4 January 2007

Namibia: Newest US Peace Corps Volunteers to Take Oath

Windhoek — ON Friday, the 26th group of US Peace Corps volunteers assigned to Namibia will take their oath of service.

Joyce Barr, US Ambassador to Namibia, will administer their oath of service at 10h00 at the National Institute for Educational Development in Okahandja and Neshani Andreas, author of 'The Purple Violet of Oshaantu', will be the speaker at Friday's ceremony.

These 63 volunteers come from all parts of the United States and bring with them professional experience in education, health and community service.

The new volunteers were selected through a rigorous, year-long nationwide selection.

Since arriving in Namibia in November 2006, they have participated in an intensive eight-week training programme in Okahandja to improve their knowledge of Namibia, including extended study of local languages, culture and society, and the history of Namibia and the Namibian people.

They have also studied the professional and technical aspects of the positions to which they will be assigned while in Namibia, according to a press release from the US Embassy.

The 63 volunteers have committed themselves to two years of service in Namibia.

They will be assigned to all regions and live in modest accommodations among the local population.

Approximately two thirds of the volunteers will be placed in teaching positions through the Ministry of Education.

They will teach English, mathematics, science, or information technology at local schools or work with information technology at the regional Teacher Resource Centres.

The remaining volunteers will be assigned to health-related positions where they will be involved in various aspects of the fight against HIV-AIDS.

They will support the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture, as well as faith-based and community-based organisations - such as the Namibian Red Cross and the Church Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) - in their outreach programmes.

Such efforts in the fights against HIV-AIDS represent an important component of President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

In 2007, the United States Peace Corps will celebrate its 16th anniversary of service in the Republic of Namibia.

One of the first international organisations to work in Namibia after Independence, the Peace Corps first arrived in Namibia in September 1990.

Their initial focus was educational reform and they worked with the Government to develop a national and inclusive educational programme open to all Namibians.

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