Peace Corps Announces 40 years of Continuous Partnership with the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho

MASERU, LESOTHO, Sept. 29, 2007 - Today, Peace Corps celebrates 40 years of collaboration and friendship with the Kingdom of Lesotho. Peace Corps is a United States government volunteer agency that sends Americans to developing countries to provide technical assistance, and to build strong relationships across cultures.

Peace Corps Regional Director for Africa, Henry McKoy, traveled to Lesotho to attend the Anniversary events. McKoy noted in his remarks, "Volunteers work and live each day in the villages and small towns, often the remotest of locations; this is where long lasting bonds and relationships are formed between Basotho and Americans."

Currently 84 Volunteers are serving in Lesotho in two different programs: Education and Community Health and Economic Development (CHED). Within the Education program Volunteers may serve as secondary school teachers of English, mathematics or science, or as Resource Teachers who train and coach Basotho primary school teachers. Volunteers in the CHED program may work with one or many community-based organizations, nationally-based organizations, and/or NGOs. Volunteers work to assist and coach local counterparts in organizing and developing projects in a variety of areas including sustainable agriculture and nutrition, small business development, youth organization and community outreach for HIV/AIDS prevention and coping.

Over the 40-year history of Peace Corps presence in Lesotho, 1,978 Volunteers have served for two years and sometimes longer, working mostly in rural locations with few resources. Most Volunteers participate in both their primary duties and in secondary projects. All Volunteers are trained in message development and awareness techniques to help combat HIV/AIDS. Peace Corps is an active participant in the U.S. Presidents Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In Lesotho, Volunteers are placed in villages and clinics where their skills in community organization help extend the reach of National and International organizations combating HIV/AIDS.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 46-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Since 1961, more than 187,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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