From Peace Corps Wiki
Peace Corps Volunteers respond to various needs that impact Africa's development. These include the importance of HIV/AIDS prevention and education, girls' education, the increasing pressures of environmental degradation, advances in information technology, and the democratization process that some countries are committed to supporting. Peace Corps has continued to develop a strong partnership with the people of Africa. Volunteers currently work in the areas of education, health and HIV/AIDS, business development, agriculture, and the environment.
|Sahel||Cape Verde||The Gambia||Mali||Mauritania||Niger||Senegal|
|Coastal West and Central Africa||Benin||Burkina Faso||Cameroon||Ghana||Guinea||Togo|
|Southern Africa||Botswana||Lesotho||Namibia||South Africa||Swaziland||Zambia|
Since 1961, more than 60,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 46 African countries. Today the Peace Corps continues to enjoy strong cooperation and support from the people of Africa. At the end of fiscal year 2007, the agency predicts that 2,811 Volunteers and trainees will be on board, working in 25 countries. Programs in Africa cover all six of the agency’s program sectors—agriculture, business development, education, environment, health and HIV/AIDS, and youth. In addition, many Volunteers are engaged in projects involving information and communication technology (ICT), and girls’ education. With real potential for expansion in these sectors and projects, the Africa region is poised for substantial growth. In fiscal year (FY) 2006, Peace Corps received multiple requests from African governments to enter or reenter programs in their countries. The Peace Corps will be re-entering Ethiopia in FY 2007.
Safety and security of Volunteers continues to be the agency’s number-one priority. Twenty-nine employees are dedicated strictly to safety and security in the Africa region, and each of the 25 posts has a designated safety and security coordinator. In addition, the Africa region’s safety and security desk officer located at Peace Corps headquarters ensures effective communication and compliance related to issues of safety. Three additional safety and security officers with sub-regional responsibilities are located in South Africa, Togo, and Uganda, and they provide advice and support to the country directors.
Africa remains the epicenter of the AIDS pandemic. The Peace Corps has had a strong commitment to fight the spread of this terrible disease since the mid1980s. Eleven posts are working very closely with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The Peace Corps trains all Volunteers bound for Africa, regardless of their primary assignment, in HIV/AIDS prevention and education. Volunteers provide AIDS education and prevention messages to schools, outof- school youth, and communities. They also help build capacity for communities and local AIDS service organizations to care for orphans and vulnerable children, and to support people living with HIV/AIDS. Volunteers are uniquely suited to work in HIV/AIDS because they live and work in the communities where they serve. They are trained to communicate AIDS prevention messages in local languages, and they share information in a culturally sensitive way. In addition to deaf education programs in Kenya and Ghana, Africa teaches Volunteers 169 other local languages along with French and Portuguese, to enable them to effectively live and work in their communities. In Botswana, Volunteers give priority to those organization supporting orphans and vulnerable children, as well as basic palliative care. They build the capacity of government district and sub-district AIDS coordinators to coordinate the delivery of HIV/AIDS-related services to families and communities throughout the country, and work in rural areas with local social workers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and community-based organizations that are striving to mobilize and implement community responses to HIV/AIDS.
In health, Volunteers work in 22 countries across the continent to improve child survival, nutrition, disease prevention, environmental health, orphan care, home-based care, youth at-risk groups, and women’s health. In Cameroon, for instance, Volunteers are improving the quality of life through health education, water/sanitation instruction, HIV/AIDS/sexually transmitted disease prevention, and community development. They train peer educators, which facilitate collaboration among organizations, including training in innovative water/sanitation techniques and community education on HIV/AIDS. In Guinea, Volunteers work as public health extensionists, conducting health-needs assessments and developing appropriate health-promotion activities with local counterparts. Volunteers provide health education, monitor and evaluate health systems, and build local organizational capacity to deliver services in reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, malaria, nutrition and control of diarrheal diseases.
Peace Corps Volunteers are involved with business development in 12 countries across Africa. Their efforts focus on teaching business skills to youth, farmers, artisans, NGOs, credit institutions, and IT-related businesses. In Senegal, for instance, Peace Corps’ small enterprise activities respond to the government’s priority development need to promote economic recovery through private-sector initiatives. Volunteers train entrepreneurs and help them better plan, manage, and operate their businesses. They particularly focus on agribusinesses, artisans, ecotourism, youth, and ICT. The Peace Corps also participates in Senegal’s Digital Freedom Initiative.
Education remains the Peace Corps’ largest program sector in Africa, with education projects in 20 countries. Among the subjects taught by Volunteers are English, mathematics, science, arts, ICT, and life skills. Volunteers use community content-based instruction to incorporate HIV/AIDS, environmental, and gender-specific themes into their lesson plans and presentations. In Mozambique, Volunteers teach between 15 and 24 class hours per week of sciences and English. Outside the classroom, Volunteers organize clubs, student newsletters, and field trips. Primary education teacher trainers work at the government teacher training institute or a private institute run by a Dutch NGO to prepare teachers to teach English as a foreign language. Volunteers who teach 10th grade prepare their students to pass the national exams for entry into higher academic levels leading to university and teacher training colleges. In Niger, Volunteers respond to the critical need for English training programs, helping increase community understanding of the importance of education, and contributing to formal and nonformal education that benefits an entire community as well as its youth. Volunteers teach teachers life skills, introduce community content-based instruction, and link out-of-school youth with learning programs in their communities. They also assist youth with income-generating and vocational projects.
Volunteers in the agriculture and environment sectors work in 14 countries in Africa to improve agricultural practices and promote environmentally friendly approaches. Volunteers and their counterparts address environmental issues by promoting environmental education in schools and by educating farmers. In Cameroon, for example, Volunteers work with individual farmers and farmer groups to identify agroforestry technologies that address their needs, protect natural resources, and promote sustainable farming systems. Volunteers help establish seed banks and introduce soil-improvement methods such as composting. They also promote live fencing, improved pasture/fodder production techniques, vegetable propagation technologies, beekeeping, watershed protection, windbreaks, erosion control, natural pesticides, woodlots, tree nurseries, and medicinal plants.
Volunteers work with individual farmers and farmer groups to identify agroforestry technologies that address their needs, protect natural resources, and promote sustainable farming systems. In Malawi, Volunteers work with communities to develop and implement resource management plans, extending natural resource management and introducing income- generating practices. While the work is hands-on and includes working with technical environmental issues, all of the work is geared toward building local capacity, preparing nurseries, planting trees, and researching appropriate species for different environments.
Across Africa, youth are a major focus of Volunteer work, not only in education, but also in community health and development, small enterprise development, environmental education, and girls’ empowerment. In Namibia, Volunteers promote school improvement through learner-centered education and by strengthening the relationship between primary and combined schools and the communities they serve. In addition to their work as school resources, they provide HIV/ AIDS education and home-based care support in the community. In Senegal, Volunteers work with youth in environmental education by establishing environment clubs and committees. They promote environmentally friendly cook stoves, tree planting, micro-gardens, and they help build needed latrines. In Lesotho, Volunteers work with groups to assist youth in and out of school in life skills and sports. Volunteers strengthen community groups and businesses to improve their HIV prevention, mitigation, and outreach programs planning abilities.
Volunteers in every project sector use ICT to help improve the training, capacity, and abilities of the African people in all aspects of life. Volunteers in Zambia provide primary education through interactive radio instruction for the growing number of children who do not have access to the formal educational system. Volunteers support learning centers, educate district and provincial leaders about the centers, and help monitor the effectiveness of the centers. They also train coaches in girls’ empowerment, HIV/AIDS, and life skills. In Mauritania, Volunteers transfer basic business and computer skills to small-scale entrepreneurs and cooperatives. They work with Mauritania’s informal economic sector to strengthen its planning, financial management, marketing, and profitability. The project also enhances the availability of ICT. In Cape Verde, Volunteers are posted in camaras (municipalities) and respond to the needs of the community based on needs assessments. Many Volunteers provide business training, develop youth groups, train trainers in computer skills, and work directly with entrepreneurs.
In FY 2006, four posts also collaborated with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in the areas of food security, tele-food, technical training, fertilizer inputs and HIV/AIDS.