The 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps in Cameroon was celebrated yesterday in Yaounde.
The Peace Corps, an American volunteer programme run by the United States government, yesterday, November 21, 2012 celebrated 50 years of committed work in fostering Cameroon's socio-economic development. After the then US President, John F.Kennedy created the programme in 1961, its first group of 39 volunteers arrived in Cameroon on September 13, 1962. As at today, some 3,000 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Cameroon for 50 uninterrupted years.
The Minister of Secondary Education, Louis Bapes Bapes on behalf of the Prime Minister, Philemon Yang opened celebration activities at the Yaounde Conference Centre, yesterday, November 21 that were crowned by the visit of First Lady, Chantal Biya to an exhibition fair at the same venue. The celebration was on the theme, "Focusing our efforts to meet Cameroon's needs." At yesterday's ceremony, 53 more Peace Corps volunteers were sworn-in to continue enhancing the development of Cameroon. They will continue working with others in rural and semi-urban areas in projects related to community health, community economic development, education, youth development and the environment.
In assessing the impact of the Peace Corps work in Cameroon, the Country Director of Peace Corps, Cameroon, Jacquelyn Geier Sesonga in a press interview said, "Our outreach is very much people-to-people. You won't find a whole lot of big projects, but you will find small projects such as improved water catchments or a clinic built." She also said, "But overall, what you will find is a people who have changed, who have learned new things, who are trying new things as a result of working with Peace Corps volunteers." One of the beneficiaries of the Peace Corps programme, retired Colonel Weriwoh T. Godfred testified that his educational pursuit would have ended in Form Three in Sacred Hearts of College Mankon, Bamenda, North West Region if the Peace Corps volunteers were not there. Two of them paid his school fees.