Peace Corps Environment and Agriculture Volunteer, The Gambia, West Africa

Presented By

Spencer Ramirez

Presentation Date


Penn Nursing Degree(s)

BSN ’19

Spencer Ramirez served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Agroforestry sector in The Gambia, West Africa. The villages he lived in were predominantly Mandinka, a local ethnic group. His primary tasks were to help locals gain the skills to improve their food security status and exchange culture.

Traditionally, Peace Corps service is for 2 years, however, Spencer extended for a third year. During his 3 years of service, his projects included the development and implementation of: a community tree nursery; integrated farming system at the Peace Corps Training Center; Sankwia Master Farm; Agriculture and Environment In-Service Training 2016; integrated permaculture garden at Sandele; and the Moringa Seed Bank.

Spencer took the initiative to learn about sustainable agriculture; speaking often with knowledgeable staff members and volunteers and reading about the various approaches to sustainable farming. While agriculture and the healthcare field may seem unrelated to some, as Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka writes, “Food and Medicine are not two separate things, they are front and back of the same body.” The basic function of both the farming profession and people in the healthcare professions are to help communities be healthy.

Spencer’s motivation to become a Family Nurse Practitioner is multifaceted and driven by the belief that he can move toward his interrelated professional and personal goals, which include supporting healthy environments and healthy people.