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Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Peace Corps announces top volunteer-producing states in 2018

District of Columbia holds No. 1 spot for second year; Massachusetts enters top ten for first time

WASHINGTON – Peace Corps released today its 2018 rankings of the top volunteer-producing states across the country. The nation’s capital is again the largest producer of volunteers per capita, after claiming the top spot in 2017 from longtime front-runner Vermont.

For the first time in history, Massachusetts makes the rankings, securing the No. 10 spot among states producing the largest number of total volunteers. At the top of the list, California and New York continue their decade-long streak as the No. 1 and No. 2 states, respectively.

After a two-year hiatus, New Hampshire is back on the per capita rankings at No. 7. Notably, Virginia, Maryland and Washington made both the top volunteer-producing states per capita and the total volunteer lists for the third year in a row. 

“Encouraging all Americans, from every corner of our country, to become involved in international service is something that continues to be at the forefront of my mind,” said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. “At the Peace Corps, we recognize the leaders who cultivate a culture of service in their states. Communities across America are embracing the domestic dividend of returned Peace Corps volunteers and, today, we celebrate these global citizens who contribute so much to our country.”

Peace Corps is unique among service organizations because volunteers live and work at the community level. Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to the farthest corners of the world and make a lasting difference in the lives of others. Applicants can apply to specific programs by visiting the Peace Corps website and connecting with a recruiter.

Below find the nation’s top volunteer-producing states for 2018. View the list of volunteer numbers from all 50 states here

2018 Top States – Per Capita (# of volunteers per 100,000 residents)

1. District of Columbia – 14.8

2. Vermont – 6.9

3. Montana – 4.6

4. Oregon – 4.4

5. Virginia – 4.3

6. Maryland – 4.2

7. New Hampshire – 4.1

8. Maine – 4.0

8. Colorado – 4.0

8. Rhode Island – 4.0

11. Washington – 3.8

11. Minnesota – 3.8

2018 Top States – Total Volunteers

1. California – 836

2. New York – 475

3. Virginia – 364

4. Texas – 351

5. Illinois – 312

6. Florida – 311

7. Pennsylvania – 291

8. Washington – 285

9. Maryland – 257

10. Massachusetts – 242 

*Peace Corps data current as of September 30, 2018. The metropolitan area data used to determine Peace Corps’ rankings are derived from the most current U.S. Census Bureau “Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area” data. Volunteers self-report their home city and state on their Peace Corps application.  



Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:03:34 +0000


Thousands of volunteers support healthy communities, make strides in HIV prevention

Health is Peace Corps’ second largest sector, comprising 20% of all volunteers.

WASHINGTON – Today, nearly 1,500 Americans are serving as Peace Corps health volunteers in 34 countries. Health volunteers are working to improve basic care for people and communities at the grassroots level, where the needs are most pressing and where their impact is the most significant.

Watch: Build Healthy Global Communities 

On Wednesday, at an event held at Peace Corps headquarters in recognition of World AIDS Day, Peace Corps Chief of Staff Michelle Brooks acknowledged the contributions of Peace Corps volunteers to the HIV epidemic response – just one example of the Peace Corps’ unique niche in global health. 

“Peace Corps volunteers were enlisted to play an important role at the grassroots level and we jumped right in, engaging in this new endeavor in the areas of prevention and care,” said Brooks. “Now, 15 years later, we are seeing the transformational impact of PEPFAR, which has saved more than 16 million lives and fostered incredible partnerships with country governments, multilateral institutions, civil society, faith-based groups, the private sector, foundations and others.”

Over 1,100 volunteers focus on HIV/AIDS education, prevention and care, either exclusively or as part of comprehensive community health projects. Peace Corps contributes to the global response to HIV through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the agency’s largest external partner. Volunteers train youth as peer educators, support children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, and create programs that address the needs of families and communities affected by the epidemic. In 2018, Peace Corps volunteers reached nearly 160,000 people through comprehensive HIV prevention interventions, including referrals for HIV testing.

World AIDS Day 2018
Peace Corps staff share their visions of an HIV-free generation.

In addition to HIV/AIDS, Peace Corps volunteers are working to address issues of infant and maternal morbidity and mortality, water and sanitation, nutrition, and youth health and well-being. Health volunteers promote preventative education, strengthen technical capacity, and organize communities and health workers to provide targeted services.

Many health volunteers return from their Peace Corps service to pursue careers in public health and medicine, including serving in leading health organizations, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Institutes of Health, and more.

Read stories from health volunteers here.



Wed, 28 Nov 2018 15:25:47 +0000


At 35, Small Project Assistance Program continues to deliver sustainable impact

WASHINGTON – Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen joined USAID Counselor Chris Milligan to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Small Project Assistance (SPA) Program. The joint collaboration has supported more than 25,000 projects and 2,800 training activities in 116 countries over the past three decades. On Monday, at a co-hosted event held at Peace Corps headquarters, Director Olsen shared success stories and the results of a new, jointly-funded external report that evaluated the program’s effectiveness.

SPA at 35
Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen joined USAID Counselor Chris Milligan to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Small Project Assistance (SPA) Program.

“Whether increasing local water access in The Gambia, developing waste management solutions in Tonga, or mobilizing civic sector organizations around food insecurity in Macedonia, the SPA Program helps to catalyze community-led development,” said Director Olsen. “Time and again, we have seen the ripple effect of the program go well beyond a single grant, and last long after the end of an individual Peace Corps volunteer’s service. Now we have the hard data to prove it, thanks to a robust external evaluation of the SPA Program.”

Nearly $76 million in USAID funds, the service of thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers, and the contributions of millions of community stakeholders have enabled the SPA Program to support community development projects tailored to reflect local development priorities across 116 countries. Projects take place across all Peace Corps sectors, including agriculture, economic development, education, environment, health and youth development. The average SPA project is supported by community contributions that total over 40 percent of project costs, demonstrating a built-in level of local investment and ownership.

In an average year, over 275,000 community members worldwide participate in more than 500 SPA grant projects. These projects and trainings provide valuable skills and knowledge transfer that empower communities to find innovative, local solutions to their development needs. According to the external SPA Program evaluation, over 70 percent of communities independently maintain projects after a grant has ended, and nearly 30 percent expand upon the project through new development efforts. The evaluation findings affirm the program's long-term, sustainable impact in communities around the world.

Learn more about SPA projects here.



Mon, 26 Nov 2018 21:26:58 +0000


Peace Corps Celebrates Veterans Day

WASHINGTON – On Veterans Day, the Peace Corps honors the men and women whose contributions to public service have been instrumental in spreading peace and freedom throughout the world. In particular, we would like to recognize those whose commitment to serve led them not only to the armed forces, but also to volunteerism. 

Zambia

Currently in Zambia on a Peace Corps assignment, volunteer Erik Sjoberg has also served in the United States Army.

When asked about his experiences with public service, Sjoberg shared, "Peace Corps and the U.S. Army have shaped who I am and how I think about the world. They’ve both forced me to leave the places that I know. To work with people who are different than me. To assume an American public servant identity twenty-four hours a day.”

Erik believes that there is something inherently noble in public service, and this is what makes the people who he has worked with, both in the Peace Corps and the United States Army, some of the “best people on earth.” 

In addition to Sjoberg, Peace Corps Zambia is proud to be the host country of many American veterans. For more insight into their national service, read what they are sharing on Facebook about their experiences.

An American male in army fatigues and a female American in army fatigues stand next to each other smiling.
Erik says that if he had to pick one word to describe how he feels about his opportunity to serve as both a solider and a volunteer, he would choose "grateful."

Georgia

After two deployments with the Marine Corps, John Brooks still felt a desire to serve his country and applied to the Peace Corps. As a current education volunteer in the nation of Georgia, Brooks co-teaches English alongside his local counterparts.

Although military service and Peace Corps are different in many ways, there are several similarities, he says. Of his fellow volunteers and community members, Brooks says, “You quickly turn from complete strangers into a close-knit family and, like in the military, those bonds last a lifetime.”

For those considering any kind of public service, Brooks says, “The best advice I can give those interested in national service is to do it. National service is a life-defining opportunity that will shape your future and that of others. However, service is not solely about your wants, needs or ambitions. Service is about helping others and most of the time this requires some self-sacrifice.”  

American Peace Corps volunteers stand in a line and smile during a training.
John Brooks proudly stands with his fellow volunteers at a Peace Corps Georgia training.

The Philippines

David Schopler served with the Peace Corps in the Philippines before he became an officer in the SEAL Teams, where he currently remains as a reservist. Notably, both the Peace Corps and the SEALs were established by President John F. Kennedy within a year of each other. 

While comparing his experiences, Schopler says that serving in the SEALs and the Peace Corps weren’t as different as one might expect. “What drove me to be a member of both these organizations was the desire to serve and, in a way, help—whether that help was protecting people, training others to defend themselves, or teaching others about Americans,” he said. 

The former Peace Corps volunteer and current SEAL reservist notes that, “although today is to remember, thank, and honor veterans of the military, I think it is appropriate to do so for all those who have served our country.”

An American male stands with teenage Filipino students in clear blue waters.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, David started a snorkeling club for high school students in order to help them explore the local coral reef

A fellow Returned Peace Corps Philippines volunteer, Dawn Mantell, served as a Combat Engineer with the Marine Corps in the late 1990s. During her military deployment to Thailand, Mantell’s passion for travel met her interest in volunteering. After finding out that there was a Disaster Response Program position available with Peace Corps Response, Mantell realized this was an exciting opportunity to travel, learn a new culture, and help where she could. 

“I believe it was a life-changing experience, mostly due to the local community as well as other Peace Corps Volunteers I now call family,” she says, “It was not by any means the easiest experience but the rewards paid off tenfold and ‘the toughest job you will ever love’ rings true for both the Peace Corps as well as the Marine Corps.” 

An American female Marine smiles while sitting on the back of a truck with a fellow American and a Thai national in army fatigues.
Marine Corps Combat Engineer Dawn Mantell was deployed to Thailand for a humanitarian effort and a training operation in the late 1990's.

The Peace Corps is proud to have volunteers, past and present, who are also military veterans. There are more than 90 veterans currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers in communities around the world. 



Fri, 09 Nov 2018 19:09:19 +0000


Peace Corps celebrates Native American Heritage Month this November

WASHINGTON - In honor of Native American Heritage Month, celebrated every November, the Peace Corps recognizes the rich history and contributions of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Many volunteers with native heritage, past and present, have committed themselves to national service through their work in the Peace Corps. 

Madiera Dennison of Virginia Beach, Virginia, currently serves as an education volunteer in rural Malawi, Africa. Madiera’s Native American ancestry, specifically her Ramapo Lenape roots, inform her decision to continue learning the local language in her area. “Every day, I make an effort and a promise to learn the local dialects in my community, to understand where I live, and discover why the spaces I visit are given their names,” she says. “I know this little promise shows my respect for my students and their heritage. In return, I teach them about diversity in the United States, the tribes that make up my homeland, and my promise to learn my native language and share it with them one day.”

Madiera Dennison is a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi.
Madiera embraces her host mother, who was instrumental in teaching her one of Malawi's many languages.

After finishing her volunteer service, Madiera plans to continue supporting the Peace Corps’ goal of building cross-cultural bridges. She has plans to learn more of the mother tongue of her Ramapo Lenape ancestors, an endangered Algonquin dialect called Musee. The Virginia Tech alum actively shares her own culture with her Malawian community, and is excited to share Malawian culture with her family back in the United States.    

She says, “Although I call Malawi my home for now, I look forward to the day I get to visit my home in Ramapo territory, share the various languages and cultures I've learned about [in Malawi], and celebrate the language that shapes my history and identity as an American.”

Read more of Madiera's story here. 

The Peace Corps is committed to sharing the diversity of the United States with communities across the globe. The agency has 69 volunteers with Native American or Native Alaskan heritage currently serving in communities around the world. 



Wed, 07 Nov 2018 17:03:10 +0000

Peace Corps

Out of a Zambian village. Erica Peth click here
The Peace Corps: what do they do? SJ Dodgson. MJoTA 2013 v7n2 p1120

Peace Corps volunteers work in close to 30 countries across Africa, and also in Asia, the Americas and the Caribbean. In agriculture, in education, in health.

Why do African countries need the Peace Corps: educated Americans to come to their villages to work and teach?

What happened to the small village that they needed outside help to be self-sufficient, when likely they have been self-sufficient for generations? Is it because of colonization, World Bank policies, ongoing international theft, despair? Most likely all of these.

Does the Peace Corps help the populations feed and education their young, and help lift them out of poverty? Or are all gains snatched by leaders? I am looking for stories of sustained success. Come back for more later.


Above, former members of the Peace Corps march through Philadelphia, July 04, 2011.
Peace Corps in these African Countries in 2013
Benin click here
Botswana
click here

Burkina Faso click here,
Cameroon click here
Cape Verde
click here
Ethiopia click here
Gambia click here
Ghana
click here
Guinea click here
Kenya click here
Lesotho click here
Liberia
click here

Madagascar click here
Malawi
click here
Mali click here

Morocco click here
Mozambique click here

Namibia click here
Niger click here
Rwanda click here
Senegal click here
South Africa click here
Swaziland click here
Tanzania click here 
Togo

Tunisia
Uganda
click here,

Zambia click here