9 August 2004

Cameroon: More American Peace Corps on the Field

They were sworn in last Thursday in Mbalmayo.

It is another moment of hope for a better education in Cameroon and hope for another step into development and capacity building as 24 new Peace Corps volunteers last Thursday, in Mbalmayo, took an oath to diligently serve the government for the next two years. They are expected to focus their services particularly on education and the micro finance sectors. Present at the ceremony was the Secretary of State Number one at the Ministry of National Education, Mr Emmanuel Ngafeeson who was very pleased to receive 14 new volunteer in the education sector.

While welcoming the Peace Corps, the Secretary of State requested Principals of schools where the Ministry has posted the new volunteer teachers, to provide all the necessary support so that they can best serve students and the community. The volunteers were also encouraged to work closely with their counterparts in order to benefit from their unique experience in Cameroon. Mr Ngafeeson also requested for more qualified volunteer teachers especially in the area of computer science. While noting that Peace Corps education has been in Cameroon for 42 years, he underscored that the need for volunteer teachers is greater than it was at inception.

Peace Corps in Cameroon have already made tremendous impact in micro development projects. These include projects in HIV/AIDS, environmental education, water and sanitation; agriculture, school based income generating activities, laboratory and library construction, tele aids and didactic materials.

The swearing in ceremony signified the completion of nine weeks of intensive training in language, cross cultural and technical subjects that include pedagogy, small enterprise management and computer science. Twelve volunteers have been assigned to schools where they will teach English, Maths, Science and Computer Sciences. Two volunteers will work at the Adventist University of Nanga Eboko and are likely to serve as instructors at the newly opened CISCO networking Academy, which is an e-learning program that provides students with internet technology. Ten others have been assigned to financial institutions where they will work for the promotion of small enterprise development. To reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in Cameroon, all Peace Corps volunteers will work with local counterparts and organisations to fight the pandemic while educating their host communities on behaviour change.

This newest group of volunteers are between 21 and 79 years. One volunteer already has had more than 17 years of work experience in Central and West Africa and another is a veteran of World War II. During the ceremony, the Peace Corps expressed themselves in Pidgin English, French and the Ewondo languages. They also awarded a Peace Corps certificate of appreciation to the Divisional Officer of Mbalmayo and the Commissioner of public security.

Next month, another group of 31 Peace Corps from America will arrive in Cameroon to begin their training in community health and agro-forestry in Nassarao and Pitoa in the North Province.

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