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    After a send-off from First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, they headed for Zambia and the Dominican Republic. see more

    After a send-off from First Lady Dr. Jill Biden at the White House, Volunteers headed for Zambia and the Dominican Republic in March. Here are the 24 countries they will be returning to first. More are being added this spring.

     

    By NPCA Staff

    Photo courtesy Peace Corps Zambia

     

    Two years after all Peace Corps Volunteers were brought home from service overseas because of COVID-19, Volunteers are returning to posts around the world. On March 14, the first group of Volunteers arrived in Zambia. On March 23, Volunteers arrived in the Dominican Republic — the second group to return to service.

    Over the past two years, Peace Corps Zambia staff have supported projects from rural aquaculture and reforestation to education and public health. Volunteers will work in those fields and others, including food security and HIV treatment and prevention. They will also support efforts to disseminate COVID-19 mitigation information and promote access to vaccinations. In the Dominican Republic, Volunteers will focus on supporting communities in efforts to overcome the educational and economic shocks caused by COVID-19.

    The news that Volunteers will be returning to two dozen countries in 2022 was confirmed on March 3 at a special event hosted by the agency, “The Peace Corps Reimagined: A Keynote Address and Forum.” Carol Spahn, who has been serving as CEO of the Peace Corps, gave the roll call of posts that had met rigorous new criteria for health and safety, and for which invitations were out for Volunteers to return to service. They are: Belize, Benin, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Eastern Caribbean, Ecuador, Ghana, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Mexico, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, The Gambia, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia.

     

    White House send-off: In March, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden with Volunteers preparing to return to service in Zambia and the Dominican Republic. Photo by Erin Scott / The White House

     

    The Associated Press published a story about Volunteers’ return to service that was picked up around the globe. They spoke with Campbell Martin, a recent graduate of UCLA soon heading to The Gambia to work in education — at a time when all Volunteers will also be contributing to COVID-19 relief efforts. When Martin got the news, “I was absolutely ecstatic,” he said. “This has been a dream of mine ever since I finished high school.”

    NBC News published a story recapping key points of the forum as well. Among the returning Volunteers they spoke with is Olivia Diaz, who is returning to Zambia to work on reforestation and community conservation and, as she said, to “deepen roots of connection.”

     

    The first 24: Volunteers are slated to return to all of these countries in 2022, with more being added throughout the spring. Graphic courtesy Peace Corps

     

    The two years in which there have been no Volunteers serving overseas have been far from idle. In addition to work by staff around the world, the agency launched a Virtual Service Pilot, which is ongoing. Last year, more than 150 Peace Corps Response Volunteers partnered with FEMA to support community vaccination efforts in the U.S. For its part, National Peace Corps Association supported evacuated Volunteers’ projects in communities around the world through its community fund. NPCA also convened conversations that shaped the community-driven report “Peace Corps Connect to the Future,” with an array of recommendations for how to reimagine and retool the Peace Corps for a changed world.

    Judging from what Carol Spahn shared about the agency’s strategic plan on March 3, the recommendations in the NPCA-published report have shaped thinking and steered the agency toward a focus on accountability, equity, and transparency. “This is not the same Peace Corps you know from 10 or 20 — or even two years ago,” Spahn said. “We have preserved the enduring ‘magic’ that brings us together again and again — after all these years — to support an agency and a mission we love and care about while fundamentally changing the pieces that make us better.”

     

    READ MORE: From the Peace Corps agency, an inside look at Volunteers returning to service in Zambia.

  • Article
    This #GivingTuesday donate to the Peace Corps to support the construction of a health clinic. see more

    This #GivingTuesday donate to the Peace Corps Community Fund to support the construction of a health clinic in Zambia. Donate today and directly impact the health and wellbeing of hundreds of people.

    The need: a community health clinic

    Timothy Alvarenga is a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) from New Hampshire serving as a Rural Education Development Volunteer in Zambia, where he teaches English and music to his fifth graders at Chinsanka Primary school.

    In partnership with his community, Timothy is working hard to raise funds for a local health clinic for his community in Chinsanka, a densely populated series of fishing villages on the Kapata peninsula. Although surrounded by wetlands, the soil in this region is not ideal for farming so the majority of villagers are dependent on fishing for both their daily meal and any income.

    The people have very limited access to basic resources. The nearest health clinic is more than 10 kilometers away. Ill or injured villagers are not capable of travelling this distance. To make matters worse, the roads in the area are not paved so during the rainy season they are often impassable, cutting off the residents of Chinsanka from much-needed medical care.

    The community has long seen the need for a health clinic, and in 2010 with the help of local a politician, the foundation for a building was constructed. However, once the official left office, the funding for the project stopped and the building remained unfinished and unused.

    A community mobilized

    In May 2015 Timothy created the Chinsanka Health Committee in partnership with Masidah Gondwe, a Chinsanka resident and fellow teacher at Timothy’s primary school. The Committee, which consists of 14 members— 6 of whom are trained community health workers — strongly believes that construction must continue on the building. Chinsanka needs a health clinic. In addition to urgent medical treatments, the clinic would provide basic preventative care and offer classes on maternal health to the local community.

    The Committee has consulted with contractors and created a budget for the project. They hold regular meetings inside the unfinished building and have given over 20 presentations which helped them gain the support of over 45 headmen and women. In addition, they are asking the local community to contribute to the project. To date, more than 400 households have contributed monetarily. Those who are unable to spare the money have volunteered their time and labor once construction begins.

    How you can help

    Timothy and his community need to raise $5,000 to cover the building materials needed to complete the clinic. They need the help of the Peace Corps community.

    Please act now to support Timothy and the Chinsanka community by making a tax-deductible donation to the Peace Corps Community Fund. Through the Peace Corps Community Fund, the NPCA supports the grassroots projects of current and Returned Volunteers across the globe. Become a Mission Partner and support the communities like Timothy’s around the world.