The United States Peace Corps will increase the number of its volunteers working in Cameroon by fifty per cent before the celebration of its 50th anniversary on September 30, 2011. The revelation was made recently in Yaoundé by the acting Peace Corps Cameroon Country Director, James Beighle.
James Beighle was talking to reporters during a ceremony to present the first ever Peace Corps Cameroon annual report. The expansion of the number of volunteers he said is part of the Peace Corps’ global objectives. He added that the US Peace Corps General Director, Aaron Williams, is committed to send 10.000 volunteers into the field worldwide before September 30, 2011.
Peace Corps volunteers have been in Cameroon for the past 47 years working in the fields of Education, Health, Business development, Environment, Youth development amongst others. Their principal mission, Peace Corps officials say is ‘helping Cameroonians improve the quality of their lives through capacity building, skills transfer, cultural exchange and promotion of self-reliant development’.
Thus, Peace Corps Volunteers are placed at community level from villages to large towns throughout the country. They build local capacity through the teaching and training of individuals and by strengthening local institutions working in the areas of agriculture, education, health and small business development.
According to the 2009 annual report of the Peace Corps in our newsroom, Peace Corps Cameroon prepares and supports its volunteers through a unique, comprehensive series of training over the course of their two years of service. This starts with an intensive eleven-week community-based Pre-Service Training (PST) followed by two In-service Training opportunities and a close of service conference to prepare the volunteers for departure and life after Peace Corps.
In 2009, Cameroon received two training classes; 16 Education, 14 Small Enterprise Development (SED) trainees in June and 15 Agroforestry, 17 Community Health Trainees in September.
To the Programs and Training Officer of the US Peace Corps Cameroon, Kim Ahanda, the 2009 report of the Peace Corps is satisfactory though the Peace Corps works with very limited volunteers in Cameroon.
The US Peace Corps it should be noted was established in 1961 by erstwhile US President John Fritzgerald Kennedy to promote world peace and friendship. Today, they count over 7,700 volunteers spread over 76 countries throughout Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, North Africa/Middle East, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean. In Cameroon, there are about 3,000 Peace Corps volunteers working in Ndu, Fundong, Banyo, Kolofata, Maka, Fontem amongst other towns.
By NDI Eugene NDI
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