19 June 2007

Botswana: Peace Corps to Be Sworn in On Friday

US Ambassador Katherine Canavan will on Friday preside over the swearing-in ceremony for forty-four Americans as Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) at Thamaga Community Junior Secondary School.

Guests will be welcomed by the Minister of Health Dr Sheila Tlou and the Country Director of Peace Corps Botswana Peggy McClure.

A statement from the American Embassy says for Botswana, all Peace Corps Volunteers are involved in HIV/AIDS programmes at the request of the President Festus Mogae.

Tlou will be joined by a few more people from her ministry, as well as representatives of the Ministries of Local Government and Education on behalf of Government.

Twelve of the volunteers will work in district AIDS coordinating offices, 19 will work in PMTCT and home-based care programmes, 11 will join NGOs serving orphans and other vulnerable children while two will work in a pilot Life Skills programme.

The Botswana Network of Aids Service Organisations (BONASO) will be on hand to welcome volunteers assigned to its member-organisations.

The statement says the swearing-in ceremony will conclude an intensive eight-and-a-half week training programme in Thamaga, Kumakwane and Moshupa.

The training sessions included Setswana Language and culture, HIV/AIDS statistics and the impact of HIV/AIDS on development, visits to current programmes across the country, as well an orientation course regarding medical and safety and security issues. On Saturday, the volunteers will bid an emotive farewell to the 'homestay' families that they lived with in various villages during training, before travelling to 40 different sites where they will serve for two years.

These site placements range from Kachikau and Xakao in the north, to Charleshill and Kule in the west; from Makopong and Goodhope in the south, to Masunga, Bobonong and Chadibe in the east.

The new group of PCVs range in age from 21 to 74. They come from 16 different states and the District of Columbia in the United States, one by way of Australia.

Two have served before as PCVs in Africa - one in Malawi and one in Sierra Leone. They join 39 volunteers who have served over one year - over 2 years in some cases - in similar programmes throughout Botswana.

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