Difference between pages "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Rwanda" and "Property:Salary staff"

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{{Diversity_and_cross-cultural_issues_by_country}}
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In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of
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America with our host countries, we are making special
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efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in
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the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving
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in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years.
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Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and
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sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our
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Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel
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any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and
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to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the
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other despite our many differences.
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Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways,
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however, it poses challenges. In Rwanda, as in other Peace
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Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyles,
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background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context
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very different from our own. Certain personal perspectives or
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characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may
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be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed.
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Outside of Rwanda’s capital, residents of rural communities
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have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures,
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races, religions, and lifestyles. What is viewed as “typical”
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cultural behavior or norms may be a narrow and selective
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interpretation, such as the perception in some countries that
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all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes.
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The people of Rwanda are justly known for their generous
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hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community
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in which you will live may display a range of reactions to
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differences that you present. We will ask you to be supportive
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of one another.
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To ease the transition and adapt to life in Rwanda, you may
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need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises
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in how you present yourself as an American and as an
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individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may
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not be able to exercise the independence available to them
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in the United States; political discussions need to be handled
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with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best
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remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques
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and personal strategies for coping with these and other
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limitations. The Peace Corps staff and the Peace Corps/
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Rwanda Diversity and Peer Support group will lead diversity
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and sensitivity discussions during your pre-service training
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and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge
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ultimately will be your own.
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===Overview of Diversity in Rwanda===
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The Peace Corps staff in Rwanda recognizes adjustment issues
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that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support
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and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions
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will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We
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look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a
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variety of cultures, backgrounds, religions, ethnic groups, and
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ages and hope that you will become part of a diverse group
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of Americans who will take pride in supporting one other and
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demonstrating the richness of American culture. Our approach
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to diversity is to:
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* Prepare our staff for working with a diverse population of trainees and Volunteers
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* Prepare trainees and Volunteers for adjusting to issues related to diversity
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* Prepare communities for working and living with Americans from diverse populations
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===What Might a Volunteer Face?===
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====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers====
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Traditional gender roles are very distinct in Rwanda.
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Generally, women are expected to show deference to men
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and do most of the housework. Sexual harassment (i.e., men
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making unwanted comments) is common. As a Volunteer, it is
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important to stand up for your rights and beliefs as a person
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while still being culturally sensitive. Female Volunteers should
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expect curiosity from host country friends regarding their
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marital status and whether they have children, and if not,
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why.
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====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color====
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The average rural Rwandan assumes that all Americans
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are white (Caucasian). With this assumption, Volunteers of
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color might expect people to react to them differently. White
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Volunteers, as well as Volunteers of color, may receive special
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attention, both positive and negative, including being harassed
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for money, especially in public areas. Non-Africans in Rwanda
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are called abazungu (the plural of umuzungu). Volunteers
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of Asian descent may be called umushinwa, or Chinese,
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because the Chinese have had a presence in Rwanda for many
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years. Some Volunteers of African descent have found it easier
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to gain acceptance into their communities; however, many
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are considered abazungu because they are not Sub-Saharan
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African. Over time, however, as communities come to know
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the Volunteers, they are referred to by name instead.
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====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers====
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The Rwandan culture has great respect for age. As a senior
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Volunteer, people may offer to do things for you as a sign of
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respect.
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====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers====
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Homosexuality is illegal in Rwanda and is punishable by
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imprisonment or deportation. Many Rwandans have beliefs
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about homosexuality similar to those of many Americans
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in the 1940s and 1950s. It is important for gay, lesbian,
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or bisexual Volunteers to know about these conservative
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attitudes to be able to live and work productively in Rwandan
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communities. Past Volunteers in Rwanda have reported that
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they could not publicly acknowledge their sexuality for fear
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of negative repercussions. We suggest that anyone wishing to
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discuss this subject do so in confidence with a Peace Corps
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staff member. The medical office can provide confidential
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counseling and help connect you with the gay and lesbian
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support group for returned Volunteers.
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====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers====
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There are a number of religious groups, the most numerous
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of whom are the Roman Catholics (56 percent), Protestants
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(26 percent), and Adventists (11 percent). Other groups
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include Muslims, who account for about 5 percent of the total
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population, and about 2 percent who profess no religion at all.
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A very small number of people practice indigenous religions
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exclusively, but it is believed that some adherents of other
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faiths incorporate traditional elements into their own practice.
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====Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities====
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Rwandans who are physically challenged are generally
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not accorded the same human dignity as other Rwandans.
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Regardless of the nature of the physical challenge, social
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services are generally lacking for these Rwandans. Peace
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Corps/Rwanda complies with the Americans With Disabilities
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Act to ensure productive Peace Corps service by physically
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challenged Volunteers.
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See also: [[Rwanda]]
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Revision as of 15:26, 12 July 2011

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