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President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron Announce Partnership to Strengthen Volunteers Efforts to Combat Global Poverty

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 25, 2011—President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron announced a new partnership between two of the worlds leading volunteer organizations, VSO and Peace Corps. Announced during President Obamas state visit to London, the partnership will draw on the shared resources of both organizations, helping to ensure VSO and Peace Corps volunteers can continue fighting poverty and creating sustainable solutions to many of the challenges faced by local communities around the world.

This innovative partnership will enhance the effectiveness and impact of both Peace Corps and VSO, said Peace Corps Director, Aaron S. Williams. We will share best practices in programming and training, strengthening our united efforts to combat global poverty. We are proud that President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron recognize the contributions our volunteers are making around the world with local communities.

For more than fifty years, Peace Corps and VSO have been the leading U.K. and U.S. organizations fighting global poverty through volunteering. Collectively, they have 10,000 international volunteers working in 95 countries and a network of more than 250,000 returned volunteers. Each organization works in complementary ways, providing opportunities to work together will enhance our effectiveness in transforming lives across the world.

This is a landmark step forward for VSO and our transatlantic friends, Peace Corps, said VSO Chief Executive Officer Marg Mayne. We both have a shared insight and commitment to engaging people in the fight against poverty. Peace Corps and VSO will support each others efforts to develop volunteer programs that are more effective in engaging poor communities in shaping their own future. The announcement today will allow us to increase the reach of our education, health, HIV/AIDS, youth development, gender and climate change programmes. Our valued volunteers will continue to work alongside poor communities and local partners on key development priorities, as well as support them in building a lasting legacy of local volunteer networks.

Peace Corps and VSO have worked together informally for more than a decade. Building on this foundation, they will explore how they can collaborate further, on volunteer programs, such as education, health and HIV/AIDS projects across the developing world, and on supporting local citizens to shape their future and the future of their countries. The partnership will also see organizational learning on training and other support functions.

A joint fact sheet on the partnership is available through the White House website.

About VSO: As a leading international development charity, VSO last year assisted 26 million people in reducing poverty. Since 1958 more than 44,000 volunteers have worked in more than 120 countries. Today there are over 1600 international volunteers working in 42 countries around the world.

About the Peace Corps: President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order. Throughout 2011, Peace Corps is commemorating 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world. Historically, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Today, 8,655 volunteers are working with local communities in 77 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.

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