Within one year of President Kennedy’s historical announcement to create Peace Corps, the first 272 Volunteers landed in Ethiopia. Nearly 4,000 Volunteers have served in Ethiopia since 1962 in the sectors of education, community development, business development, agriculture, and health. From 1962 to 1977, Peace Corps Ethiopia was one of the largest Peace Corps programs in the world. More than 3,000 Volunteers served in the country before Peace Corps suspended the program in 1977 due to political instability.
The post re-opened from 1995-1999, but conflict with its northern neighbor Eritrea caused the post to close again. In 2006, the Government of Ethiopia and the U.S. Ambassador signaled strong support for the placement of Volunteers to strengthen community-based HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment activities as part of The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Subsequently, a new country agreement was negotiated and the post re-entered the country in 2007 with 38 health sector Volunteers.
The Peace Corps has been involved in almost every facet of Ethiopia’s development over the past decades, making contributions in the fields of education, health, rural development, and small business development. Peace Corps’ current program focuses on three core areas: strengthening English-language teaching and learning, addressing HIV/AIDS and other public health concerns, and promoting food security and natural resources management.