Difference between revisions of "Reform Plan Ludlam Hirschoff"

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Template:Ludlam plan Dodd/Kennedy Peace Corps Volunteer Empowerment Act, S. 732 (PCVEA)

In 2007, Chuck Ludlam and Paula Hirschoff flew from Senegal to Washington DC to testify in favor of the Peace Corps Volunteer Empowerment Act and propose amendments to the legislation.

  • Transcripts of the testimony can be found here, here, and a video of the testimony can be found here.
  • Chuck Ludlam's article “A Call for Peace Corps Reform” appears in the fall 2008 issue of WorldView, the magazine of the National Peace Corps Association.
  • A summary is included here.

Memorandum[edit]

July 24, 2009


To: Peace Corps Director-Designate Aaron Williams

From: Chuck Ludlam and Paula Hirschoff Chuck.Ludlam@gmail.com, Phirschoff@gmail.com, 4020 Reno Road NW, Washington, D.C. 20008. 202-364-6021. Chuck Ludlam served as an advisor to the Obama/Biden Transition Team for the Peace Corps, but this plan is neither taken from nor reflective of the Team’s work product. Chuck is also a member of the Board of Directors of the National Peace Corps Association, but the NPCA has not endorsed this plan. This plan represents the personal views of the authors. See Appendix F for CVs of the authors.</ref>

Subject: Plan to Strengthen and Expand the Peace Corps:

Priorities for President Obama's First Term

Executive Summary
[edit]

This Twenty Point Plan to strengthen and expand the Peace Corps—drafted over four years by a couple of two-time Volunteers and circulated widely for comment within the Returned PCV community—proposes an ambitious road map for President Obama and Peace Corps Director-Designate Aaron Williams and his leadership team.


Point One focuses on the budget crisis at the Peace Corps and President Obama’s pledge during the campaign to “double the size of the Peace Corps from 7,800 volunteers to 16,000 by its 50th anniversary in 2011 and work to partner volunteers with people from other nations.” (December 5, 2007, Mt. Vernon).


Points Two to Eighteen concentrate on strengthening the Peace Corps. The premise of this plan is that a stronger, more effective Peace Corps will make a persuasive case for expansion. Conversely, without fundamental reforms, expansion will be difficult to justify and could undermine the performance and reputation of the Peace Corps. Many of these strengthening steps have been part of the Peace Corps Volunteer Empowerment Act (S. 732), introduced by Senators Christopher Dodd and Ted Kennedy in Congress in 2007. The authors testified in favor of that legislation at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on July 25, 2007, and the Peace Corps Improvement and Expansion Act (S. 1382), introduced by Senator Dodd in this Congress.


Point Nineteen examines the competition that the Peace Corps will face from a new international voluntary service program—Volunteers for Prosperity—authorized by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (Public Law 111-13). This plan argues that if the Peace Corps does not implement fundamental reforms, it is likely to fare poorly in this competition and its franchise may weaken over time.


And Point Twenty proposes a political campaign to secure the needed reforms.


Almost 50 years after its founding, it is timely and appropriate to ask penetrating questions about the Peace Corps. Why the Peace Corps? What is its mission in the 21st Century? Those of us who revere the Peace Corps should take the lead in asking these questions. Those who care the most—PCVs, RPCVs and PC managers—should ask the hardest questions. The Peace Corps is an historic and romantic vestige of the values of the 60s and the New Frontier, but that role is not sufficient to explain and justify its role in the 21st Century. The ultimate act of loyalty to the Peace Corps is to ask the tough questions before outsiders do.


This report argues that the first budget priority for the Peace Corps should be to fund implementation of an ambitious plan to strengthen the Peace Corps; its second should be funding to reverse the recent cutbacks; and its third should be to expand. The authors are campaigning to increase Peace Corps appropriations—principally to fund reform—and have proposed a detailed budget for reform. (See Appendix D) The first step in decisions over funding is to acknowledge the evidence demonstrating that the agency has deep-seated problems, Early Termination (ET) rates of Volunteers are too high, that tensions exist between Volunteers and managers, that First Goal (development) results are substandard, and that substantial reforms are needed to bring the agency into the 21st Century.


The Twenty Points are as follows:

Point One: Address the Three Peace Corps Funding Priorities

Point Two: Make Listening the Hallmark of the Peace Corps Culture

Point Three: Place More Emphasis on Achieving Sustainable First Goal Results

Point Four: Reduce the High and Costly Early Termination Rates

Point Five: Recruit More Older, Experienced Volunteers

Point Six: Reconnect RPCVs for Life-long Service

Point Seven: Take Initiative to Build Peace

Point Eight: Protect Volunteers’ Rights and Hold Managers Accountable

Point Nine: Strengthen Standard of Medical Support for Volunteers

Point Ten: Enhance Third Goal Opportunities for Returned Volunteers

Point Eleven: Substantially Modify the Five-Year Rule

Point Twelve: Adopt Incentives to Improve Management and Retain Staff

Point Thirteen: Strengthen Peace Corps Financial Management

Point Fourteen: Transfer Authority and Resources to the Country Posts and Volunteers

Point Fifteen: Implement Tough Evaluation Processes

Point Sixteen: Increase Transparency of the Peace Corps

Point Seventeen: Ensure Peace Corps Office of Inspector General Again Leads Investigations of Violent Crimes Against Volunteers/Staff

Point Eighteen: Enhance Congressional Oversight

Point Nineteen: Meet Competition from New International Service Programs

Point Twenty: Get Organized to Press for Implementation of Reforms


We have developed this reform plan because it aggrieves us to see the Peace Corps mismanage the Volunteers and fall short of its potential. While we strongly support confirmation of Aaron Williams, our focus is on ensuring that the fundamental reforms proposed here become permanent elements of the Peace Corps culture and practice and do not depend on the qualifications, good will and policies of individual appointees at the agency.


The authors welcome comments on this plan. Please use the contact information provided in Footnote 1.

Table of Contents[edit]

Executive Summary

Table of Contentsp

Plan to Strengthen and Expand the Peace Corps'

Introduction

Rationale and Overview of the Twenty Point Plan

Calls for Reform From the Volunteers

Biennial Survey of Volunteers Echoes Calls for Reform


Twenty Points Point One: Address the Three Peace Corps Funding Priorities

Point Two: Make Listening the Hallmark of the Peace Corps Culture

Point Three: Achieve Greater Sustainable First Goal Results

Point Four: Reduce the High and Costly Early Termination Rates

Point Five: Recruit More Older, Experienced Volunteers

Point Six: Reconnect RPCVs for Life-long Service

Point Seven: Take Initiative to Build Peace

Point Eight: Protect Volunteer Rights and Hold Managers Accountable

Point Nine: Strengthen Standard of Medical Support for Volunteers

Point Ten: Enhance Third Goal Opportunities for Returned Volunteers

Point Eleven: Substantially Modify the Five-Year Rule

Point Twelve: Adopt Incentives to Improve Management and Retain Staff

Point Thirteen: Strengthen Peace Corps Financial Management

Point Fourteen: Transfer Authority and Resources to the Country Posts and Volunteers

Point Fifteen: Implement Tough Evaluation Processes

Point Sixteen: Increase Transparency of the Peace Corps

Point Seventeen: Ensure Peace Corps Office of Inspector General Again Leads Investigations of Violent Crimes Against Volunteers/Staff

Point Eighteen: Enhance Congressional Oversight

Point Nineteen: Meet Competition from New International Service Programs

Point Twenty: Get Organized to Press for Implementation of Reforms

Conclusion

Appendix A: Email Affidavits From PCVs in 28 Countries Regarding Peace Corps

Appendix B: Using the Triple Convergence (Internet) to Listen to and Empower Volunteers

Appendix C: Robert Strauss Viewpoint on the Peace Corps

Appendix D: Proposal to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees Regarding Peace Corps Reform and Expansion

Appendix E: Amendments Proposed to S. 1382 (Dodd)

Appendix F: Biographical Information on Authors of 20 Point Plan

Memorandum July 24, 2009[edit]

To: Peace Corps Director-Designate Aaron Williams

From: Chuck Ludlam and Paula Hirschoff

Subject: Plan to Strengthen and Expand the Peace Corps:

Priorities for President Obama's First Term


President Obama has pledged to “double the size of the Peace Corps from 7,800 volunteers to 16,000 by its 50th anniversary in 2011 and work to partner volunteers with people from other nations.” (December 5, 2007, Mt. Vernon) The following comprehensive reform plan urges the President and Peace Corps Director-Designate Aaron Williams to pledge to also strengthen the Peace Corps as proposed by Senators Christopher Dodd and Ted Kennedy in the last Congress—the Peace Corps Volunteer Empowerment Act (PCVEA)(S. 732)—and Senator Dodd’s proposal in this Congress—the Peace Corps Improvement and Expansion Act (PCIEA)(S. 1382). A stronger, more effective Peace Corps will make a persuasive case for expansion. Conversely, without fundamental reforms, increasing the number of Volunteers may not be feasible and may undermine the performance of the Peace Corps. In addition, without fundamental reforms, the Peace Corps may fare poorly in competition with a new international voluntary service program—Volunteers for Prosperity—authorized by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (Public Law 111-13).


The authors have presented this reform plan because they love the Peace Corps, feel privileged to have served twice as Volunteers, and have attempted to dedicate their lives to the Peace Corps values. It aggrieves us to see Peace Corps mismanagement of the Volunteers and its falling short of its potential. While we strongly support confirmation of Aaron Williams, our focus is on ensuring that the fundamental reforms proposed here become permanent elements of the Peace Corps culture and practice and do not depend on the qualifications, good will and policies of individual appointees at the agency.