Difference between pages "FOIA 10075" and "FAQs about Peace Corps in Namibia"

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{{foia
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{{FAQs by country}}
|summary=Investigation of crimes against Volunteers away from the Peace Corps Inspector General office
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===How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Namibia? ===
|requested=Mar 10 2010
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|received=Mar 12 2010
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|response=Sep 30 2010
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|businessdays=172
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|agent=Denora Miller
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}}
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==September 30th 2010 Final Response ==
+
Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds this allowance.  The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The authorized baggage allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches.  Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight allowance of 50 pounds for any one bag.
  
This is the final response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Specifically, you request the following information. Our response is in bold.
+
Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution.  
*1) Documents explaining the rationale for and terms of the transfer of responsibility for
+
investigation of crimes against Volunteers away from the Peace Corps Inspector General
+
office.
+
  
'''We located twenty-nine (29) pages of responsive documents. After careful review, it was determined that twenty-five (25) pages are being been withheld pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5), because it consists of opinions, recommendations, and other reflections of staff thinking integral to the pre-decisional, deliberative process. The remaining four (4) pages are releasable in their entirety and are attached.'''
+
===What is the electric current in Namibia? ===
  
*2) Procedures for the investigation of these crimes.
+
It is 220 volts, 50 cycles. You will need a transformer to use American appliances such as hair dryers or battery chargers, but computers are equipped to handle the change in voltage.  Namibian outlets use the three-pronged plug common in South Africa; adapters can be purchased inexpensively (about N$50) in Windhoek and other towns.
  
'''It was determined that the memo provided in response to item 1 (pages 2 - 4) is the most responsive document available. No other responsive documents were located.'''
+
===How much money should I bring? ===
  
*3) Procedures for Peace Corps whistle blowers, including procedures for preserving their right to confidentiality, for protecting them against retaliation and for investigating their
+
Volunteers are expected to live at the same economic level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover their expenses. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs. Note that Visa cards can be used to obtain cash at most banks in Namibia, reducing the risk of carrying a lot of cash.
reports/complaints.
+
  
'''We provided a response to this portion of your request on July 23, 2010.'''
+
Newly arriving Volunteers will be given a week of "walk-around" allowance (N$20/day) upon their arrival in Namibia, which should be sufficient to purchase basic items (such as toiletries) that the Trainee may need.
  
*4) Communications between the Peace Corps and the Office of Personnel Management regarding whether Volunteers have or could be granted whistle blower status under the Federal whistle blower statute.
+
Volunteers planning to travel from Namibia to other countries in the region (especially Zambia and Zimbabwe) during their service are advised to have U.S. dollars available (either in cash or a bank account), as most foreign visas will need to be paid in U.S. dollars.  Exchange rates between Namibian and U.S. dollars vary, but the fees associated with currency exchange are frequently high.
  
'''We provided a response to this portion of your request on July 23, 2010.'''
+
===When can I take vacation and have people visit me? ===
  
 +
Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service, except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after pre-service training and the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work.  Extended stays at your site are not encouraged and may require permission from your country director. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.
  
==July 23rd 2010 Partial Response ==
+
Volunteers working in schools should keep in mind that Namibian schools run year-round, with longer breaks in between terms rather than one long "summer vacation" as is common in the U.S.  The exact dates of school holidays vary from year to year, but in general fall in late April/early May (approx. 3 weeks), late August/early September (approx. 2 weeks), and December/mid-January (approx. 6 weeks).  Volunteers working in schools are not permitted to take annual leave during school terms except in emergency or other extraordinary circumstances.
This is an interim response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Specifically, you request the following information. Our response is in bold.
+
*1) Documents explaining the rationale for and terms of the transfer of responsibility for investigation of crimes against Volunteers away from the Peace Corps Inspector General office.
+
  
'''We cannot respond to this portion of your request at this time. We are in the process of reviewing documents that might be responsive to this portion of your request. Once a determination has been made, you will be notified.'''
+
===Will my belongings be covered by insurance? ===
  
*2) Procedures for the investigation of these crimes.
+
The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects; Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal property insurance before you leave.  If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.  
'''We cannot respond to this portion of your request at this time. We are in the process of reviewing documents that might be responsive to this portion of your request. Once a determination has been made, you will be notified.'''
+
  
*3) Procedures for Peace Corps whistle blowers, including procedures for preserving their right to confidentiality, for protecting them against retaliation and for investigating their reports/complaints.
+
===Do I need an international driver’s license? ===
  
'''It was determined that the Peace Corps Office of the Inspector General might have documents responsive to your request. Your request was referred to them on May 17, 2010 for processing and direct response to you. Attached please find a two (2) page document which is also responsive to your request.'''
+
No.  Volunteers in Namibia are permitted to drive only while on approved annual leave; your U.S. driver's license will suffice for this purpose and is also acceptable for driving in other southern African countries (South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe).
  
*4) Communications between the Peace Corps and the Office of Personnel Management regarding whether Volunteers have or could be granted whistle blower status under the Federal whistle blower statute.
+
===What should I bring as gifts for Namibian friends and my host family? ===
  
'''After a thorough and diligent search of all appropriate offices within the Peace Corps, no records responsive to your request were located.'''
+
This is not a requirement; a token of friendship is sufficient.  Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.  
  
You may appeal the no record found determination within 20 calendar days from your receipt of this letter. The appeal should be sent to Earl Yates, Associated Director – Management, Peace Corps, 1111 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20526. Both the appeal and envelope should be clearly marked “FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT APPEAL.”
+
===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be? ===
  
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (202) 692-1236 or foia@peacecorps.gov.
+
Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until week 2 in the training period. This gives the Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with their ministry counterparts.  The primary factor in assigning sites is the match between the opportunities and interests at a site and the skills and interests of the Volunteer. The Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages. In the densely populated north of Namibia, you may be within an hour from another Volunteer. In the southern part, you may be two to four hours from the nearest Volunteer. Some sites require a 10- to 12-hour drive from the capital.
Sincerely,
+
Denora Miller
+
FOIAOfficer
+
  
 +
===How can my family contact me in an emergency? ===
  
==July 15th 2010 Response from Office of Inspector General==
+
The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, you should instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580.
  
This letter is in response to your March 10, 2010 request, under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.c. §552, for
+
===Can I call home from Namibia? ===
<blockquote>
+
*1) Documents explaining the rationale for and terms of the transfer of responsibility for investigation of crimes against Volunteers away fromthe Peace Corps Inspector General office
+
*2) Procedures for the investigation of these crimes.
+
*3)Procedures for Peace Corps whistle blowers, including procedures for preserving their right to confidentiality, for protecting them against retaliation and for investigating their reports/complaints
+
*4)Communications between the Peace Corps and the Office of Personnel Management regarding whether Volunteers have or could be granted whistle blower status under the Federal whistle blower statute.
+
</blockquote>
+
This response includes responsive documents from the Peace Corps Office of the Inspector General. You will find attached an electronic version of the responsive documents. The first document has been released in its entirety and is a memorandum from the Inspector General to the Director of the Peace Corps . The second document is a section of the Peace Corps Manual and has also been released in its entirety.
+
  
This link http://multimedia.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/policies/SARC_20080930.pdf is to the electronic version of the "Office of Inspector General Semiannual Report to Congress April 1,2008 - September 30,2008" this report references information that is within the scope
+
Yes. Most telephones and cellphones can be used for international calls or text messages. Volunteers often call home and, in a brief exchange, ask to be called back, or prearrange a time for someone to call them. Certain U.S. cellphone providers are not compatible with Namibian cellphone providers; for example, calls cannot be made by MTC customers (in Namibia) to Verizon Wireless customers (in the U.S.).
of your requests and is also released in its entirety. A fourth document has been withheld under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act
+
(FOIA),5 U.S.c. §552 (b) (5), because it is an intra-agency memorandum and is a pre decisional document, and is exempt from release to the public.
+
You have a right to appeal my decision within 15 days of receipt of this letter by writing to the Inspector General, Office of Inspector General, Peace Corps, 1111 20th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20526.
+
  
Jeffrey Reichert
+
Calls can also be made to Volunteers' cellphones from services such as Skype at a low cost.
Peace Corps Office of the Inspector General
+
Criminal Research Specialist
+
202-692-2922
+
jreichert@PeaceCorps.Gov
+
  
==July 21st 2010 Memo==
+
===Should I bring a cellular phone with me? ===
  
We are unable to provide you a final determination on your request within the statutory time frame established by the FOIA.  We anticipate providing a respond to you by July 23, 2010 (10-075) and July 28,  2010 (10-127).  
+
Cellular phone service is growing in Namibia and is available in most rural areas where Volunteers serve. Fewer than 5 percent of currently serving Volunteers live in areas with no or poor cellular phone coverage. Unfortunately, cellular phones purchased in the United States are not likely to operate in-country. You should plan on purchasing a local cellphone in Namibia.  
  
If you agree to this extension, no reply is necessary. If we subsequently deny your request, you still have the right to file an administrative appeal. You may wish to consider limiting the scope of your request so that we can process it more quickly. If you want to limit your request, please submit a reply to this notification.
+
===Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer? ===
  
If you have questions or concerns regarding this extension, please feel free to call me at 202-692-1236 or by email at foia@peacecorps.gov.  
+
Laptops are very useful for Volunteers in all sectors.  Volunteers in urban areas have more reliable access to electricity and internet services, but even those living in rural areas find laptops to be invaluable for work and entertainment purposes. Like with any valuable, however, it is advisable to exercise caution in storing the laptop safely. A security cable is highly recommended and insurance coverage for the laptops and other valuables is advisable.  The climate, particularly the heat and dust, in Namibia can be very harsh on laptops and other electronic equipment.  A fan or other cooling device is strongly recommended for laptops.
  
                                                         
+
[[Category:Namibia]]
 
+
Sincerely,
+
 
+
Denora Miller
+
 
+
FOIA Officer
+
 
+
== May 4th 2010 Memo==
+
 
+
We have and are currently experiencing a delay in processing FOIA
+
requests. We understand you desire to receive a response to your pending
+
requests and are doing our best to remedy the situation. Below is the
+
projected response date for your requests.
+
 
+
*#10-038  Information on the Peace Corps Digital Library (5/7/10)
+
*#10-065  Funding given to National PC Association (5/5/10)
+
*#10-072  Biennial PCV survey and 2009 PCV survey by OSIRP  (5/7/10)
+
*#10-075  Info on protection of PCV whistleblowers  (5/12/10)
+
*#10-076  Lists and reports on all PCVs that died in service (5/14/10)
+
 
+
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (202) 692-1236 or foia@peacecorps.gov.
+
 
+
Sincerely,
+
 
+
D. Miller
+
FOIA Officer
+
 
+
 
+
== April 8th 2010 Memo==
+
We are unable to provide you a final determination on your request within the 20 working-day statutory time frame established by the FOIA. We need additional time to collect the records you requested from another post.  We anticipate providing a respond to you by April 29, 2010.
+
 
+
If you agree to this extension, no reply is necessary.  If we subsequently deny your request, you still have the right to file an administrative appeal. You may wish to consider limiting the scope of your request so that we can process it more quickly. If you want to limit your request, please submit a reply to this notification.
+
 
+
If you do not agree to an extension beyond the statutory period, and do not want to modify the scope of your request, you may file suit.  You may file suit in the U.S. District Court where you reside or have your principal place of business, where the records are located, or in the District of Columbia. If you have questions or concerns regarding the material, contact us via email at foia@peacecorps.gov.
+
 
+
==Documents==
+
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Responsive_Docs_10-075.pdf (September 2010)
+
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.com/images/FOIA_10075_BullerMemo.pdf  (July 2010)
+
http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Trainee_Allegations_memo.pdf (July 2010)
+
*http://multimedia.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/policies/SARC_20080930.pdf
+
*http://www.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/manual/%5C800_General_Services%5C860-869_Inspector_General%5CMS_861%5COffice_of_the_Inspector_General.pdf (see cited text below)
+
 
+
<blockquote>
+
9.2 Management and Supervisory Level Personnel
+
Additionally, all Peace Corps management and supervisory level personnel are required to:
+
*cooperate with the OIG in jointly identifying problems and developing appropriate corrective actions;
+
*when requested, provide comments on OIG draft reports in a timely manner for inclusion in the OIG’s final reports, responding specifically to findings and recommendations contained in the OIG reports;
+
*refrain from taking, threatening to take or directing others to take, recommend or approve any adverse personnel or other action against any individual as a reprisal for making a complaint or disclosing information to the OIG.
+
<blockquote>
+

Latest revision as of 11:49, 8 December 2015

Country Resources

How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Namibia?[edit]

Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds this allowance. The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The authorized baggage allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight allowance of 50 pounds for any one bag.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution.

What is the electric current in Namibia?[edit]

It is 220 volts, 50 cycles. You will need a transformer to use American appliances such as hair dryers or battery chargers, but computers are equipped to handle the change in voltage. Namibian outlets use the three-pronged plug common in South Africa; adapters can be purchased inexpensively (about N$50) in Windhoek and other towns.

How much money should I bring?[edit]

Volunteers are expected to live at the same economic level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover their expenses. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs. Note that Visa cards can be used to obtain cash at most banks in Namibia, reducing the risk of carrying a lot of cash.

Newly arriving Volunteers will be given a week of "walk-around" allowance (N$20/day) upon their arrival in Namibia, which should be sufficient to purchase basic items (such as toiletries) that the Trainee may need.

Volunteers planning to travel from Namibia to other countries in the region (especially Zambia and Zimbabwe) during their service are advised to have U.S. dollars available (either in cash or a bank account), as most foreign visas will need to be paid in U.S. dollars. Exchange rates between Namibian and U.S. dollars vary, but the fees associated with currency exchange are frequently high.

When can I take vacation and have people visit me?[edit]

Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service, except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after pre-service training and the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work. Extended stays at your site are not encouraged and may require permission from your country director. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.

Volunteers working in schools should keep in mind that Namibian schools run year-round, with longer breaks in between terms rather than one long "summer vacation" as is common in the U.S. The exact dates of school holidays vary from year to year, but in general fall in late April/early May (approx. 3 weeks), late August/early September (approx. 2 weeks), and December/mid-January (approx. 6 weeks). Volunteers working in schools are not permitted to take annual leave during school terms except in emergency or other extraordinary circumstances.

Will my belongings be covered by insurance?[edit]

The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects; Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.

Do I need an international driver’s license?[edit]

No. Volunteers in Namibia are permitted to drive only while on approved annual leave; your U.S. driver's license will suffice for this purpose and is also acceptable for driving in other southern African countries (South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe).

What should I bring as gifts for Namibian friends and my host family?[edit]

This is not a requirement; a token of friendship is sufficient. Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.

Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?[edit]

Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until week 2 in the training period. This gives the Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with their ministry counterparts. The primary factor in assigning sites is the match between the opportunities and interests at a site and the skills and interests of the Volunteer. The Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages. In the densely populated north of Namibia, you may be within an hour from another Volunteer. In the southern part, you may be two to four hours from the nearest Volunteer. Some sites require a 10- to 12-hour drive from the capital.

How can my family contact me in an emergency?[edit]

The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, you should instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580.

Can I call home from Namibia?[edit]

Yes. Most telephones and cellphones can be used for international calls or text messages. Volunteers often call home and, in a brief exchange, ask to be called back, or prearrange a time for someone to call them. Certain U.S. cellphone providers are not compatible with Namibian cellphone providers; for example, calls cannot be made by MTC customers (in Namibia) to Verizon Wireless customers (in the U.S.).

Calls can also be made to Volunteers' cellphones from services such as Skype at a low cost.

Should I bring a cellular phone with me?[edit]

Cellular phone service is growing in Namibia and is available in most rural areas where Volunteers serve. Fewer than 5 percent of currently serving Volunteers live in areas with no or poor cellular phone coverage. Unfortunately, cellular phones purchased in the United States are not likely to operate in-country. You should plan on purchasing a local cellphone in Namibia.

Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?[edit]

Laptops are very useful for Volunteers in all sectors. Volunteers in urban areas have more reliable access to electricity and internet services, but even those living in rural areas find laptops to be invaluable for work and entertainment purposes. Like with any valuable, however, it is advisable to exercise caution in storing the laptop safely. A security cable is highly recommended and insurance coverage for the laptops and other valuables is advisable. The climate, particularly the heat and dust, in Namibia can be very harsh on laptops and other electronic equipment. A fan or other cooling device is strongly recommended for laptops.