Kristen, a graduate student of ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, joined the SolarSPELL team this year and recently returned from a trip to Vanuatu. The following anecdote shares one meaningful experience on the trip:

Throughout the time spent in Vanuatu, there were countless moments that left me feeling deeply grateful for the work of SolarSPELL and incredibly in awe of the profound impact Peace Corps Volunteers are having in their villages. One of these experiences occurred almost immediately upon meeting Frances, an education Peace Corps Volunteer, who is nearing the end of her service in Vanuatu. Frances’ radiant smile, positive attitude, and unmistakable commitment to her community were only a few of the most inspiring characteristics she demonstrated. Frances graciously invited us to visit her site the next day and we enthusiastically accepted!


When we got to her site, Frances showed us around her home, village, and the nearby primary school. Seeing and hearing of the changes Frances has made over the nearly two years she has served was a powerful reminder of the lasting outcomes Peace Corps Volunteers foster at their sites. Although Frances is an education volunteer, one prominent example of her lasting legacy is the construction of a cyclone resistant building where community members can safely remain during a storm.

During our visit, she also shared anecdotes of how her digital library has been a user-friendly and reliable resource for answering questions her students or members of her village have asked. We were excited to share updated content with Frances, and in doing so, also had the opportunity to share the new information with her host-sister. Seeing her host-sister’s eagerness to watch the videos available on the SolarSPELL and her comfort with navigating the videos was an in-the-field moment that truly reinforced the driving motivation behind SolarSPELL’s efforts.


Visiting each Peace Corps Volunteer’s site was a memorable experience, with their sites offering unique perspectives and opportunities to learn about their service goals. With Frances only months away from the completion of her service in Vanuatu, we were able to gain an understanding of how much change can be achieved in just two years time. The SolarSPELL team can’t wait to continue meeting with Peace Corps Volunteers and gaining insight on how their SolarSPELL digital libraries have aided in their efforts to create lasting impact!