before school Lucy-George joins her neighbors in tending the fields, pulling peanuts out of the ground and shucking millet off the stalk.  She is learning the local language, Moba, working with village chiefs and community health workers to prevent malaria and organizing activities, such as Frisbee, with the children.

The highlight of her work in Togo thus far is her involvement with a local women’s cooperative.  Formed five years ago, the 15 members of the group make and sell liquid soap and educate children on the importance of hand washing to prevent illness. The money from the sales helps the women capitalize their individual and small group entrepreneurial endeavors, such as selling tchalkpa (a local brew) and making clothes.

Lucy-George’s studies at Lake Forest College have helped her set the foundations for a career in economic and social development. She took courses with Lake Forest College faculty in economic development, international relations theory, and politics of the developing world.  She also wrote a joint, economics and international relations senior thesis on women and microfinancing in Africa.  In her junior year, she studied in Botswana, a country in Southern Africa, learning the national language and taking courses in youth culture and rural development.