News / Africa

Peace Corps Mission Unchanged 50 Years Later

In Africa, agency works to stem the spread of malaria, HIV-AIDS and other illnesses

Multimedia

Audio
  • Interview with Dick Day Peace Corps Director for Africa region

This month, the Peace Corps marks 50 years of work across the developing world. It was founded in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy and has been supported by other presidents, including Barack Obama, who has emphasized the need for public service.

This month’s celebrations will recognize the achievements of volunteers past and present.

The group’s regional director for Africa, Dick Day, says even though the mission of the Peace Corps has remained the same over years “of promoting world peace and friendship… there have been changes according to the needs of the communities [where the volunteers] serve.”

Some of that change has been in the education sector.

“There has been some evolution,” says Day, whose office determines the number of volunteers in Africa and provides support for the field offices in the 27 countries where they operate.  “We have moved from having essentially nothing but teachers in the classrooms to doing much more teacher training and working with parent-teachers associations.”

A Peace Corps Volunteer works with a Tanganyikan caterpillar driver on the Great Ruaha road project. They are working to better access a sugar refinery.(1962)
A Peace Corps Volunteer works with a Tanganyikan caterpillar driver on the Great Ruaha road project. They are working to better access a sugar refinery.(1962)

In the health field, volunteers continue to provide primary care and support, “but clearly one of the emphases we have had in the last ten to fifteen years has been a heavy focus on HIV/AIDS prevention… particularly working with orphans and vulnerable children.”

The Peace Corps also works to stem the spread of malaria, which continues to claim lives in sub-Saharan Africa.  One of the highlights of the celebration will be “a Stamp Out Malaria in Africa initiative that will be rolled out in 25 out of the 27 countries [on the continent where we have a presence].”

The agency also works in partnership with local communities on issues like youth development and training small enterprises in business practices.

Carrying the torch

In remarks to mark the beginning of the celebration, Peace Corps director Aaron Williams said the organization will remain “vibrant for another 50 years.”

He said it will grow and adapt and continue to carry the torch of President Kennedy’s revolutionary idea and [respond] to President Obama’s call to service.”

To mark the milestone, Peace Corps staff and returned volunteers are taking part in local service projects both in the United States and in Peace Corps host countries.

In Africa, the Peace Corps has sent thousands of volunteers to work in communities on a range of projects, in fields that include agriculture, business and information technology, education, environment and health.

Since its founding, more than 200,000 Americans have served in the Peace Corps in 139 countries. Today, it has more than 8,650 volunteers in 77 countries.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid