Peace Corps The Gambia last Friday commemorated its 40th anniversary at a ceremony held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.
Delivering his keynote address on behalf of the president, the Secretary of State for Forestry and Environment, Hon. Yankuba Touray, said the celebration marks along standing relationship between The Gambia government, its people and the United States. He said it is a clear testimony of the importance The Gambia government attaches to a relationship which aims at genuinely sharing useful values.
He stated that the Peace Corps volunteers are a shining example of sacrifice to serve the Gambian people by teaching in schools in most remote communities, working with health clinics and national parks as well as in women's gardens. He further stated that 1,400 volunteers have made tremendous contribution to the progress of The Gambia. "The relevance of Peace Corps volunteers in providing services that meet the emerging needs of our communities cannot be over-emphasised," he said. He urged everyone to always endeavour to promote peace, love and understanding, share the knowledge, which positively influence the lives of people. He concluded by thanking the Peace Corps volunteers, staff and trainees for serving The Gambian people.
For his part the Peace Corps Country Director, Mike McConnell, said Peace Corps volunteers teach in schools, work as community members to improve health condition, improve the environment and livelihood of community members who work with them. He noted that in the past 40 years, nearly 1,400 volunteers have come to The Gambia.
The Secretary of State for Basic and Secondary Education, Hon. Fatou Lamin Faye, said the education programme is the oldest of all the programmes in which Peace Corps has been involved in the country. She noted that the partnership between Peace Corps and The Gambia government is one that began in 1967 with the services of Peace Corps volunteers who served as mechanics and teachers. "Since inception volunteers have continually been registering with the agency to come to The Gambia to assist in addressing the emerging needs of the education sector in particular, in the most crucial areas of teacher training, Math, Science and, more recently, the introduction of Information Communication Technology in schools," he said. She dilated that in teaching, volunteers have worked in curriculum research and development, adult education and the production of material resources in schools. She further said that currently the Department of State for Basic and Secondary Education is taking steps to positively impact classroom teaching and to improve the performance of students. She continued to say that more targeted pre-service and in-service trainings are being provided for teachers.