The Independent (Banjul)

16 September 2002

Gambia: Peace Corps Marks 35 Years in the Gambia

Banjul — Jackson McDonald the United States Ambassador to The Gambia has said that the year 2002 marks 35 years of fruitful partnership between the Peace Corps and The Gambia.

McDonald said the relationship is based not only on technical assistance, but also on sharing of cultural experience, mutual respect and understanding.

Ambassador Jackson McDonald at the swearing-in ceremony of 30 new peace corps volunteers on Friday at the Ambassador said the American Embassy will continue to support the peace corps in The Gambia in any way it can as its program continues to grow not in years to come but also in terms of the number of volunteers serving in this country.

For his party the Country Director of Peace Corps Thomas K. Morgan said over 170, 000 Peace Corps volunteers have served worldwide. He told the 30 sworn-in Peace Corps that 'you have today joined the figure above and each has their stories to tell and each has made their contribution to world peace and friendship. As a result of accepting the challenges to spend two years of your lives working as peace corps volunteers your lives will be forever changed'. He said the reason for this profound change involves major adjustments a volunteer has to go through during the two years Peace Corps experience. The volunteers he said have ten weeks of training and are looking forward to a successful volunteer experience.

Morgan re-echoed the three goals of peace corps and that is to help the people of developing countries in meeting their needs for trained man power, to help promote better understanding of the American people on the part of the people served and a better understanding of other peoples on the part of the American people.

In his keynote the Secretary of State for Health and Social Welfare Dr Yankuba Gassama said the areas of collaboration between the Peace Corps and The Gambia government has been steadily increasing and at government's request 'we have also been broadening the scope to meet The Gambia's ever changing developmental needs and challenges'.

Following the expiry of the first peace corps/Department of State for Health and Social Welfare health project plan in the year 2002, 'we jointly formulate another one to run through the year 2001/2006 with this follow-on project similar in many respects with its predecessors, we are seeking to consolidate and to build on the achievements of the first one. The project targets women, children and youth primarily on health, focusing on but not limited to environmental sanitation personal hygiene and HIV/AIDS and Data Collection. 18 Volunteer were sent to education and 12 health sector'.

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