Scam, kidnap by South African police

Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Scam, kidnap by South African police

Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Astronaut and returned Peace Corps volunteer Joe Acaba speaks with students from space

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 8, 2018 – NASA Astronaut and returned Peace Corps volunteer Joe Acaba spoke live February 7 from the International Space Station with students at H.D. Cooke Elementary School, Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley, and a global audience virtually.

Acaba, who shared speaking duties aboard the space station with fellow NASA Astronaut Mark Vande Hei, is a former teacher who served with the Peace Corps as an environmental education volunteer in the Dominican Republic from 1994-96.

“We’re like technicians working in a laboratory, doing science,” he said. “And everything you have to do at your house to keep it up and running, we have to do on the space station… Why are we important? You need people to explore and try new things, and we’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to go up in space.”

Through NASA’s live education downlink, students in the United States and around the world had the opportunity to learn from Acaba about living and working in space, as well as the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. Acaba is part of a mission called Expedition 53 that launched to the International Space Station in September 2017, focusing on astrophysics, technology demonstrations, cellular biology and biotechnology.

Prior to the live downlink, Peace Corps volunteer classrooms from around the world submitted questions for the astronauts, which were shared with students at Washington’s H.D. Cooke Elementary School. The Washington students posed these questions to Acaba on behalf of their international counterparts, along with questions of their own.

H.D. Cooke Elementary School participates in World Wise Schools, a program that promotes global learning by connecting students and educators in the United States with Peace Corps volunteers abroad. Students from the Dominican Republic, Nepal, Paraguay, Kosovo, Madagascar, Guinea, Morocco, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan submitted questions with the support of their Peace Corps volunteer teachers.

“What is the toughest job you’ll ever love—being a Peace Corps volunteer or being an astronaut?” asked Acting Director Crowley. Acaba’s response: “Peace Corps!”

Click the following link for video from the February 7 event:

Dr. Jody Olsen Sworn in as 20th Director of the Peace Corps

WASHINGTON – Dr. Josephine (Jody) K. Olsen was sworn in as the 20th Director of the Peace Corps today. Olsen has previously served the agency in various capacities, including as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia from 1966-1968.

“It is an absolute honor to begin my service as Director of the Peace Corps,” said Dr. Olsen. “I’m grateful to President Trump for his trust and confidence.” 

Olsen is committed to leading a Peace Corps that remains the world’s preeminent volunteer agency, offering all Americans the opportunity to serve their country. She envisions recruiting skilled and resilient volunteers who stand poised to achieve the greatest impact. In the months ahead, she will focus on ensuring that Peace Corps sends volunteers to countries where they are needed most.

Under her leadership, volunteers’ health, safety, and security will remain the agency’s top priorities.

“I look forward to working closely with our remarkable volunteers, dedicated staff serving across the world and throughout the United States, our global partners, and bipartisan supporters in Congress to ensure that together we are advancing the agency’s mission and goals," said Olsen.

President Trump nominated Olsen to lead the agency on January 3, 2018, and the U.S. Senate took bipartisan action to confirm her on March 22, 2018.

To request an interview with the new Peace Corps director, please email

How Peace Corps volunteers taught 3,600 Zambian girls to code
Girls Can Code!
Young women participate in a Girls Can Code! technology camp in Zambia.

WASHINGTON – In Zambia, 3,600 girls have learned to code through an innovative project designed by Peace Corps volunteers. The project, known as Girls Can Code!, teaches adolescent girls from rural and disadvantaged communities to code by harnessing the power of Raspberry Pi, a low-powered computer designed by a former Cambridge University professor. 

“Much is lacking in terms of resources in these rural areas, which are typically off-grid, with no electricity and no network,” said Peace Corps volunteer and Girls Can Code! founder Daniel Bevington, of Lyons, Colorado. “It is a male-dominated culture where girls and young women in rural Zambia find limited roles in society. For many of them, this is the first time in their life where someone believed in them.” 

At Girls Can Code! technology camps organized throughout Zambia by Bevington and his fellow Peace Corps volunteers, girls first learn basic computer skills, from typing to using a mouse. By the end of the camp, they are skilled in popular programming languages such as Python and Scratch. 

“This youth camp goes above and beyond to try to educate young women on how to live and think in new ways,” said Peace Corps volunteer Lillian Hill, of State College, Pennsylvania, who facilitated a camp in the Northwest province of Zambia in January. The camps combine coding, gaming, robotics, and computer architecture with lessons on HIV awareness and leadership. There is also a special focus on “ubuntu,” an African Bantu belief that emphasizes humanity toward one another. 

The camps are facilitated in partnership with the Zambian non-profit, Hackers Guild, comprised of young, tech-savvy Zambians who love computers, technology, and programming. Working in collaboration with Zambian trainers, Peace Corps volunteers directly reached 112 young women and girls in the first year of the program. Empowered with new knowledge and technical skills, the initial group of girls have since developed their own community coding clubs in rural areas around Zambia, creating an expansive network of 3,600 young women coders. 

“I met a lot of girls at Girls Can Code!,” said ninth-grader Elizabeth Kamona, who participated in a camp last December. “They were all amazing. We were all speaking different languages, but we could understand each other because we were all learning the same technology.” 

Elizabeth, who wants to be a software engineer when she grows up, now leads her own technology club for an enthusiastic group of 20 girls and boys between the ages of 11 and 13. Technology will take over the world one day, she says, and she wants young women and girls to be ready when it does.

Peace Corps Announces 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Schools

For the second straight year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Washington, and the University of Minnesota hold the top three spots respectively on the Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill ascends to No. 4 this year, while the University of Florida holds steady at No. 5.

There are 85 Badgers serving in the Peace Corps, bringing the all-time count of volunteers from the University of Wisconsin to 3,279. Wisconsin has appeared in the top 5 of the Peace Corps’ rankings for the past three years.

Making big jumps on this year’s large college list, the University of Texas moved from No. 25 to No. 8 and the University of Virginia moved from No. 15 to No. 6. The Texas Longhorns have 61 currently serving Peace Corps volunteers, while 62 hail from UVA.

“Peace Corps service is a profound expression of the idealism and civic engagement that colleges and universities across the country inspire in their alumni,” said Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley. “As Peace Corps volunteers, recent graduates foster local capacity and self-reliance at the grassroots level, making an impact in communities around the world. They return to the United States with highly sought-after skills and an enterprising spirit—leveraging their education, global experience, and confidence into their communities and careers back home.”

Among medium-sized schools, institutions with between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduates, George Washington University has reclaimed the top spot with 50 volunteers. GW is followed by American University, the College of William and Mary, the University of Montana, and Tulane University in the medium-sized school rankings.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland leads the rankings for small colleges with 17 current Peace Corps volunteers. Macalester College and St. Lawrence University are tied for second with 15 volunteers each. Also making a significant jump this year, Spelman College climbed from No. 7 into a crowded tie for fourth (see rankings below).

Among graduate schools, Tulane University moved into the No. 1 spot with 27 volunteers. American University, the University of South Florida, and George Washington University hold the second, third, and fourth spots, respectively. Graduate schools at the University of Michigan, Columbia University, and the University of Denver tie for fifth.

Below find complete lists of the top schools in each category and the number of alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers. View the complete 2018 rankings of the top 25 schools in each category and an interactive map that shows where alumni from each college and university are serving here:

Large Colleges & Universities – Total Volunteers:

More than 15,000 Undergraduates

1. University of Wisconsin-Madison – 85

2. University of Washington – 74

3. University of Minnesota – 72

4. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill – 70

5. University of Florida – 68

Medium Colleges & Universities – Total Volunteers:

Between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduates

1. George Washington University – 50

2. American University – 49

3. College of William and Mary – 35

4. University of Montana – 34

5. Tulane University – 33

Small Colleges & Universities – Total Volunteers:

Fewer than 5,000 undergraduates

1. St. Mary’s College of Maryland – 17

2. Macalester College – 15

2. St. Lawrence University – 15

4. University of Redlands – 14

4. University of Mary Washington – 14 

4. Evergreen State College – 14

4. Hobart and William Smith Colleges – 14

4. Whitworth University – 14

4. Spelman College – 14

Graduate Schools – Total Volunteers:

1. Tulane University – 27

2. American University – 19

3. University of South Florida – 16

4. George Washington University – 15

5. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor – 14

5. Columbia University – 14

5. University of Denver – 14

Historical, Since 1961 – Total Volunteers:

1. University of California, Berkeley 3,671

2. University of Wisconsin–Madison 3,279

3. University of Washington 3,027

4. University of Michigan 2,720

5. University of Colorado Boulder 2,504

*Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2017 data as of September 30, 2017, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.

Peace Corps Mourns the Loss of Volunteer Bernice Heiderman
Bernice Heiderman
Bernice Heiderman
Washington, D.C., January 9, 2018 – Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley is saddened to confirm the death of Peace Corps volunteer Bernice Heiderman of Inverness, IL. Bernice, 24, passed away after an illness while serving in Comoros on January 9, 2018.

“‘Bea’, as everyone called her, was a remarkable volunteer, who was admired by the students she taught and the members of the community where she lived,” said Acting Director Crowley. “Bea shared her love of museums with the students who joined the Junior Explorer’s Club she started.  They and Peace Corps will miss her dearly. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family as we mourn this tremendous loss.”  

Bernice served as an Education volunteer in Comoros, an island nation along the east coast of Africa. She taught English at the public junior high school in the community of Salimani, on the island of Grande Comore. She also started a Junior Explorer’s Club and worked to secure funds to conduct field trips to the National Museum of Comoros, a botanical garden and other historical sites on the island. Through the club, Bernice introduced its members to sites they had never before visited in their own country. In addition, Bernice worked closely with the curator of the National Museum to help create written descriptions for artifacts on display there.

At the certificate ceremony for the Junior Explorers, Bernice said, “I am so proud of my kids. They have enjoyed the explorations and I am happy to see them grow and become great leaders.”

One month prior to beginning her Peace Corps service, Bernice received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  While living in Chicago, Bernice was a Discovery Squad volunteer at the Field Museum, where she was a photography assistant and shared her knowledge and interest in the museum’s historical artifacts with visitors.

She is survived by her parents, Julie C. and William Heiderman, her sister, Grace Heiderman, and brother, Billy Heiderman.

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
click here

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

Madagascar click here
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 

click here,

Zambia click here