New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: American Peace Corps to Be Sworn-in

Windhoek — A group of Peace Corps Volunteers assigned to Namibia will take their oath of service on Wednesday at the Municipal Town Hall in Okahandja.

According to a press statement, the American Ambassador to Namibia, Dennise Mathieu, will administer the oath at 10h00. The 70 volunteers come from all parts of the United States and reflect America's rich ethnic diversity. They 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 last year, they have participated in an intensive 10-week training programme in Okahandja to improve their knowledge of Namibia, including extended study of local languages, culture and society, and the proud history of Namibia and its people.

They have also studied the professional and technical aspects of the positions to which they will be assigned while in Namibia. Each of the 70 volunteers has committed themselves to two years of service in Namibia. They will be assigned to all regions of Namibia and live in modest accommodation among the local Namibian 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 non-governmental, 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 fight against HIV/Aids represent an important component of President Bush's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief. The Peace Corps operation in Namibia continues to be a vibrant and dynamic programme. Currently, there are almost 130 Peace Corps volunteers assigned to Namibia and after many years, volunteers have returned to the Caprivi Region. The Peace Corps now serves all 13 regions of Namibia. This year the United States Peace Corps will celebrate its 17th anniversary of service in 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. They worked closely with the Government to develop a truly national and inclusive educational programme.

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