FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, October 18, 2000
Peace Corps Announces First Contribution to e-Partnership Fund
America Online Donates "Peace Packs" to Peace Corps Volunteers Around the World
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 18, 2000—Peace Corps Director Mark L. Schneider announced a new initiative with America Online which may revolutionize the way Peace Corps volunteers integrate information technology into health, education and microenterprise projects. Through "Peace Packs" provided by America Online, Peace Corps volunteers will be able to access the Internet and obtain basic computer equipment in remote communities to advance health, education, small business and other development priorities.
"When I announced the Peace Corps\' information technology initiative earlier this year and issued a challenge to hi-tech companies to contribute to the e-Partnership Fund, the Peace Packs pilot program with America Online is exactly what I envisioned. I am excited about our collaboration with America Online and the possibilities for Peace Corps volunteers in countries around the globe to connect communities where they serve to valuable information technology resources," said Schneider.
Peace Corps\' information technology initiative aims to spur innovation at the grassroots level, integrate information technology into existing development projects, expand the reach of current projects into remote areas, and target projects for volunteers with information technology skills and experience in Peace Corps host countries. The Peace Corps e-Partnership Fund was developed to turn volunteer information technology projects into reality, partly in response to requests from leaders of Peace Corps host countries.
Dulles, VA-based America Online, Inc. announced the "AOL Peace Packs" initiative today at a conference in Seattle, Washington, entitled "Creating Digital Dividends" which was convened by the World Resources Institute and sponsored by the America Online Foundation. The AOL Peace Packs program reflects the Foundation\'s desire that "no community is left behind in the Internet age."
Through a pilot project, Peace Corps volunteers can submit up to 120 project proposals over two years for funding consideration under the Peace Packs program. Peace Corps will select projects based on advancement of development goals, sustainability and involvement of the local community where Peace Corps volunteers serve.
"To succeed, these projects have to be sustainable, which means local communities and local government and non-government institutions must own them," said Schneider.
At present, the Peace Corps has more than 7,300 volunteers serving in 76 countries working in education, the environment, health and nutrition, business and community development. This is the highest number of volunteers serving since 1974. Since 1961, more than 161,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps and have served in 134 countries worldwide.
# # #