New Peace Corps Volunteers Begin Work in Cameroon

Washington, D.C., August 29, 2003 – Fifty-four new Peace Corps volunteers are arriving this week to their sites throughout Cameroon. This is following their swearing-in ceremony which took place last Friday at the Council-hall in Bandjoun, Cameroon. The ceremony marked the end of the volunteers’ three-month training period, which focused on the Cameroonian school system, economics, and business management. It was also an occasion for volunteers to express their gratitude to the host families, trainers, and local officials whose support facilitated their training and integration in Cameroon.

Cameroon Peace Corps country director Robert Strauss commented to the volunteers at the ceremony, “ The commitment you are making today is a testimony to the power of hope. My expectation is that most of you will find the next two years to be the most challenging and rewarding of your lives."

In attendance at the ceremony were U.S. Ambassador George M. Staples, the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Governor of the West Province, and local and traditional authorities of the Mifi and Khoung-Khi divisions. Additionally, it was an opportunity for Cameroonian authorities to acknowledge the contribution that the Peace Corps has given in the field of education, the empowerment of youth, and the alleviation of poverty.

Twenty-two volunteers will be posted with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, where they will build the capacity of local banks and assist communities in small business development. In collaboration with the Ministry of National Education, thirty-two Peace Corps teachers of math, science, English, and HIV/AIDS prevention, will be working in secondary and Teacher Training schools throughout the country. The Peace Corps has been working with the Ministry of Trade and Industry since 2000 and the Ministry of National Education since 1961.

Since the program’s establishment in 1962, over 2,650 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Cameroon. Currently, 150 Peace Corps volunteers serve in the country to improve Cameroon’s quality of education, promote agro-forestry and permanent farming systems, and encourage knowledge of the benefits of water sanitation and HIV/AIDS prevention. Cameroon will receive 40 new Peace Corps trainees in health and Agro-forestry programs next month.

Since 1961, more than 170,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and awareness, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.

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