History of the Peace Corps in Ethiopia

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History of the Peace Corps
Since 1960, when then Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries, more than 182,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 138 countries all over the globe.

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Peace Corps/Ethiopia is a very old Peace Corps program. The first group of Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Ethiopia (including present-day Eriteria) in September 1962, with 279 secondary school teachers. Volunteers worked in both secondary and vocational/technical schools, with others working in the health, small business, rural development, law, and agriculture sectors. From 1962 to 1977, Peace Corps/Ethiopia was one of the largest Peace Corps programs in the world. More than 3,000 Volunteers served in the country before Peace Corps terminated the program in 1977 due to the unstable political situation and increased security concerns for Volunteers.

In 1991 the Maxist regime in power since 1974 was overthrown and a new democratic government installed. The new government of Ethiopia requested Peace Corps’ return and in January 1994 a country assessment team recommended Peace Corps’ re-entry into Ethiopia. Peace Corps staff returned in 1994 and in July 1995, 25 Peace Corps Volunteers arrived as secondary school English teachers. Hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea erupted in 1999, forcing the Peace Corps to suspend its operations; the program was officially closed in March 2000.In June 2000 the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace accord, ending the hostilities, but not the conflict. In May 2002 the Peace Corps received an invitation from the government of Ethiopia to resume its program. The agency sent assessment teams to evaluate the feasibility of returning.

These assessment teams recommended Peace Corps’ re-entry to Ethiopia, and, with the availability of resources, the Peace Corps began the re-entry process in January 2007. Forty health Volunteers are scheduled to arrive in September 2007 to work with the people of Ethiopia in their fight against HIV/AIDS.

Future of Peace Corps Programming in Ethiopia

The Peace Corps has been involved in almost every facet of Ethiopia’s development over the past decades, making contributions in the fields of education, health, rural development, and small business development. Its most recent contributions have been in education where Volunteers served in secondary schools in the Amhara and Oromiya regions. They taught English as a foreign language to secondary school students in grades 9–12 and as teacher trainers.

When Volunteers return in 2007, they will concentrate in the field of public health. This initial input of 40 Volunteers will collaborate with other U.S. government partners to support the government of Ethiopia’s strategy to create and strengthen a community- and family-centered HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment network model in the Amhara and Oromiya regions. Given their high population densities and relatively high HIV prevalence, these regions are considered priorities by the government of Ethiopia and the U.S. government. Placements will be in hospitals, regional health centers, village health centers, community organizations, and HIV/AIDS resource centers. Volunteers will help build capacity, and provide quality prevention, care and treatment services.

Assignment History in Ethiopia

Sector Assignment Beg. Yr End. Yr
Agriculture Ag Extension 1971 1971
Animal Husband 1971 1971
Apiculture 1971 1971
Crop Extension 1962 1976
Business Business Advising 1970 2007
Business Development 2007 2007
Computer Science 2007 2007
Cooperatives 1967 1967
NGO Advising 2007 2007
Urban and Regional Planning 2007 2007
Education English Teacher 1964 1998
Library Science 1966 1966
Prim-Ed/Teach Trn 1995 1996
Secondary-Ed Math 1964 1964
Univ. English Teaching 1996 1996
Voc. Trainer 1972 1972
Environment Comm Forestry Ext 1997 1997
Health Envir. and Water Resource 1970 1976
Health Degreed 2007 2007
Health Extension 2007 2007
Other Flexible App 1971 1973
Unique Skill 1995 1996
UNV United Nations Volunteer 1974 1991
Youth and Community Development Commun. Serv/Deg. 2007 2007
Road Const/Engin. 1973 1973
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