Difference between pages "Chuck Ludlam's Peace Corps Reform Chronology" and "Volunteer discounts"

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Dear Peace Corps Community:
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The two of us, Chuck Ludlam and Paula Hirschoff, have pressed for fundamental reform of the Peace Corps since 2004. As background for the Peace Corps reform effort, let us provide an overview of our efforts to secure fundamental reform and then our recommendations for where to focus next.
 
  
== Overview of Peace Corps Reform Campaign: 2005-Present ==
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==Confirmed Discounts==
  
  
We both served as PCVs in the '60s (Kenya and Nepal). We went back to serve again in Senegal (05-07) because we had loved our experiences as Volunteers and looked forward to serving together.
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===Camping and Travel Gear===
  
===Before departure to Peace Corps===
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
Two years before our departure for Senegal, while Chuck was serving as legal counsel in the Senate, he pressed the Peace Corps to support legislation pending in the Congress to suspend the “two out of five” capital gains tax rules for home ownership sales during the service of a Peace Corps Volunteer or Peace Corps staff. The pending legislation would suspend these rules during the service abroad in the Foreign Service and CIA. Only the House bill included Peace Corps service. Despite its professed interest in recruiting older Volunteers, the Peace Corps did nothing to support application of the legislation to Peace Corps Volunteers and staff and it died. In 2007, Chuck resurrected this issue, asked for the support of the Peace Corps, received an email from Director Ron Tschetter belittling his efforts, and went on to secure enactment of the tax rule change. The Peace Corps did nothing to support this legislation. This measure eliminated a disincentive for service by older Volunteers and staff.
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|-
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! width="200pt"|Company
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! width="200pt"|Type
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! width="200pt"|Discount
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! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
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|-
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|[http://www.tortugabackpacks.com/ Tortuga Backpacks]
 +
| Urban travel backpacks
 +
| 20% off for Peace Corps volunteers
 +
| [http://www.tortugabackpacks.com/pages/contact/ Email them] and provide verification (acceptance letter, follow up email from recruiting officer, or PC ID).
 +
|-
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|-
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|[http://www.mhmgear.com/ MHM]
 +
| Amazing packs!! You want to get one :)
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| Peace Corps Deal 25% (cannot combine with sale items)
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| Contact them via their website (www.mhmgear.com) or Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/mhmgear) and provide verification (acceptance letter, follow up email from recruiting officer, or PC ID) You will receive a friendly quick response, the guys are super cool. (8/2013)
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|-
  
A year before leaving the US for training in Senegal, we secured an agreement from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that it would promulgate rules to permit Federal retirees receiving health care benefits (Chuck’s situation) to suspend their premium payments during service and re-enroll upon completion of service. This new rule would mirror ones that permit other Federal retirees to suspend enrollment when they have other health insurance coverage, and OPM agreed that such a rule would be appropriate for Peace Corps Volunteers. Without this rule change, we would have had to pay $7,000 for health insurance that we didn’t need. Despite its professed interest in recruiting older Volunteers, the Peace Corps offered virtually no assistance in securing promulgation of these new rules and it took over a year to get them finalized. This measure eliminated a disincentive for service by older Volunteers.
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|-
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|[http://www.kelty.com Kelty]
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| Backpacks, camping gear, sleeping bags, more
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| 40% off via pro deal - http://www.kelty.com/pro.aspx (4/1/2015)
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|-
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| [http://www.klymit.com/ Klymit]
 +
| Sleeping bags, pads, and other camping gear
 +
|40% off for Peace Corps Volunteers.  
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|Just e-mail support@klymit.com and let them know you are a volunteer! You'll receive a coupon code to use on www.klymit.com after providing verification.
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|-
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| [http://www.treklightgear.com Trek Light Gear]
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| Hammocks, Bug Nets, Ultralight Backpacks, more
 +
| 20% Off! (not valid on sale items)
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(Up to 40% off for group orders 10 or more - contact your fellow PCV's!)
 +
| Just [http://www.treklightgear.com/contacts/ contact TLG] and you'll get a response ASAP to get your discount (you'll be asked to provide easy verification). For more information on how Trek Light has helped helped PCV's in the past, check out the post [http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/peace-corps-hammocks/ Hammocks For The Peace Corps]. If you're already stationed Trek Light can easily ship international. TLG has been a huge supporter of PCV's so please support them back, their Bindle daypack and hammocks are essentials on your trip! (Current thru 2015)
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|-
  
The day we left for Senegal, we also filed a FOIA request for the Peace Corps Medical Screening Guidelines and six months later when they were produced, Chuck had them published online with a guide to the medical screening process. We felt strongly that applicants should know what guides Peace Corps in determining their medical eligibility.
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|-
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| [http://www.marmot.com/ Marmot]
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| Outdoor gear
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| Marmot offers a Professional Courtesy Program to Peace Corps Volunteers.  Discount may vary by product but is <b>substantial</b>. Selection is limited compared to regular online site (some products may be "out of stock," but you can request them). 10/31/14: Pro Account accepted, and discount is 50%.- 12/16/14 the discount is up to 50% off however it ranges more so around 42-45% off depending on the gear
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| Apply for the program [http://marmot.promotive.com/action/index here], you should hear back within a couple business days. (verified 04/07/2015)
  
When Chuck retired from Capitol Hill in 2005 (after working there off and on over 40 years), the Washington Post had written an article praising Chuck for not cashing in to become a lobbyist on K Street. After the Senegal Country Director read it (months before he met me), he told staff at a meeting that he'd "sit on" Chuck the moment he arrived so that he couldn’t cause trouble. The Senegal training staff told us this soon after we arrived.
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|-
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| [http://www.coleman.com/nonprofit Coleman]
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| Outdoor gear
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| Coleman offers a discounted pricing program for non-profit groups.  Discount varies by product. <b>must order for delivery in the states</b>
 +
| Email their customer service department [http://www.coleman.com/coleman/feedback2.asp here] and ask if they provide discounts to Peace Corps volunteers. 12/12/11- Customer Service replied to my question saying they do not offer discounts to Peace Corps volunteers 1/13/14 - emailed customer service and attached invitation letter. Received promo code for 30%
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|-
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| [http://cascadedesigns.com/ Cascade Designs (MSR, Thermarest, Seal Line, Platypus, Tracks)]
 +
| Outdoor Gear
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| approximately 30%
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| UPDATED 2/2/15: Simply apply online here - https://www.cascadedesigns.com/pro.  Peace Corps are allowed to use a home address as the registered shipping address, since they only ship items to the United States. 11/28/11:  please email before submitting a registration. 09/2014- Still available!
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|-
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| [http://www.eaglecreek.com/ Eagle Creek]
 +
| Travel Gear
 +
| 30-50%
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| Ask to join the Pro-Deal go to proshop.eaglecreek.com to apply for discount. 04/01/15- 50% discount.
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|-
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|-
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| [http://www.eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com ENO]
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| Hammocks, Rain tarps, Stuff sacks
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| 10%
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| Email Customer Service
 +
|-
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| [http://www.hennessyhammock.com Hennessy Hammock]
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| Camping Hammocks
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| 50%. Must order at least ten at a time (talk to other PCVs to put together bulk order). They will ship internationally.
 +
  40% If order individually
 +
| Email Customer Service. This is a small company and they were really excited about this pro-deal. 2/19/11 just emailed and they confirmed 50% discount. No mention of a requirement to purchase 10 at a time.
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|-
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|[http://www.timbuk2.com Timbuk2]
 +
|Messenger bags, backpacks, and laptop bags
 +
|You get the "prodeal" 30% discount when you sign up.
 +
|sign up [https://prodeal.timbuk2.com/tb2/pro/signin.htm here](I tried this and never got a response. I sent many emails and only part were returned. This did not work for me April 2011.  Update: The pro deal website didn't work for me either, so I emailed the Customer Support.  I got a quick friendly response from CS and they gave me a code for a single use as their pro deal website was down (April 12, 2011). 2/1/14 - pro deals all go through promotive. Apply online to [http://www.promotive.com/] to save 30%
 +
|-
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|[http://www.backcountry.com/ Backcountry.com]
 +
| All the Best Outdoor Gear!
 +
| Variable depending on product (average 20%-30%)
 +
| Email: mcorey@backcountry.com and provide verification (acceptance letter, follow up email from recruiting officer, or PC ID)if emails are not sent to above email response may be delayed. Note emails responses are sent Mon.-Fri. You will receive a friendly quick response. (6/2015)
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|-
  
===Service in Senegal===
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|Eastern Mountain Sports
 +
|Outdoor Gear, Clothing
 +
|20% off retail price.
 +
|<u>In stores only</u>: ask for the "humanitarian discount." You will get 20% off your entire purchase. **(UPDATE AS OF 6/25/2014--Don't give the humanitarian discount anymore, but if you explain you're going into PC, they'll give you the student discount of 15% !)
  
As we went through training and started our service in Senegal, we were shocked at the agency mismanagement we encountered. Our Country Director treated the Volunteers with contempt. He sabotaged any serious development work, including fundraising through the Peace Corps Partnership Program. There were no Best Practices Guides available to the Volunteers. Training was marginal. Even language training was marginal. Three of the development programs were so poorly crafted that Volunteers had virtually no opportunity to achieve sustainable results within program guidelines. Site placement and counterpart recruitment was haphazard. The most important priority seemed to be enforcement of the out-of-site regulations. One staff program officer was sexually harassing female Volunteers. Morale among the Volunteers was low. The Early Termination rate was high. When we decided to serve again, we had no idea that there were any issues regarding the professionalism of the Peace Corps or in its treatment of the Volunteers.
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|-
  
After he’d learned that he’d been assigned to service in serve as a forestry agent in Senegal, Chuck had spent three months getting prepared, learning to graft, assembling resource manuals, and recruiting experts to provide him with technical support. Chuck had no interest in serving in agriculture (cereal crops), which had been his assignment in Nepal. The day he arrived in Senegal, Chuck was informed that he’d serve in agriculture (cereal crops) and said if he didn't like it he could Early Terminate. He objected but there was nothing he could do. Chuck had retired, we’d rented our house and sold our cars, and if Chuck was terminated, Paula would have to leave as well. Chuck was assured that despite the switch, he could focus on forestry. It soon became clear to him that the agriculture program was an abysmal failure. It focused on distributing new hybrid cereal crop seeds on the theory that the farmers would like them so much they’d buy the seeds themselves. In the eight-year history of the program it seems that no Senegalese farmer had ever bought the seeds.
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|Samsonite
 +
|Luggage
 +
|10% off retail price.
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|<u>In stores confirmed, unsure online</u>:08/14/2014 at Samsonite outlet store, asked salesperson and he looked it up and told me that they offer 10%. Unsure if this is in all Samsonite stores, or just the outlet stores. Just ask for it !)
  
Six months into his service, when he was doing all he could to work on forestry as well as cereal crops, the Country Director tried to terminate his service for not working enough on seed distribution. Chuck mentioned being Shanghaied into the agriculture program, and he was accused of lying about the switch. When Chuck produced a copy of the invitation proving that he had been recruited as a forestry agent, the Country Director refused to apologize for accusing Chuck of lying.
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|-
  
We had gone to Senegal hoping to become bee keepers and extend it in Senegal. The Country Director made this impossible.
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|[http://www.travelonbags.com/ Travelon]
 +
|Travel Accessories/Security Bags
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|25% off
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|<u>Online</u>:08/15/2014 contacted via Facebook and they provided me with a one time use code for 25% off
  
We proposed an overhaul of the language training program to give more written materials to older Volunteers, who often struggled to learn Wolof. This proposal was ignored.
+
|-
  
===Ron Tshetter's Nomination===
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|LuminAid  10% off use code "LuminAIDPeaceCorps"
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|http://thescrubba.com/
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|Scrubba Wash Bag
 +
| 10% off for PCVs. Fantastic aid for hand-washing clothing. No mess, easy to pack, durable, and doubles as a dry bag.
 +
| E-mail and request discount code.
  
When Ron Tschetter was nominated to be Peace Corps Director in 2006, Chuck went to his Senate friends and they let him write the questions for his nomination hearing (focusing on issues of concern to Volunteers); he answered none of these questions. After Tschetter had been confirmed, Chuck sent him a detailed reform plan focusing on empowering Volunteers and reform. Director Tschetter refused even to acknowledge it. Chuck pushed for six months for a response and got none.
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|-
  
So, Chuck went back to his former Senate colleagues and Dodd introduced Chuck’s plan as the [[Reform_Plan_Ludlam_Hirschoff|Peace Corps Volunteer Empowerment Act (March 1, 2007; S. 932)]]. It was a bold plan to empower Volunteers and hold the Peace Corps staff accountable. The key features of the bill included giving protections to Volunteer Whistle Blowers, including confidentiality and protections against retaliation.
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| Leatherman + LEDLenser (50% all items, $345 in available discount spending, expires in 6 months)
===Introducing a Bill to give Volunteers Whistle Blower Rights===
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|www.leatherman.com/pro, www.ledlenser.com/pro
All other federal employees were granted Whistle Blower rights in 1978, but the Peace Corps had chosen not to give Volunteers or staff these rights. The legislation also directed the Peace Corps to conduct annual confidential surveys of the Volunteers regarding staff professionalism and program effectiveness and use the results in personnel reviews; it designated a small portion of the annual Peace Corps budget for Volunteers to use as seed funding for demonstrations at their sites; it loosened the restrictions against fund raising by Volunteers; it brought the Peace Corps into the digital age by establishing websites and email links for Volunteers to use in-country; it removed certain medical, healthcare and tax impediments that discourage older individuals from serving; and it created more transparency in the medical screening and appeals process.
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| Multi-tools, knives, flashlights, headlamps
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| Apply for pro deal (confirmed 6/22/15)
  
When Senator Dodd scheduled a hearing on the bill in July of 2007, he invited us to fly in from Senegal to represent the current Volunteers. The Peace Corps threatened to terminate our service if we testified. We testified anyway and told them if they terminated us, we'd seek to have the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hold them in contempt for obstructing a Senate hearing, and they backed off of their threat. We paid our own airfare, which cost half of our combined readjustment allowances.
+
|-
  
The key issue in the hearing was Whistle Blower rights for Volunteers -- [[Reform_Plan_Ludlam_Hirschoff|our testimony]] at the hearing is posted on the Peace Corps Wiki.  The Peace Corps vociferously opposed the Dodd bill, belittled it, and said, in effect, that there was no need for reform.
 
  
The House had been all set to introduce the bill, but after the Peace Corps objected, it was never introduced. Senator Dodd ran for President in 2007-08, abandoned the legislation, and it languished and died at the end of the Congress (Fall, 2008).
 
  
===Kate Puzey Tragedy and Chuck's involvement with NPCA===
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===Clothing===
In January 2009 Volunteer Kate Puzey blew the whistle on a Peace Corps staffer in Benin. Her confidentiality was blown to the accused, who slit her throat while she slept. Kate might have lived had she been afforded protections as a Whistle Blower (confidentiality and protection against retaliation) as provided in the 2007 Dodd bill.
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In February of 2009 Chuck was appointed as an adviser to the Obama Transition Team for the Peace Corps, which was led by a former Peace Corps staffer who had never been a Volunteer. He raised all the reform issues from the 2007 Dodd bill and our testimony but the team ignored them, writing a bland report overlooking the problems and calling only for expansion. Chuck tried unsuccessfully to block the team report.
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{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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|-
 +
! width="200pt"|Company
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! width="200pt"|Type
 +
! width="200pt"|Discount
 +
! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 +
|-
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|[http://www.ourtalkinghands.com/ Our Talking Hands]
 +
|Unique, high quality, handmade designs fashioned by Deaf Ghanaian Artisans - Founded by a PCV in 2009.
 +
|Our Talking Hands offers a 20% discount code to all PCVs and RPCVs.
 +
|Submit your invitation letter or DOS to ourtalkinghands@gmail.com.  They will send you a 20% OFF Discount Code that can be used at https://www.etsy.com/shop/OurTalkingHands on any purchase you make!
 +
|-
 +
|[http://ministryofsupply.com/ Ministry of Supply]
 +
|Men's business attire engineered to be adaptable to any situation.
 +
|15% off Apollo Dress Shirts, perhaps other discounts available.
 +
|Submit your invitation letter or DOS to q@ministryofsupply.com and explain your situation and what products you want.  They will have you call in to place an order and apply your discount over the phone. (Negotiated by a PCV) 5/25/15: offered combination discounts (buy 2-5 of one thing and get 10-15% off).
 +
|-
 +
|[http://www.runjanji.com/ Janji]
 +
|Running Apparel that Gives Back
 +
|40% off for PCVs and RPCVs, 50% off if you serve in a country that we support. You pay shipping if outside US
 +
|Email sam.bar@runjanji.com (RPCV Moz '11-'13) a scan of your invitation letter or DOS and he'll send you a discount code
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.bluffworks.com/ Bluffworks]
 +
| Mens Pants for Work, Travel and Play
 +
| "Inspired by the performance of technical travel clothing, I built a pant that marries technical performance with office ready looks... I designed these pants to keep up with the rigors of my own life, where work, play, and travel frequently collide."
 +
| Email the Bluffworks Team at team@bluffworks.com to receive a 20% discount for Peace Corps Volunteers. (Negotiated by PCV)
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.marmot.com/ Marmot]
 +
| Outdoor clothing
 +
| Marmot offers a Professional Courtesy Program to Peace Corps Volunteers.  Discount may vary by product but is <b>substantial</b>. Selection is limited compared to regular online site (some products may be "out of stock," but you can request them).  12/17/14 50% discount on clothing
 +
| Apply for the program [http://marmot.promotive.com/action/index here], you should hear back within a couple business days.
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.ae.com/ American Eagle Outfitters]
 +
| Men's and Women's Clothing
 +
| 20% off ALL AEO and Aerie clothing
 +
| Call customer service (1-888-232-4535)to speak with a customer service rep. 7/25/14: received discount after submitting Peace Corps verification via email. Orders using this discount will have to be placed over the phone, in coordination with a rep.4/4/15: Called and customer service rep said they do not offer any discounts for Peace Corps volunteers.
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|-
 +
| [http://www.thenorthface.com/ The North Face]
 +
| Outdoor Clothing
 +
| The North Face offers a Pro Pricing Program to Peace Corps Volunteers.  Discount may vary by product but is <b>substantial</b>. Selection is limited compared to regular online site (some products may be "out of stock," but you can request them).
 +
| Apply for the program [http://thenorthface.promotive.com/action/index here], you should hear back within a couple business days. **5/11/11: The program is not accepting new applicants. The Pro program is apparently under review for possible termination. 11/28/11: The program is back, but no longer offers discounts to Peace Corps Volunteers.  (Policy change-no more discounts)
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|-
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| [http://www.exofficio.com/ ExOfficio]
 +
| Outdoor Clothing
 +
| 20-30%
 +
| apply online at http://www.exofficio.com/pro **7/20/11: Received a 10% discount, not 50%-60%. 1/7/12: Received a 25% discount: Received a 20% discount on 12/23/13. 09/2014- Discount still stands but only on select items and most of it is out of stock.
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|-
 +
| [http://www.macabiskirt.com Macabi]
 +
| Macabi Skirts
 +
| $50 per skirt instead of $80
 +
| e-mail your acceptance letter
 +
|-
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| [http://www.moosejaw.com Moosejaw]
 +
| Outdoor gear/clothes
 +
| 10% off regular prices, 5% off sale prices<br>
 +
''Excludes Arc'Teryx, Bugaboo,Burton, Merrell, Nixon,Suunto, The North Face and Western Mountainering products''
 +
| Use Coupon Code "LTM" (discount did work on 4/26/2011)Code did not work for me but I live-chatted with them and they gave me a weekly code of 15% off (4/23/2014)
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.backcountry.com/ Backcountry.com]
 +
| All the Best Outdoor Gear!
 +
| Variable depending on product (average 20%-30%)
 +
| Email: mcorey@backcountry.com and provide verification (acceptance letter, follow up email from recruiting officer, or PC ID)if emails are not sent to above email response may be delayed. Note emails responses are sent Mon.-Fri.
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.hotchillys.com/home/index/1520.1 Hot Chillys]
 +
| Hot Chillys
 +
| 10% off Code for Clothing and Socks
 +
| e-mail sales@hotchillys.com or customer service, ask for a Peace Corps Discount, and provide verification (7/1/13)
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.smartwool.com Smart Wool]
 +
| Smartwool
 +
| Smartwool
 +
| Significant discount on very warm socks and gear.
 +
| E-mail and request access to their pro deal. You may need to include your invitation letter. They take a while to get back to you.
 +
|-
 +
| [http://icebreaker.promotive.com Ice Breaker]
 +
| Ice Breaker
 +
| Significant Discount
 +
| Apply through their promotive site.
 +
|}
  
Chuck was elected to the Board of NPCA. His goal was to stop NPCA executive director Kevin Quigley from pressing for a doubling of the number of Volunteers – the “More Peace Corps” campaign. Quigley had become the leading opponent of the 2007 Dodd bill reforms because it would undermine Quigley’s campaign for expansion.
+
===Education===
  
In 2009 Chuck worked successfully to help secure enactment of an authorization for the Volunteers for Prosperity (VfP) program in the Kennedy Serve America Act. VfP would place volunteers with NGOs at 1/10 of the Peace Corps cost of $104,000 per Volunteer (over two years). VfP has languished at USAID, unsupported by the coalition that secured enactment of the Serve Act so that it cannot provide an alternative to the top-heavy, more expensive Peace Corps model.
+
{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
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|-
 +
! width="200pt"|School / University
 +
! width="200pt"|Type
 +
! width="200pt"|Benefits
 +
! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.msu.edu Michigan State University]
 +
| Graduate School
 +
| In-State Tuition for RPCVs
 +
| [http://www.reg.msu.edu/ROInfo/notices/residency.asp Section 3G]
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=learn.whyvol.eduben.mastersint Master's International]<br>
 +
| "more than 60 universities offering 117 different graduate degrees."
 +
| [http://multimedia.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/masters/current-programs.pdf See list, school dependent]
 +
| [http://multimedia.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/masters/current-programs.pdf See list, school dependent]
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=learn.whyvol.eduben.fellows Fellows/USA]<br>
 +
| "more than 50 universities."
 +
| [http://multimedia.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/fellows/current-programs.pdf See list, school dependent]
 +
| [http://multimedia.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/fellows/current-programs.pdf See list, school dependent]
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.livelingua.com/peace-corps-discounts.php Live Lingua School]<br>
 +
| "Live Skype lessons in 11 languages.  Free Ebooks & Audios for over 90 languages."
 +
| [http://www.livelingua.com/peace-corps-discounts.php Live lessons (up to 40% off)]
 +
| Follow instructions on page.
 +
|-
 +
|}
  
===Misrepresentation of Early Termination Rates===
+
===Electronics===
  
Working with Peace Corps Wiki Co-Founder Michael Sheppard, we found that the Peace Corps was misrepresenting the Early Termination rates of Volunteers, reporting them to be 1/4 as high as they really are. The Peace Corps had changed the method for calculating the rates when it was compelled by the Office of Management and Budget to begin complying with the Performance and Results Act. That act requires agencies to set metrics for their performance and report how well they perform. With a worldwide Early Termination rate of 35%, the Peace Corps found a ingenious way to report it as 8%, a much less embarrassing figure. Because the Peace Corps misrepresents the Early Termination rates, it does not use them to identify the troubled programs in need of fundamental reform.
+
{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
 +
|-
 +
! width="200pt"|Company
 +
! width="200pt"|Type
 +
! width="200pt"|Discount
 +
! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.voltaicsystems.com/index.shtml Voltaic Systems]
 +
| Solar Powered Backpacks
 +
| 30% off
 +
| Write to sales@voltaicsystems.com for the discount code (peacecorps30) or call 877.304.6861 ext. 701 Emailed sales@voltaicsystems.com on 3/25/15 and got a code (PCV30) for 30% off to use at checkout. They just ask to show them how you are using the product via social media/email.
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.freeplayenergy.com/products/aiddev/scout Freeplay Energy]
 +
| Scout shortwave radio
 +
| discount price $25 plus shipping
 +
| contact Penny Thornton 866-526-2826 (1/11/11 I called and the Scout has been discontinued and Penny Thornton no longer works there. They did offer the Eyemax as somewhat comparable and at a small discount) Update: 5/5/2013- A rep told me they are no longer offering this discount in the US.
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.etoncorp.com/ Eton]
 +
| shortwave radios
 +
| 20% off
 +
| Call 1-800-872-2228 (6/17/11 - called and says they only give discounts to retailers) (7-28-2011 gave me 50% off plus the cost of shipping)
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.sollight.com/ Sollight]
 +
| Solar powered water bottle caps turn your bottle into a lantern
 +
| 40%
 +
| Email orders@sollight.com and ask nicely
 +
(I didn't get a reply at that address. I e-mailed info@sollight and immediately got a code for a 25% discount. 5/14/13)
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.solio.com Solio]
 +
| Universal solar power charger
 +
| 40%
 +
| Use coupon code "PEACECORPS40"
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.goenerplex.com EnerPlex]
 +
| Solar Chargers, Powerbanks, Solar Backpacks
 +
| 25% off
 +
| Use coupon code "PeaceCorps2015". (10/7/2014)
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.goalzero.com Goal Zero]
 +
| Solar power chargers
 +
| 5%
 +
| Told me they do offer a discount for Peace Corp volunteers. "It is a 5% discount and all you'll need to do is send us your acceptance letter to support@goalzero.com and we can place your order over the phone and apply that 5% discount." (Feb 2014)
 +
30% off via promotive.com. (May 2015)
 +
|-
 +
| [http://store.apple.com Apple]
 +
| Electronics
 +
| 5-6%
 +
| Use their government pricing program. Need original copy of your invite.  Called Apple on 7/16/2013 and they no longer give governmental discounts...  Went to Apple store 9/12/13, told my story and showed my invite email, discounts apply to computers only. $50 off computers and $66 off 3 year warranty.
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.dell.com/epp Dell]
 +
| Electronics
 +
| 10-30% (depends on product)
 +
| www.dell.com/epp; member ID GS83510340
 +
|}
  
We filed a FOIA request for any documents at the Peace Corps that explained the change in methodology and the Peace Corps reported that there were none.  In 2011 we filed another FOIA request and were able to secure the accurate Early Termination rates and published them country-by-country on Wiki. We found that there are 35 countries where the Early Termination rates have exceeded 40%. With this data now public, the Peace Corps no longer mentions Early Termination rates in its Performance and Results Act reports. In publishing the accurate date, we seek to empower applicants to make choices and put pressure on the Peace Corps to reform the country programs with the highest Early Termination rates.
+
===Food and Drinks===
  
===Country by Country Volunteer Surveys===
+
{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
 +
|-
 +
! width="200pt"|Company
 +
! width="200pt"|Type
 +
! width="200pt"|Discount
 +
! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.facebook.com/riseupcoffee Rise Up Coffee]
 +
| Organic Coffee
 +
| " Rise Up Coffee will send our coffee to any current PCV's for FREE!!!" 
 +
| "Simply contact us through [http://www.facebook.com/riseupcoffee FB] or email info@drinkorganiccoffee.com ... and wait for your organic coffee to show up (which, depending on where you are, could take some time!)." <br>(Owner Tim Cureton, PC Kiribati 98-01) As of March 25 2014, after many attempts of contacting someone at the company, they said this is a one time opportunity. Also they are really busy and said it might or might not happen. It is worth a shot but not a guarantee. Perhaps it will change in the future. It is a great company. <br>
 +
[http://drinkorganiccoffee.blogspot.com/2010/03/free-coffee-to-any-peace-corps.html More Info]
 +
|-
 +
|}
  
In 2009 we secured copies of the country-by-country breakouts of the 2008 Peace Corps surveys of the Volunteers and published them on Peace Corps Wiki in a spread sheet so the applicants could compare the countries against each other. This was to empower applicants to make choices and put pressure on the Peace Corps to reform the poorly ranked programs. We interpreted the surveys to indicate that about 15 country programs were well-managed. Because the Peace Corps refuses to publish the country-by-country survey breakouts, it does not use them to identify the troubled programs in need of fundamental reform.
+
===Medical===
  
===Political Appointees===
+
{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
 +
|-
 +
! width="200pt"|Company
 +
! width="200pt"|Type
 +
! width="200pt"|Discount
 +
! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.usa-icd.org/information/peace-corps/index.htm USA-ICD]
 +
| Dental (Applicants)
 +
| "volunteering to provide a dental examination and x-rays for Peace Corps applicants at no charge" (read [http://www.usa-icd.org/projects/peace-corps/index.htm more...])
 +
| "The applicant will bring a Peace Corps dental examination form to the appointment." (Available [[Forms | here]])
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2009/november/story19697.html Michigan Tech]
 +
|  Medical exams and lab tests required by Peace Corps, for Master's International students
 +
| "The health care provider will offer PCMI students at Michigan Tech a 20 percent discount on any balance they owe after insurance payments for exams and tests required by the Peace Corps, plus an additional 10 percent prompt-pay discount, for a total discount of 30 percent."
 +
| [http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2009/november/story19697.html press release]
 +
|-
 +
|}
  
We learned that the Peace Corps has the highest number of slots for [[Peace_Corps_Political_Appointees|political appointees]] per capita of any agency in the Federal government and that it has been a dumping ground for the political well-connected.
+
===Personal Products===
  
===Transfer of Authority to Investigate Crimes Away from Inspector General===
+
{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
 +
|-
 +
! width="200pt"|Company
 +
! width="200pt"|Type
 +
! width="200pt"|Discount
 +
! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.lunapads.com/ Lunapads.com]
 +
| The Diva Cup, washable menstrual pads
 +
|
 +
10% off any order of $25 or more<br>
 +
|
 +
enter "PEACECORPS15" in promotion code box <br>
 +
The code is updated yearly so change the numbers on the end to match the year you are ordering in.
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.rockshaving.com/ Rock Shaving]
 +
| Rock Shaving, travel friendly double edge razors which use blades available worldwide.
 +
|
 +
5% off<br>
 +
|
 +
Enter code "PEACECORPS" at checkout.
 +
|-
 +
| [www.healthdesigns.com/ Health Designs]
 +
| Health Designs, a huge variety of products
 +
|
 +
$5USD off your first order
 +
|
 +
Enter code hannahgoesfishing at checkout
 +
|}
  
We learned that the Peace Corps had transferred authority to investigate crimes against Volunteers away from the Peace Corps Inspector General. The motive was that the Peace Corps IG took these investigations seriously and sought to prosecute the perpetrators, which prolonged the bad publicity arising from these crimes. We later learned that after the Kate Puzey murder the Peace Corps had waited two months before sending anyone to Benin to investigate the case and then sent two auditors who had no experience investigating crime scenes. Because the investigation was botched, the Country Director in Benin has informed Volunteers in Benin that that the Peace Corps staff who perpetrated the murder will be released for lack of evidence against them. Director Aaron Williams was aware of this when he testified at the May 2011 hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee but failed to mention these developments.
+
===Shoes===
  
===Gutting Reform from Congressional Bill===
+
{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
 +
|-
 +
! width="200pt"|Company
 +
! width="200pt"|Type
 +
! width="200pt"|Discount
 +
! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 +
|-
 +
| [http://XeroShoes.com/ Xero Shoes]
 +
| Lightweight performance sandals
 +
| 20% discount
 +
| Request promo code by providing proof of service. Call 800.499.8880 or email support@xeroshoes.com
 +
|-
 +
| [https://www.lunasandals.com/ Luna Sandals]
 +
| Footwear
 +
| 15% discount
 +
| Use code "PeaceCorpsRules1515" when ordering
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.keenfootwear.com/ Keen]
 +
| Footwear
 +
| 30% off up to 4 pair(s) of shoes, 2 bag(s), 4 pair(s) of socks, 3 items of clothing
 +
| Must request promo code [http://pro.keenfootwear.com/pro/code.aspx here]; confirmed 03/2015
 +
|-
 +
| [http://chacousa.com/ Chaco]
 +
| Footwear
 +
| 40% off
 +
| [http://www.merrell.com/US/en/pro] - They also require proof of service which can be faxed to 1-888-746-3329 or emailed, call the number on the prodeal site to find out where. 11/28/13 - Allowed up to 4 pairs per YEAR (not service) at approx 40% off. 9/1/14 - Each account allows for 8 items to be purchased each year (account seems to only be valid for 1 year).
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.merrell.com/ Merrell]
 +
| Footwear
 +
| 40% off
 +
|www.merrellprodeal.com
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.teva.com/ Teva]
 +
[http://www.simpleshoes.com/ Simple Shoes]
 +
| Footwear
 +
| 50% off
 +
| Must apply at <www.teva.com/pro> for all Teva Pro discounts (verified 04/07/2015). Proof of acceptance needed. To request a code for Simple Shoes, be sure to mention this in your request email. Worked 5/8/13- received code for 50% off up to 4 pairs of shoes (if purchased as part of a single order). ATTENTION: Sadly Simple shoes is no more. They can only be found on zappos now.
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.backcountry.com/ Backcountry.com]
 +
| All the Best Outdoor Gear! We got lots of shoe too!
 +
| Variable depending on product (average 20%-30%)
 +
| Email: mcorey@backcountry.com and provide verification (acceptance letter, follow up email from recruiting officer, or PC ID)if emails are not sent to above email response may be delayed. Note emails responses are sent Mon.-Fri. 
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.wolverine.com/ Wolverine]
 +
| Footwear
 +
| unsure but there is a discount
 +
|http://www.wolverineprodeal.com/
 +
|-
 +
|}
  
Senator Dodd told us that he'd reintroduce his 2007 bill at the start of the new Congress in 2009, but the Peace Corps persuaded him to gut the bill and require that the Peace Corps publish only a comprehensive report. The new Dodd bill contained no substantive commandments, no empowerment of Volunteers, no mandate for reform. In his 2009 bill Dodd explicitly directed the Peace Corps to address the Whistle Blower issues in the report.
+
===Sporting Goods===
  
In July of 2009 we published a comprehensive Peace Corps reform report. It’s posted on the Peace Corps Wiki. It analyzed the 2008 surveys, the high Early Termination rates, the Peace Corps' failure to organize effectively as an agency of development, and, for the first time, exposed how the Peace Corps de-emphasizes investigations of crimes against Volunteers. It included affidavits from Volunteers in nearly 30 countries testifying about the mismanagement at the Peace Corps. We sent the report to every Peace Corps staffer but not a single one got back to us with any comments or reaction.
+
{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
 +
|-
 +
! width="200pt"|Company
 +
! width="200pt"|Type
 +
! width="200pt"|Discount
 +
! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 +
|-
 +
| [http://www.discraft.com/ Discraft.com]
 +
| Ultimate frisbee discs
 +
|
 +
Up to 10 free discs, only pay shipping costs<br>
 +
|
 +
For more information contact Discraft [http://www.discraft.com/contact10.html here.]
  
In response to the new Dodd bill, in June 2010 the Peace Corps published its "comprehensive assessment" of itself. It was a white wash that addressed none of the issues raised in the 2007 Dodd bill or hearing or our mega reform report. Shockingly, in its report the Peace Corps refused even to assess Whistle Blower mechanisms – ignoring Senator Dodd’s explicit request that it do so. This is more than a year after Kate was murdered because she was a Whistle Blower.
+
|-
 +
|}
  
===NPCA's Expansion campaign===
+
===Travel===
  
In 2009-10 we lobbied against NPCA’s expansion campaign and in favor of a focus on quality and reform. We proposed budgets for reform and quality to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. We got nowhere because of the NPCA/Quigley expansion campaign.
+
{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
 +
|-
 +
! width="200pt"|Company
 +
! width="200pt"|Type
 +
! width="200pt"|Discount
 +
! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 +
|-
 +
| [https://www.cwtsatotravel.com/ Sato Travel]
 +
| airline, hotel, train and car reservations
 +
| "managing travel for U.S. military and government clients."
 +
| [PCVs] "can use our SatoVacation Center for personal travel being paid for on a personal credit card." <br>
 +
Peace Corps account info [https://www.cwtsatotravel.com/traveler_info/contactInfo.aspx?cid=1154 here]
 +
|-
 +
|}
  
Through FOIA we found that, contrary to the campaign’s claims, Peace Corps has no surplus of applicants to fuel expansion: 97-98% of the applicants who survive the medical screening process are invited to training. There is no selectivity.
+
===Other===
  
We filed a FOIA request for the list of “20 countries” shovel-ready for Peace Corps programs – another of the expansion campaign’s claims – but the Peace Corps refused to provide any such list. We argued that with a worldwide Early Termination rate of 35%, it was fair to say that the Peace Corps was already wasting about 1/3 of its budget. To expand the number of Volunteers without addressing the root causes of the high Early Termination rates would yield a costly and scandalous treadmill of new trainees and early quitters.
+
{| class="wikitable" border="1" style="text-align:center"
 +
|-
 +
! width="200pt"|Company
 +
! width="200pt"|Type
 +
! width="200pt"|Discount
 +
! width="200pt"|Notes / Procedures
 +
|-
 +
|[http://www.cardsagainsthumanity.com/ Cards Against Humanity]
 +
|"A party game for horrible people." Like Apples to Apples, but completely inappropriate.
 +
|Free set of CAH sent to you any address in the US. They stopped sending to posts because too many got lost on the way there.
 +
|Technically for active military, but they've been kind enough to send to PCVs.
 +
|E-mail Mail@CardsAgainstHumanity.com and ask nicely.
 +
|-
 +
|}
  
===20/20 Expose on Kate Puzey Murder===
+
==No discounts==
 
+
* [http://www.llbean.com/ LL Bean]
In 2010 we became involved in the 20/20 expose that aired on January 14, 2011 about the Kate Puzey murder and the mistreatment of Volunteers who had been raped or sexually assaulted. 20/20 took a two-hour tape of our views. We had emphasized that a Peace Corps staffer murdered Kate Puzey because she was a Whistle Blower who had exposed his misdeeds and that the Peace Corps had killed the Dodd bill Whistle Blower protections. Our interview was expunged from the program that aired.
+
* [http://www.target.com/ Target]
 
+
* [http://www.prana.com/ prAna]
It was not a coincidence that the first Peace Corps rules for Whistle Blower rights for Volunteers were issued on January 14, 2011, the date of the 20/20 expose on the murder in Benin and on rapes of Volunteers. We analyzed the rules and found them confusing, filled with loopholes, and not well designed to protect Volunteer Whistle Blowers: our analysis is posted on Wiki. To this day Peace Corps staff have no Whistle Blower rights.
+
* [http://www.crocs.com/ Crocs]
 
+
* [http://www.rei.com/ REI]
Since the rules were promulgated, we have documented a case where the Peace Corps has clearly violated the new rules and terminated the service of Volunteer Whistle Blowers – retaliation against them for blowing the whistle. We also have documented a case where staff Whistle Blowers have been fired.
+
* [http://www.smartwool.com/ Smartwool Socks]
 
+
* [http://www.arcteryx.com/ Arc'teryx]
We were deeply involved in the planning for the May 2011 hearings of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in response to the 20/20 program. We were invited to testify but then our invitation to testify was cancelled. Nonetheless, we submitted testimony for the hearing, which is posted on Wiki.
+
* [http://www.ems.com/ Eastern Mountain Sports]
 
+
* [http://www.patagonia.com/ Patagonia]
After the hearing we lobbied Members and outsiders who were drafting the reform bill – as their response to the 20/20 scandal – to resurrect the tough and comprehensive provisions of the 2007 Dodd bill. Sadly, the sponsors insisted on negotiating the bill with the Peace Corps to ensure that it would “hurt the Peace Corps.” The Peace Corps remained adamantly opposed to reform, and as a result, only one provision from the 2007 Dodd bill was included (surveys of the Volunteers). The Kate Puzey Act became law in November 2011. It’s a weak version of the 2007 Dodd bill.
+
* [http://www.ospreypacks.com/ Osprey]
 
+
* [http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/ Vibram FiveFingers]
===Peace Corps Mall Monument===
+
* [http://www.timberland.com/ Timberland]
 
+
* [http://www.tigerdirect.com/ Tiger Direct]
Chuck came out publicly against the Peace Corps Mall monument in August 2011 because it would undermine our campaign for reform. From his service on the NPCA Board, he knew that the monument proposal was designed to support the expansion campaign and undermine Hill oversight. Quigley had Chuck ejected from the Board of NPCA for opposing the monument, even though Chuck had been elected by NPCA members.
+
* [http://www.redwingshoes.com/ Red Wing Shoes]
 
+
* [http://www.amazon.com/ Amazon] - but check with your country; some sites give Volunteers the option of getting a Kindle containing their training materials
===Denial of Country by Country Surveys===
+
[[Category:resources]]
 
+
Even though in 2009 the Peace Corps had acknowledged that the Volunteer surveys and the country-by-country breakouts of these surveys are subject to production under FOIA, the Peace Corps has recently denied our FOIA request for the 2009-11 surveys. We found a law firm to file a FOIA lawsuit for us pro bono. We understand that the Peace Corps will not settle the case. We are confident that we’ll win the case; when we secure the country-by-country breakouts, we’ll post hem on Peace Corps Wiki in a spread sheet so applicants can rank the countries.
+
 
+
===Lack of Investigative Coverage===
+
Throughout these years of efforts we have met with many reporters urging them to write accurate and penetrating reports on the Peace Corps. Some of them end up writing puff pieces, while others never publish anything, perhaps deciding that reform they don’t want to write critically about an American Icon or that the reform story is too complicated. The NPCA remains implacably opposed to reform. The only good news is that the budget squeeze has killed the Peace Corps expansion campaign.
+
 
+
 
+
== Agenda for Reform ==
+
 
+
 
+
So, where do we go from here? Here are our recommendations:
+
 
+
The Peace Corps must abandon its decades-long quest to expand the Peace Corps and focus instead on improving the quality of the Volunteer experience. If this leads to a smaller Peace Corps, as it inevitably will, this is the right outcome. The insane quest for quantity is killing the Peace Corps; improving quality might save it.
+
 
+
The Peace Corps should dramatically expand its Peace Corps Response program. This program places Returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) in specific, well-designed jobs with high expectations for achieving results. The Response program is the model for the Peace Corps going forward. It focuses on quality in ways that the regular Peace Corps does not.
+
 
+
It has become clear that the Peace Corps model of service – an expensive top-down government bureaucracy – is a 1960’s approach that is out-of-date and ineffective. Just as VISTA morphed into AmeriCorps, which places Volunteers with NGOs at a fraction of the cost of VISTA, a good portion of the Peace Corps budget should morph into Volunteers for Prosperity, which would place Volunteers internationally with NGOs at a fraction of the cost of the Peace Corps. VfP has the potential to become a decentralized, non-bureaucratic, bottom-up, and cost-effective version of the Peace Corps. With VfP the NGOs become the counter-parts for the Volunteers, which enhances the prospects that the service of the Volunteers will achieve sustainable results.
+
 
+
The VfP authorizing statute needs to be amended to make it a full-blown alternative and competitor to the Peace Corps model and it should be managed by the Peace Corps, not US AID, which has no interest in VfP. This reorientation, along with the expansion of Peace Corps Response, will enable the US government to support many more international Volunteers, avoid the harsh and ineffective results that come with the Peace Corps bureaucracy, and lead to more sustainable results.
+
 
+
The regular Peace Corps must enable and encourage Volunteers to enter into more partnerships with NGOs and USAID. For decades the Peace Corps has pursued a go-it-alone approach that squanders the advantages that come with these partnerships. Where appropriate, the Volunteers should be placed inside NGOs, especially local NGOs. Placements with well-managed NGOs is the best approach to sustainable development.
+
 
+
The Peace Corps should make First Goal grassroots development its paramount objective. Today’s Volunteers want a job, and an opportunity to achieve sustainable results. The egregiously high Early Termination rates are due in large part to the failure of the Peace Corps to give Volunteers meaningful jobs. When Volunteers don’t have well-crafted assignments, and strong relationships with local counterparts, they gravitate to the district centers and the capital, where they carouse and take risks. The way to keep them in their villages, where they are far safer, is to give them powerful reasons to stay there.
+
 
+
The Peace Corps must document successful and unsuccessful projects and develop hundreds of Best Practices Guides for Volunteers. The failure of the Peace Corps to do this over the past 50 years has, in effect, squandered the learning of 200,000 Volunteers.
+
 
+
When the Peace Corps identifies an exceptionally successful development strategy, it should take this strategy to scale in multiple countries. That the Peace Corps has never done this represents a egregious and catastrophic failure.
+
 
+
The Peace Corps should develop site-by-site strategies where it documents every project pursued at a given site and charts a “next steps” strategy for subsequent Volunteers. Volunteers going to a site where Volunteers have served before must be given a detailed dossier on the site and information about everything that has been tried there, with recommendations on the appropriate next steps.
+
 
+
Volunteers should each be given a $1000 account to draw on during their service to reimburse them for project-related expenses. This was a commandment of the 2007 Dodd bill.
+
 
+
Volunteers should be permitted to solicit contributions for demonstration projects from persons personally known to them, including family members, friends, and members of their home community in the United States, and from government and nongovernmental agencies, including, but not limited to working through the Peace Corps Partnership Program. This was also a commandment of the 2007 Dodd bill.
+
 
+
The Peace Corps should move towards requiring that Volunteers have at least five years of experience before they serve as Volunteers, the standard set by VSO, the British volunteer agency.
+
 
+
The Peace Corps should become selective and invite no more than 1/3 of the number of applicants who survive the medical screening process instead of 97-98% of them. Teach for America invites 1/8 of its applicants to serve. If this selectivity leads to a substantial downsizing of the Volunteer corps, it’s the right result. Being more selective should help to reduce the Early Termination rates.
+
 
+
The Peace Corps should be much more transparent with applicants. It must give them the country-by-country break outs of the Volunteer surveys so that they can see how the country to which they have been invited to serve ranks against the others on each question. We will continue to prosecute our FOIA lawsuit to secure the country-by-country breakouts of the 2009-10 and subsequent surveys of the Volunteers and post them on line for the benefit of applicants. We want applicants to be able to rank the countries before they decide whether or not to accept an invitation to serve. We hope that the Peace Corps will find it difficult to place Volunteers in the worst managed countries because this will put pressure on the Peace Corps to reform these programs.
+
 
+
The new Peace Corps reform legislation calls on the Peace Corps to conduct this type of surveys of the Volunteers. These surveys, which are fundamentally the same as the previous surveys, should be made public on a country-by-country basis and given to applicants. Again, we want applicants to be able to rank the countries on each question before they decide whether or not to accept an invitation to serve. We hope that the Peace Corps will find it difficult to place Volunteers in the worst managed countries because this will put pressure on the Peace Corps to reform these programs.
+
 
+
We urge Volunteers in each country to use this opportunity to provide specific and forceful comments on the quality of their managers, the programs, the training, site development and support. Basically we urge the Volunteers to organize themselves – much as unions do – to demand change.
+
 
+
Applicants should also be given the country-by-country Early Termination rates. This will give them useful information in determining whether or not to accept an invitation to serve. We want applicants to be able to rank the countries before they decide whether or not to accept an invitation to serve. We hope that the Peace Corps will find it difficult to place Volunteers in the countries with the highest Early Termination rates because this will put pressure on the Peace Corps to reform these programs.
+
 
+
The Peace Corps should divulge – especially to applicants and the Congressional Appropriations Committees – accurate data regarding the Early Termination rates of Volunteers. This means it must present Early Termination rates that measure the percentage of Volunteers who complete and do not complete their service – the cohort rates.
+
 
+
The Peace Corps should set as a paramount goal reduction of the worldwide Early Termination rates to less than 20% and it must launch a major reform intervention in any country where the rate exceeds 30%. This will lead to reforms in selection, training, site preparation, counterpart recruitment, program design, program support, and medical support.
+
 
+
The Peace Corps should shutter the 25 worst managed country programs, especially the ones with the highest Early Termination rates and poorest survey results.
+
 
+
The Peace Corps should set metrics for Volunteer performance as development agents. It should review their performance and in cases where the Volunteers are clearly not devoting themselves to their work as Volunteers, the Peace Corps should send them home. Entirely too many Volunteers are “hanging out” in the Peace Corps, not spending substantial time in their villages, not becoming proficient in the local languages, and not achieving sustainable results.
+
 
+
Headquarters staff should be substantially reduced – cut by at least 25% – and the savings distributed among the country programs. Paperwork requirements imposed on country staff should also be cut drastically – by at least 50%.
+
 
+
Associate Peace Corps Directors should supervise no more than 30 Volunteer and Medical Officers should manage the medical care for no more than 40 Volunteers.
+
 
+
The 5-year rule should be repealed. In its place staff should be given 5-year contracts that can be renewed indefinitely. This will enable the Peace Corps to retain the best staff and not be bound to keep the worst. In practice the 5-year rule often leads staff to begin to look for a new job 2 to 2 ½ years into their contract. The constant turnover creates chaos. It also means that the civilian staff cannot stand up to the dysfunction of the political appointees.
+
 
+
Peace Corps staff should be given the same personnel rights as Foreign Service Personnel under 22 USC 3905. Today staff, including staff Whistle Blowers, can be fired without due process.
+
 
+
Peace Corps staff should be given pay and cost of living, and “hardship post” benefits on a par with the Embassy staff. This same parity should apply to home leave and professional development benefits.
+
 
+
We should drastically limit the number of political appointees at the Peace Corps.
+
 
+
The selection of Country Directors must become much more transparent and the Peace Corps should adopt procedures that prevent political considerations from influencing the choices.
+
The Peace Corps should comply with the FOIA commandments. If the Peace Corps has not responded to a FOIA request within the statutory deadline, the agency should be prohibited from withholding any portion of the records under "discretionary" authority and the agency shall be required to release it. Also, the Peace Corps should not charge requesters any fees for any FOIA request which is not answered within the statutory time limits. And it should publish on line all information that it has supplied to the public in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. Both Michael Sheppard and Will Dickinson of Wiki have performed brilliantly in utilizing FOIA to pry open the secrets of the Peace Corps.
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We need to secure permanent funding of Peace Corps Wiki so that it can continue to serve as the beacon for Peace Corps reform. Without the Wiki we will never be able to secure reform at the Peace Corps.
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The Peace Corps should publish the Medical Screening Guidelines on line to make the selection process more transparent. Even though in 2005 it provided these Guidelines to us under FOIA, it has recently denied a FOIA request for the updated guidelines.
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The Peace Corps should again authorize its Inspector General to take the lead in investigating crimes against Volunteers or staff. The Peace Corps should be forced annually to issue a detailed report on the status of investigations of crimes against Volunteers and staff and prosecutions of alleged perpetrators.
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The Peace Corps should comply with the Administrative Procedure Act (e.g. permitting interested parties the opportunity to comment) in promulgating rules, manual amendments, and similar guidances. Within one year it should publish all existing rules for public comment.
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The Peace Corps should establish a system for promoting, by electronic means, improved communication among Peace Corps volunteers and staff, including the establishment of websites and e-mail links for use on a password-only basis by Peace Corps Volunteers in country to discuss development strategies, funding sources, best practices guides, Peace Corps management practices and policies, and other issues. (The Peace Corps might oppose this because it enables Volunteers to organize for reform and hold Peace Corps staff accountable.) Such websites need an alumni section for returned Volunteers with an interest and experience in supporting Volunteer goals and programs, and this section would be integrated into the larger system accessible to all Volunteers.  All close of service reports shall be available on such websites or e-mail links.
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When it comes to Volunteer health, the Peace Corps should not cut corners. The Peace Corps should discontinue use of Lariam as a malaria prophylaxis because of its high and troubling history of side effects. Instead it should use Malarone or Cortem. It does not switch because these newer products cost more than Lariam.
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The members of the National Peace Corps Association must demand that the Association  support reform, hold the Peace Corps staff accountable, and champion empowerment of Volunteers.
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Realistically, we will not secure fundamental reform at the Peace Corps until it is led by someone who understands and embraces reform. It is clear that Aaron Williams does not support and will not implement fundamental reforms.
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Our reform effort has focused largely on enacting reforms into law. We have done this because we do not believe that the Peace Corps will embrace reform unless Congress forces it to do so. Only if reforms are enacted into law do they become permanent. Also, because Chuck worked as staff on Capitol Hill over a 40-year period, we are familiar and comfortable with the legislative process. The 20/20 expose presented an existential challenge to the Peace Corps and led to the enactment of a few reforms, but overall a major opportunity to enact reforms was lost. So, it is unlikely that the Congress will enact another reform bill any time soon unless additional scandals on the scale of those exposed by 20/20 come to light. This means that the main reform thrust must come from pressure from applicants and current Volunteers.
+
 
+
 
+
 
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== Summary Observations ==
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+
 
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For sight years we have pressed for fundamental reform, focusing on empowering the Volunteers, improving quality rather than increasing quantity, and improving First Goal performance. We are championing a more transparent and accountable Peace Corps. Because we are prominent critics of the Peace Corps, we continue to receive many sad and outrageous reports from Volunteers about the pervasive mismanagement at the agency. At all times we’ve been constructive in our criticism and proposed reforms. We have not engaged in Ad Hominem attacks on individuals.
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We see nothing at the Peace Corps that indicates that it is focusing on quality rather than quantity, organizing itself effectively for First Goal accomplishments, or empowering the Volunteers. We see a secretive agency, extremely risk averse, lacking any clear sense of its mission. It’s a defensive, rule-bound agency mired in paperwork and obfuscation. We see widespread malaise, debilitating high early quit rates, and a sparse record of accomplishments. The agency continues to misrepresent the Early Termination rates, remains intentionally opaque with applicants (e.g. refusing to give applicants the country-by-country Early Termination rates and survey results), and minimizing the dysfunction in the agency in its annual performance reports. The highest priority of the Peace Corps remains to avoid bad publicity.
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Overall, we need to overhaul the culture of the Peace Corps so that it respects and empowers the Volunteers. The service of the Volunteers is the only way the Peace Corps can accomplish anything. That the Peace Corps is unable to focus on its own culture is a sad commentary on its failure to fashion a program that assists other cultures.
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We have not once been invited to meet with the Peace Corps to discuss any of these issues.  The culture of the Peace Corps has not changed with the Obama Administration.
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It is clear that the Peace Corps remains adamantly opposed to reform or any suggestion of a need for reform. To admit that reform is needed would generate bad publicity for an agency that believes that it is sacrosanct and can do no wrong. The agency remains impenetrable and monolithic. The Iron Law of Bureaucracy reigns supreme at the Peace Corps; the imperatives of the bureaucrats trump the agency’s mission.
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Individual Volunteers accomplish great things but they will say that this is in spite of the bureaucracy. Volunteers know to “fly under the radar” to avoid becoming a target. We’ve heard this same phraseology innumerable times.
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We have campaigned for Peace Corps reform because we love the ideals of the Peace Corps. That bureaucrats are crushing the idealism of thousands of Volunteers is sad and outrageous. We have no desire to damage the Peace Corps. We seek to enhance its effectiveness and to get back to the ideals upon which it was founded.
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We will continue our reform effort. We know that thousands of dedicated Volunteers and staff as well are seeking to make the Peace Corps ideals a reality.
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We invite Peace Corps Wiki users to join the discussion, to comment on our reform efforts, and especially to press the Peace Corps for fundamental reform. Without a dedicated corps of reformers, we cannot go forward with this effort.
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This is our history and these are our recommendations.  We do not assume that we have all of the answers for the Peace Corps or have followed the best strategy in pursuing reform. We are sure that some will take issue with some of them and offer others. We invite comments on our reform activities and our proposed agenda.
+
 
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Thanks.
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Chuck Ludlam and Paula Hirschoff
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Peace Corps Nepal (68-70)(Chuck)
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Peace Corps Kenya (68-70)(Paula)
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Peace Corps Senegal (05-07)(Chuck and Paula)
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==Sources:==
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*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Reform_Plan_Ludlam_Hirschoff
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Revision as of 19:23, 22 June 2015

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Confirmed Discounts

Camping and Travel Gear

Clothing

Company Type Discount Notes / Procedures
Tortuga Backpacks Urban travel backpacks 20% off for Peace Corps volunteers Email them and provide verification (acceptance letter, follow up email from recruiting officer, or PC ID).
MHM Amazing packs!! You want to get one :) Peace Corps Deal 25% (cannot combine with sale items) Contact them via their website (www.mhmgear.com) or Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/mhmgear) and provide verification (acceptance letter, follow up email from recruiting officer, or PC ID) You will receive a friendly quick response, the guys are super cool. (8/2013)
Kelty Backpacks, camping gear, sleeping bags, more 40% off via pro deal - http://www.kelty.com/pro.aspx (4/1/2015)
Klymit Sleeping bags, pads, and other camping gear 40% off for Peace Corps Volunteers. Just e-mail support@klymit.com and let them know you are a volunteer! You'll receive a coupon code to use on www.klymit.com after providing verification.
Trek Light Gear Hammocks, Bug Nets, Ultralight Backpacks, more 20% Off! (not valid on sale items)

(Up to 40% off for group orders 10 or more - contact your fellow PCV's!)

Just contact TLG and you'll get a response ASAP to get your discount (you'll be asked to provide easy verification). For more information on how Trek Light has helped helped PCV's in the past, check out the post Hammocks For The Peace Corps. If you're already stationed Trek Light can easily ship international. TLG has been a huge supporter of PCV's so please support them back, their Bindle daypack and hammocks are essentials on your trip! (Current thru 2015)
Marmot Outdoor gear Marmot offers a Professional Courtesy Program to Peace Corps Volunteers. Discount may vary by product but is substantial. Selection is limited compared to regular online site (some products may be "out of stock," but you can request them). 10/31/14: Pro Account accepted, and discount is 50%.- 12/16/14 the discount is up to 50% off however it ranges more so around 42-45% off depending on the gear Apply for the program here, you should hear back within a couple business days. (verified 04/07/2015)
Coleman Outdoor gear Coleman offers a discounted pricing program for non-profit groups. Discount varies by product. must order for delivery in the states Email their customer service department here and ask if they provide discounts to Peace Corps volunteers. 12/12/11- Customer Service replied to my question saying they do not offer discounts to Peace Corps volunteers 1/13/14 - emailed customer service and attached invitation letter. Received promo code for 30%
Cascade Designs (MSR, Thermarest, Seal Line, Platypus, Tracks) Outdoor Gear approximately 30% UPDATED 2/2/15: Simply apply online here - https://www.cascadedesigns.com/pro. Peace Corps are allowed to use a home address as the registered shipping address, since they only ship items to the United States. 11/28/11: please email before submitting a registration. 09/2014- Still available!
Eagle Creek Travel Gear 30-50% Ask to join the Pro-Deal go to proshop.eaglecreek.com to apply for discount. 04/01/15- 50% discount.
ENO Hammocks, Rain tarps, Stuff sacks 10% Email Customer Service
Hennessy Hammock Camping Hammocks 50%. Must order at least ten at a time (talk to other PCVs to put together bulk order). They will ship internationally.
 40% If order individually
Email Customer Service. This is a small company and they were really excited about this pro-deal. 2/19/11 just emailed and they confirmed 50% discount. No mention of a requirement to purchase 10 at a time.
Timbuk2 Messenger bags, backpacks, and laptop bags You get the "prodeal" 30% discount when you sign up. sign up here(I tried this and never got a response. I sent many emails and only part were returned. This did not work for me April 2011. Update: The pro deal website didn't work for me either, so I emailed the Customer Support. I got a quick friendly response from CS and they gave me a code for a single use as their pro deal website was down (April 12, 2011). 2/1/14 - pro deals all go through promotive. Apply online to [1] to save 30%
Backcountry.com All the Best Outdoor Gear! Variable depending on product (average 20%-30%) Email: mcorey@backcountry.com and provide verification (acceptance letter, follow up email from recruiting officer, or PC ID)if emails are not sent to above email response may be delayed. Note emails responses are sent Mon.-Fri. You will receive a friendly quick response. (6/2015)
Eastern Mountain Sports Outdoor Gear, Clothing 20% off retail price. In stores only: ask for the "humanitarian discount." You will get 20% off your entire purchase. **(UPDATE AS OF 6/25/2014--Don't give the humanitarian discount anymore, but if you explain you're going into PC, they'll give you the student discount of 15% !)
Samsonite Luggage 10% off retail price. In stores confirmed, unsure online:08/14/2014 at Samsonite outlet store, asked salesperson and he looked it up and told me that they offer 10%. Unsure if this is in all Samsonite stores, or just the outlet stores. Just ask for it !)
Travelon Travel Accessories/Security Bags 25% off Online:08/15/2014 contacted via Facebook and they provided me with a one time use code for 25% off
LuminAid 10% off use code "LuminAIDPeaceCorps" http://thescrubba.com/ Scrubba Wash Bag 10% off for PCVs. Fantastic aid for hand-washing clothing. No mess, easy to pack, durable, and doubles as a dry bag. E-mail and request discount code.
Leatherman + LEDLenser (50% all items, $345 in available discount spending, expires in 6 months) www.leatherman.com/pro, www.ledlenser.com/pro Multi-tools, knives, flashlights, headlamps Apply for pro deal (confirmed 6/22/15)
Company Type Discount Notes / Procedures
Our Talking Hands Unique, high quality, handmade designs fashioned by Deaf Ghanaian Artisans - Founded by a PCV in 2009. Our Talking Hands offers a 20% discount code to all PCVs and RPCVs. Submit your invitation letter or DOS to ourtalkinghands@gmail.com. They will send you a 20% OFF Discount Code that can be used at https://www.etsy.com/shop/OurTalkingHands on any purchase you make!
Ministry of Supply Men's business attire engineered to be adaptable to any situation. 15% off Apollo Dress Shirts, perhaps other discounts available. Submit your invitation letter or DOS to q@ministryofsupply.com and explain your situation and what products you want. They will have you call in to place an order and apply your discount over the phone. (Negotiated by a PCV) 5/25/15: offered combination discounts (buy 2-5 of one thing and get 10-15% off).
Janji Running Apparel that Gives Back 40% off for PCVs and RPCVs, 50% off if you serve in a country that we support. You pay shipping if outside US Email sam.bar@runjanji.com (RPCV Moz '11-'13) a scan of your invitation letter or DOS and he'll send you a discount code
Bluffworks Mens Pants for Work, Travel and Play "Inspired by the performance of technical travel clothing, I built a pant that marries technical performance with office ready looks... I designed these pants to keep up with the rigors of my own life, where work, play, and travel frequently collide." Email the Bluffworks Team at team@bluffworks.com to receive a 20% discount for Peace Corps Volunteers. (Negotiated by PCV)
Marmot Outdoor clothing Marmot offers a Professional Courtesy Program to Peace Corps Volunteers. Discount may vary by product but is substantial. Selection is limited compared to regular online site (some products may be "out of stock," but you can request them). 12/17/14 50% discount on clothing Apply for the program here, you should hear back within a couple business days.
American Eagle Outfitters Men's and Women's Clothing 20% off ALL AEO and Aerie clothing Call customer service (1-888-232-4535)to speak with a customer service rep. 7/25/14: received discount after submitting Peace Corps verification via email. Orders using this discount will have to be placed over the phone, in coordination with a rep.4/4/15: Called and customer service rep said they do not offer any discounts for Peace Corps volunteers.
The North Face Outdoor Clothing The North Face offers a Pro Pricing Program to Peace Corps Volunteers. Discount may vary by product but is substantial. Selection is limited compared to regular online site (some products may be "out of stock," but you can request them). Apply for the program here, you should hear back within a couple business days. **5/11/11: The program is not accepting new applicants. The Pro program is apparently under review for possible termination. 11/28/11: The program is back, but no longer offers discounts to Peace Corps Volunteers. (Policy change-no more discounts)
ExOfficio Outdoor Clothing 20-30% apply online at http://www.exofficio.com/pro **7/20/11: Received a 10% discount, not 50%-60%. 1/7/12: Received a 25% discount: Received a 20% discount on 12/23/13. 09/2014- Discount still stands but only on select items and most of it is out of stock.
Macabi Macabi Skirts $50 per skirt instead of $80 e-mail your acceptance letter
Moosejaw Outdoor gear/clothes 10% off regular prices, 5% off sale prices

Excludes Arc'Teryx, Bugaboo,Burton, Merrell, Nixon,Suunto, The North Face and Western Mountainering products

Use Coupon Code "LTM" (discount did work on 4/26/2011)Code did not work for me but I live-chatted with them and they gave me a weekly code of 15% off (4/23/2014)
Backcountry.com All the Best Outdoor Gear! Variable depending on product (average 20%-30%) Email: mcorey@backcountry.com and provide verification (acceptance letter, follow up email from recruiting officer, or PC ID)if emails are not sent to above email response may be delayed. Note emails responses are sent Mon.-Fri.
Hot Chillys Hot Chillys 10% off Code for Clothing and Socks e-mail sales@hotchillys.com or customer service, ask for a Peace Corps Discount, and provide verification (7/1/13)
Smart Wool Smartwool Smartwool Significant discount on very warm socks and gear. E-mail and request access to their pro deal. You may need to include your invitation letter. They take a while to get back to you.
Ice Breaker Ice Breaker Significant Discount Apply through their promotive site.

Education

School / University Type Benefits Notes / Procedures
Michigan State University Graduate School In-State Tuition for RPCVs Section 3G
Master's International
"more than 60 universities offering 117 different graduate degrees." See list, school dependent See list, school dependent
Fellows/USA
"more than 50 universities." See list, school dependent See list, school dependent
Live Lingua School
"Live Skype lessons in 11 languages. Free Ebooks & Audios for over 90 languages." Live lessons (up to 40% off) Follow instructions on page.

Electronics

Company Type Discount Notes / Procedures
Voltaic Systems Solar Powered Backpacks 30% off Write to sales@voltaicsystems.com for the discount code (peacecorps30) or call 877.304.6861 ext. 701 Emailed sales@voltaicsystems.com on 3/25/15 and got a code (PCV30) for 30% off to use at checkout. They just ask to show them how you are using the product via social media/email.
Freeplay Energy Scout shortwave radio discount price $25 plus shipping contact Penny Thornton 866-526-2826 (1/11/11 I called and the Scout has been discontinued and Penny Thornton no longer works there. They did offer the Eyemax as somewhat comparable and at a small discount) Update: 5/5/2013- A rep told me they are no longer offering this discount in the US.
Eton shortwave radios 20% off Call 1-800-872-2228 (6/17/11 - called and says they only give discounts to retailers) (7-28-2011 gave me 50% off plus the cost of shipping)
Sollight Solar powered water bottle caps turn your bottle into a lantern 40% Email orders@sollight.com and ask nicely

(I didn't get a reply at that address. I e-mailed info@sollight and immediately got a code for a 25% discount. 5/14/13)

Solio Universal solar power charger 40% Use coupon code "PEACECORPS40"
EnerPlex Solar Chargers, Powerbanks, Solar Backpacks 25% off Use coupon code "PeaceCorps2015". (10/7/2014)
Goal Zero Solar power chargers 5% Told me they do offer a discount for Peace Corp volunteers. "It is a 5% discount and all you'll need to do is send us your acceptance letter to support@goalzero.com and we can place your order over the phone and apply that 5% discount." (Feb 2014)

30% off via promotive.com. (May 2015)

Apple Electronics 5-6% Use their government pricing program. Need original copy of your invite. Called Apple on 7/16/2013 and they no longer give governmental discounts... Went to Apple store 9/12/13, told my story and showed my invite email, discounts apply to computers only. $50 off computers and $66 off 3 year warranty.
Dell Electronics 10-30% (depends on product) www.dell.com/epp; member ID GS83510340

Food and Drinks

Company Type Discount Notes / Procedures
Rise Up Coffee Organic Coffee " Rise Up Coffee will send our coffee to any current PCV's for FREE!!!" "Simply contact us through FB or email info@drinkorganiccoffee.com ... and wait for your organic coffee to show up (which, depending on where you are, could take some time!)."
(Owner Tim Cureton, PC Kiribati 98-01) As of March 25 2014, after many attempts of contacting someone at the company, they said this is a one time opportunity. Also they are really busy and said it might or might not happen. It is worth a shot but not a guarantee. Perhaps it will change in the future. It is a great company.

More Info

Medical

Company Type Discount Notes / Procedures
USA-ICD Dental (Applicants) "volunteering to provide a dental examination and x-rays for Peace Corps applicants at no charge" (read more...) "The applicant will bring a Peace Corps dental examination form to the appointment." (Available here)
Michigan Tech Medical exams and lab tests required by Peace Corps, for Master's International students "The health care provider will offer PCMI students at Michigan Tech a 20 percent discount on any balance they owe after insurance payments for exams and tests required by the Peace Corps, plus an additional 10 percent prompt-pay discount, for a total discount of 30 percent." press release

Personal Products

Company Type Discount Notes / Procedures
Lunapads.com The Diva Cup, washable menstrual pads

10% off any order of $25 or more

enter "PEACECORPS15" in promotion code box
The code is updated yearly so change the numbers on the end to match the year you are ordering in.

Rock Shaving Rock Shaving, travel friendly double edge razors which use blades available worldwide.

5% off

Enter code "PEACECORPS" at checkout.

[www.healthdesigns.com/ Health Designs] Health Designs, a huge variety of products

$5USD off your first order

Enter code hannahgoesfishing at checkout

Shoes

Company Type Discount Notes / Procedures
Xero Shoes Lightweight performance sandals 20% discount Request promo code by providing proof of service. Call 800.499.8880 or email support@xeroshoes.com
Luna Sandals Footwear 15% discount Use code "PeaceCorpsRules1515" when ordering
Keen Footwear 30% off up to 4 pair(s) of shoes, 2 bag(s), 4 pair(s) of socks, 3 items of clothing Must request promo code here; confirmed 03/2015
Chaco Footwear 40% off [2] - They also require proof of service which can be faxed to 1-888-746-3329 or emailed, call the number on the prodeal site to find out where. 11/28/13 - Allowed up to 4 pairs per YEAR (not service) at approx 40% off. 9/1/14 - Each account allows for 8 items to be purchased each year (account seems to only be valid for 1 year).
Merrell Footwear 40% off www.merrellprodeal.com
Teva

Simple Shoes

Footwear 50% off Must apply at <www.teva.com/pro> for all Teva Pro discounts (verified 04/07/2015). Proof of acceptance needed. To request a code for Simple Shoes, be sure to mention this in your request email. Worked 5/8/13- received code for 50% off up to 4 pairs of shoes (if purchased as part of a single order). ATTENTION: Sadly Simple shoes is no more. They can only be found on zappos now.
Backcountry.com All the Best Outdoor Gear! We got lots of shoe too! Variable depending on product (average 20%-30%) Email: mcorey@backcountry.com and provide verification (acceptance letter, follow up email from recruiting officer, or PC ID)if emails are not sent to above email response may be delayed. Note emails responses are sent Mon.-Fri.
Wolverine Footwear unsure but there is a discount http://www.wolverineprodeal.com/

Sporting Goods

Company Type Discount Notes / Procedures
Discraft.com Ultimate frisbee discs

Up to 10 free discs, only pay shipping costs

For more information contact Discraft here.

Travel

Company Type Discount Notes / Procedures
Sato Travel airline, hotel, train and car reservations "managing travel for U.S. military and government clients." [PCVs] "can use our SatoVacation Center for personal travel being paid for on a personal credit card."

Peace Corps account info here

Other

Company Type Discount Notes / Procedures
Cards Against Humanity "A party game for horrible people." Like Apples to Apples, but completely inappropriate. Free set of CAH sent to you any address in the US. They stopped sending to posts because too many got lost on the way there. Technically for active military, but they've been kind enough to send to PCVs. E-mail Mail@CardsAgainstHumanity.com and ask nicely.

No discounts