History of the Peace Corps in Kiribati

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The Peace Corps presence in what would become the Republic of Kiribati began with the placement of a single Volunteer in 1973. Until 1988 the program was administered from the Peace Corps office in the Solomon Islands. During the early years, the number of Volunteers remained under 10 per year and assignments included a wide variety of projects. The first major expansion occurred in 1979 when the Republic of Kiribati was formed. Twelve health and water sanitation Volunteers began their service that year. Until 1987 Volunteers numbered between 12 and 18, and programming concentrated on education assignments. With the arrival of the first country director in 1988, the Peace Corps established an independently administered post on Tarawa, the capital of the Republic of Kiribati. From 1990 until 1997 about 15 to 20 Volunteers worked as teacher trainers, focusing on outer island primary schools.


History and Future of Peace Corps Programming in Kiribati

The second major expansion occurred in 1997, with the launching of the rural community health promotion project. Twenty-seven trainees arrived in the first group, raising the total number of Volunteers in Kiribati to about 40.

Current Volunteer primary assignments are in education and in health and community development. Volunteers have been assigned to all 18 islands of the Gilbert group. (There are 16 named islands, but Tarawa and Tabiteuea are divided into north and south.)

Most Volunteers are assigned to one of the outer islands. Some limited opportunities exist in the capital on South Tarawa to work at the national government level. These opportunities are best suited to third-year extension Volunteers with previous experience in the outer islands. Two Peace Corps Volunteer leaders (third-year extension Volunteers) are based in South Tarawa where they combine project work with helping to support the current Volunteers in their respective areas.

The government and people of Kiribati have warmly embraced the Peace Corps’ presence in their nation. The work of the Volunteers is requested, accepted, and appreciated. Peace Corps/Kiribati will continue working in the core areas of education and health and community development, but will also explore new opportunities as resources become available.

Assignment History

Sector Assignment Beg. Yr End. Yr
Agriculture Ag Extension 1988 1991
Business Accounting 1992 1992
Business Advising 1984 1998
NGO Advising 2006 2006
Education Art Education 1990 1991
English Teacher 1984 2006
English Teacher Trainer 1991 2007
Gen. Construction 1982 1987
Home Economics 1981 1984
Industrial Arts 1984 1990
Math Teacher Trainer 1995 1998
Prim-Ed/Teach Trn 1990 2007
Science Teacher Trainer 1995 1998
Secondary-Ed Math 1995 1995
Secondary-Ed Sci. 1984 2003
Special Ed/Blind 1991 1991
Voc. Trainer 1984 1990
Health Envir. and Water Resource 2004 2004
Health Extension 1997 2006
Home Econ/Ext. 1981 1981
Hygiene Ed/Sanitation 1982 2001
Other Unique Skill 1989 2005
UNV United Nations Volunteer 1987 2002
Youth and Community Development Appropriate Tech. 1982 1982
Commun. Serv/Deg. 1981 2007
Youth Development 2001 2004
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