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More Than 130 Americans Sworn In as Peace Corps Volunteers in Africa

Volunteers will work on health, environment and agriculture projects with their local communities

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 3, 2013 - Over the past month, more than 130  Americans have been sworn into service as Peace Corps volunteers in the African countries of Malawi, The Gambia, Namibia, Madagascar and Senegal.

Each new volunteer has undergone three months of intensive cultural, language and technical training in their country of service prior to leaving for their assigned Peace Corps site in a local community, where they will live and work for the next two years.

The Peace Corps recruits, places and trains Americans for volunteer service in 76 host countries around the world. Volunteers work to make a difference in their communities across six program areas: education, health, community economic development, environment, youth in development, and agriculture.

Below find highlights from swearing-in ceremonies that took place between April 30 and May 10:

Malawi

U.S. Ambassador to Malawi, Jeanine Jackson, presided over a swearing-in ceremony of 37 new Peace Corps volunteers on April 30. The ceremony was held in a local village where the volunteers had been living for eight weeks during their training period with Malawian host families to learn more about Malawian culture and everyday life. Nineteen of the volunteers will work in the environment sector, and the remaining 18 volunteers will work as health volunteers during their service in Malawi.

About Peace Corps/Malawi: More than 2,605 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Malawi since the program was established in 1963. Currently, 126 volunteers serve in Malawi. Volunteers work in the areas of education, environment, agriculture and health. Volunteers are trained and work in the following languages: Chichewa, Chilambya, Chilomwe, Chindali, Chisena, Chitonga and Chitumbuka.

The Gambia

In The Gambia, 10 Peace Corps volunteers were sworn-in as health volunteers on May 3. The ceremony was held at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to The Gambia, Edward Alford, and Dr. Adama Demba spoke to the volunteers on behalf of the Gambian Minister of Health and Social Welfare. The new volunteers will work on a variety of projects to help improve Gambians’ health and quality of life, such as raising awareness of malaria prevention and control, and promoting positive personal hygiene and sanitation practices, and maternal and child health.

About Peace Corps/The Gambia: More than 1,635 Peace Corps volunteers have served in The Gambia since the program was established in 1967. Currently, 94 volunteers serve in The Gambia. Volunteers work in the areas of education, health and environment. Volunteers are trained and work in the following languages: Jola, Mandinka, Pulaar, Soninke and Wolof.

Namibia

In Namibia, 18 new health volunteers were sworn-in on May 7 at the Safari Hotel in Windhoek. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the annual all-volunteer conference, so all currently serving volunteers in Namibia were present. U.S Ambassador to Namibia, Wanda Nesbitt, and Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia, Dr. Hage Geingob, gave keynote remarks. Following his remarks, Prime Minister Geingob opened the floor for questions from the volunteers, who asked him about his favorite foods, must see sites in Namibia, and his plans for job creation in the country.

About Peace Corps/Namibia: More than 1,345 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Namibia since the program was established in 1990. Currently, 140 volunteers serve in Namibia. Volunteers work in the areas of education, community health and HIV/AIDS, and small business development. Volunteers are trained and work in the following languages: Afrikaans, Damara, Oshikwanyama, Oshindonga, Otijherero, Rukwangali, Silozi and Thimbukusha.

Madagascar

On May 10, 36 new Peace Corps Volunteers were sworn-in by the U.S. Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires Eric Wong in a ceremony at his residence in Antananarivo.  The new volunteers will be serving throughout Madagascar as health and agriculture volunteers. The 18 health volunteers will conduct trainings, organize workshops, provide mentoring, mobilize their communities around health issues, and carry out community-based health promotion activities. The health program’s partners include the Ministry of Health, national and international NGOs, and locally-based institutions. The 18 agriculture volunteers will work with rural farming communities to improve food security. The agriculture program also aims to educate small farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs on the development of business skills and the creation of new business opportunities.

About Peace Corps/Madagascar: More than 1,020 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Madagascar since the program was established in 1993. Currently, 130 volunteers serve in Madagascar. Volunteers work in the areas of education, environment, agriculture, health and business. Volunteers are trained and work in Malagasy.

Senegal

Also on May 10 in Senegal, 37 new community health volunteers were sworn-in. The ceremony was held at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal, Lewis Lukens, and included remarks from the Senegalese Minister of Defense representing the President of Senegal. The new volunteers will work to help eliminate malaria in Senegal, improve maternal and child health, advance sanitation efforts and expand access to clean drinking water. 

About Peace Corps/Senegal: More than 3,325 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Senegal since the program was established in 1963. Currently, 272 volunteers serve in Senegal. Volunteers work in the areas of agriculture, environment, health and business. Volunteers are trained and work in the following languages: French, Wolof, Pulaar du Nord, Fulakunda, Pulafuta, Seereer, Malinke, Mandinka and Jaxanke.

About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 210,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 8,073 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.

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