History of the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan
|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.
Since the first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in the Kyrgyz Republic in 1993, more than 450 Americans have served in the country. Volunteers have taught English, led sustainable community development projects and built the capacity of organizations throughout the country. The Peace Corps’ programs respond to requests from the government of the Kyrgyz Republic to assist with increasing the level of English competency among its students and teachers and to help communities and civil society organizations develop sustainable community development projects.
Fifty-three dedicated Volunteers were serving in small communities throughout the Kyrgyz Republic when they were evacuated as a precautionary measure following the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Prior to returning Volunteers to the Kyrgyz Republic, the Peace Corps conducted a thorough safety and security review. Part of this work included reviewing the impact of the coalition military base at Manas Airport outside of the capital, Bishkek. The Kyrgyz people and government were very supportive of the Peace Corps, and three Volunteers returned in March 2002 to reopen the program. Today, there are more than 100 Volunteers serving in communities throughout the republic.
History and Future of Peace Corps Programming in the Kyrgyz Republic
Peace Corps/Kyrgyz Republic works in two primary areas:
TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) in secondary schools and university English teaching; and sustainable organizational and community development (SOCD).
Volunteers in the TEFL sector primarily teach the English language in secondary schools, universities, and other educational institutions and a few are also teaching history and literature to more advanced students. Volunteers serve as regular members of the teaching faculty in their schools and teach between 150 and 200 students each year. Most are also involved in extracurricular activities such as environmental education projects, HIV/AIDS education, computer training, and youth development through girls’ or boys’ clubs. In addition, working with Kyrgyz educators, Volunteers develop language instruction resources and conduct training workshops in teaching methodology for teachers at all levels.
Volunteers in the sustainable organizational and community development sector are assigned to a variety of agencies and institutions across the country. Volunteers work with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and government-sponsored community-based groups to increase their organizational capacities and assist local communities in promoting sustainable community development.
In 2007, Peace Corps/Kyrgyz Republic will initiate a new health promotion project in partnership with the Ministry of Health.