New Peace Corps Volunteers in Haiti Swear-In to Begin Service

November 20, 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 20, 2003 – Recently in Haiti, 26 Americans joined the ranks of Peace Corps volunteers as they were sworn-in by the Honorable James B. Foley, the United States Ambassador to Haiti. On November 6, the new volunteers were inducted into the Peace Corps at a formal ceremony conducted in three languages at the ambassador's residence, in Port-au-Prince.

The event was attended by Peace Corps and Embassy staff, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) representatives currently working in Haiti, current and former volunteers, representatives of the Government of Haiti, including the Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and the First Lady, Mildred Aristide. Madame Aristide brought greetings and best wishes to the trainees from the President.

This swearing-in ceremony marked the official end of the trainees' three-month training program in Arachaië. During this time, they were immersed in Créole language training, cross-cultural study, and technical skills training.

Fifteen of the new volunteers are assigned to the agriculture and environment project and will spend their two years of international service improving the living conditions of farmers. They will work to increase agricultural production and income while conserving and rehabilitating the environment. Eleven volunteers are involved in the rural health project, working to introduce health education and raise health standards by teaching communities about malnutrition, sanitation, immunizations, and maternal health.

In addition to their primary projects, these volunteers will be equipped to battle HIV/AIDS in Haiti. Many of these new volunteers will be collaborating with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on HIV/AIDS projects throughout the country, especially in support of President Bush's Prevention-of-Mother-to-Child Initiative (PMTC).

Approximately 500 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Haiti since 1982. Haiti is located 750 miles south of Miami and shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Peace Corps volunteers in Haiti work on projects in the areas of small business development, agricultural and environmental sustainability, and rural health education. Currently, there are 92 Peace Corps volunteers working in Haiti.

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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