Peace Corps' global mission of promoting world peace and friendship through community-based development and cross-cultural understanding is the mainstay of Peace Corps Jamaica. Indeed, Peace Corps Jamaica's own vision is to be nationally recognized for being responsive to Jamaica’s development needs by: Providing Jamaican communities and organizations with trained men and women; identifying effective and sustainable solutions; forging mutually beneficial partnerships; and supporting Volunteers and staff in a safe , peaceful and culturally sensitive environment.
Our commitment to service in Jamaica began back on February 22, 1962, when Premier Norman Washington Manley signed an agreement with the United States government inviting the Peace Corps to have a program in Jamaica. On June 12 of that year, a few weeks before Jamaica’s independence, the first group of Volunteers arrived in Jamaica. That group of 37 Volunteers worked in many fields, including agriculture, vocational education, library development, construction, electricity, and plumbing. By 1963 there were about 100 Volunteers serving in Jamaica. Their work mostly focused on grassroots development projects. Volunteers lived then as they do today - with Jamaican host families; adapting to the Jamaican culture and cross-cultural differences while learning the local language and foods.
Since that day, more than 3,880 people have served as Volunteers in this beautiful island nation. Current Volunteer assignments are part of a uniform plan that has a significant community development core. Peace Corps Jamaica invites Volunteers to serve either in the Education sector, where the emphasis is on primary school literacy, or the Environment sector, where the emphasis is on environmental education and climate change adaptation in agriculture. While each project plan has specific tasks and skill requirements, all assignments generally involve facilitating the growth and development of communities and their members by empowering them to make better decisions about their own lives. Most Volunteers are placed in small rural communities; however, sites also exist close to small towns. Currently only Peace Corps Volunteer leaders, third-year extension Volunteers, and Peace Corps Response Volunteers are placed in larger cities such as Kingston and Ocho Rios.