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More than 160 New Peace Corps Volunteers Sworn Into Service as 2013 Comes to a Close

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 26, 2013 – More than 160 new Peace Corps volunteers were sworn into service in the month of December in Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana, Lesotho, Paraguay and Rwanda.

Volunteers underwent 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 of all ages and backgrounds to serve in 65 countries around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level toward sustainable change across six program areas: education, health, community economic development, environment, youth in development, and agriculture. Using 21st century technologies and well-tested best practices, today’s Peace Corps volunteers collaborate with partner organizations to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world.

Below find highlights from swearing-in ceremonies that took place throughout December.

Burkina Faso
On Dec. 17, 28 new Peace Corps volunteers were sworn into service at the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou. The U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso Tulinabo Mushingi – who worked for Peace Corps early in his career as a language and technical trainer – presided over the ceremony and issued the oath of service.

Burkina Faso’s Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Mahama Zoungrana and Health Minister Léné Sebgo also attended the event to welcome the new volunteers. Over the next two years, the group will work in the areas of health and community economic development.  

The Gambia
On Dec. 13, 18 new volunteers were sworn into service by the U.S. Embassy’s Charge d' Affairs Richard Yoneoka during a ceremony at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Fajara. The new volunteers will work in health, education, environment and agriculture. 

Gambian government officials and U.S. Embassy staff attended the ceremony, where Yoneoka congratulated the volunteers on the successful completion of their three-month training and urged them to continue to learn about and integrate into their new Gambian communities. He also reminded them that their service will directly contribute to The Gambia’s economic sustainability and future progress.

Ghana
On Dec. 13, the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Gene A. Cretz swore in 20 new agriculture volunteers in the East Akyem Municipality. Ambassador Cretz said he looks to Peace Corps volunteers to serve as grassroots ambassadors of the United States.

During the ceremony, Peace Corps Ghana Country Director Michael Koffman expressed his gratitude to his fellow Peace Corps staff for their work in training the new volunteers in the local languages and culture to help them become effective agents of change during their two years of service.

Lesotho
On Dec. 18, 26 new education volunteers were sworn into service at a ceremony in Mabekenyane, Lesotho. The ceremony was led by Peace Corps Lesotho Country Director Wendy Van Damme and attended by Lesotho’s Minister of Education Makabelo Mosothoane and the U.S. Embassy’s Charge d' Affairs Carl Fox.

The ceremony included songs, dances and speeches to celebrate the volunteers’ completion of their pre-service training, and many of their host families participated. The new volunteers will teach math and English at schools across the country.

Paraguay
On Dec. 9, 43 new agriculture and environment volunteers were sworn into service at a ceremony in Guarambaré, Paraguay. The Guarambaré mayor attended the event, along with representatives from the Paraguayan Ministry of Agriculture.

The newly sworn-in volunteers will help implement agribusiness programs in local communities to market and sell surplus food and cash crops. Volunteers will also teach community members how to protect and conserve the environment and adapt to climate change.

Rwanda
On Dec. 6, 34 new volunteers were sworn into service by the U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Donald W. Koran at the ambassador’s residence in Kacyiru. They are the 10th group of Peace Corps volunteers to serve in Rwanda since the Peace Corps was invited to return to the country in 2008.

The volunteers will live and work throughout all four provinces of Rwanda teaching both students and local teachers, and working with community members to create training materials for Rwandan classrooms and libraries.

About the Peace Corps:  As the preeminent international service organization of the United States, the Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Peace Corps volunteers work at the grassroots level with local governments, schools, communities, small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. When they return home, volunteers bring their knowledge and experiences – and a global outlook – back to the United States that enriches the lives of those around them. President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 to foster a better understanding among Americans and people of other countries. Since then, more than 215,000 Americans of all ages have served in 139 countries worldwide. Visit www.peacecorps.gov to learn more. 

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