Peace Corps Ecuador, together with the rest of the world, has gone through some dramatic changes with our response to COVID-19. As of March 17, 2020, all Volunteers were evacuated to the United States. It is not the same without them because that is why we are here. The Peace Corps Ecuador staff maintains contact with the counterparts and host families, emphasizing that this is a temporary absence. Likewise, Peace Corps Ecuador staff is assured that everyone will remain employed throughout the crisis.
The evacuated Volunteers were amazing in their response to the evacuation on March 15th. Despite a mix of emotions, everyone responded throughout Ecuador to the consolidation order, allowing us to safely and successfully return all PCVs to the United States within 48 hours. We have been in touch with everyone through frequent emails as well as interviews with those who chose to do so.
Peace Corps Ecuador staff is working as hard as ever and remotely. We are still tending to Volunteer questions and requests, including information on benefits, forwarding job opportunities, writing references and even assistance with resume development. We are also maintaining relationships with our counterparts and host families to be prepared for the Volunteers’ return when the time is right. At a grassroots staff level, employees even pulled together to help a couple food-insecure communities with whom we’ve worked during training.
At the Peace Corps Washington level, Director Olsen has convened five task forces in preparation for resuming our global presence as soon as conditions allow.
- Returning to Service
- Recruiting and preparing Volunteers to return
- Strategic Communications
- Supporting and engaging RPCVs
- Supporting Continuity of Operations
Peace Corps will come out of this challenge with innovative ideas as well as proven processes that will withstand the test of time. After these unprecedented times are over, our business, our work, and our mission will be strengthened and even more durable.
Director Jody Olsen said it well: “We are engaging in as many different ways as possible with staff, evacuated Volunteers, future Volunteers, and the public.” Know that that is happening at the community level here in Ecuador as well. As the work continues here in the United States and around the world, each task is moving us towards our shared goal to resume our global presence as soon as conditions allow.
Best regards and be well,
Michael A. Donald
Peace Corps Ecuador
About Peace Corps in Ecuador
The first group of Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Ecuador on August 7, 1962. Since that time, more than 5,700 Volunteers have served in almost every imaginable capacity, from working on rural electrification and organic family gardens to teaching in preschool centers and universities. There are few communities in the country where Peace Corps Volunteers have not left their mark over the past 40 years. One town even has a main street named for a Volunteer who served there many years ago.
As conditions in Ecuador have changed, the Peace Corps has refined and adapted its programs to target those areas most in need of the support the Peace Corps can provide. Peace Corps/Ecuador defines its mission as follows: Peace Corps/Ecuador promotes sustainable development that will improve the quality of life of the populations with whom we collaborate. Through activities focused on income generation, nonformal education, strengthening local organizations, and protecting the environment, our four programs—natural resource conservation, community health, youth and families, and teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL)—are our tools to achieve our goals.
Please review also our Peace Corps Ecuador Facebook page