Peace Corps Celebrates Return to Fiji

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 19, 2003 – Today, Peace Corps’ Los Angeles Recruiting Office in California, in conjunction with the Friends of Fiji, celebrated the return of Peace Corps volunteers to the Pacific island nation of Fiji.

The event honored the newest group of 27 Peace Corps volunteers who will depart this weekend to begin service in Fiji. In attendance was Fijian Ambassador to the United States, Anare Jale.

“Peace Corps is extremely honored for the opportunity to return to Fiji and continue building on the longstanding relationship that begin in 1967. Peace Corps volunteers have made many significant contributions to the people of Fiji, and we look forward to future success with this new program,” commented Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez.

The 27 volunteers arriving this month will begin work in the areas of Environmental Education and Youth and Community Development. In collaboration with members of the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas (FLMMA) project, Peace Corps volunteers will provide educational and technical support on environmental preservation for Inter-Coastal Management efforts, Marine Protected Areas, terrestrial management as well as effective eco-tourism practices. Volunteers will work cooperatively with Ministries, Provincial and District Offices, NGOs and community members to build capacity and act as facilitators and catalyst for communities’ involvement in preserving and protecting Fiji’s natural environment.

In co-ordination with Ministries, NGOs and local government, volunteers will assist in developing and building capacity in youth programs. A key aspect of their work will be to improve the quality of social outreach programs aimed at preparing youth for their future roles within the family, the world of work, and society. Volunteers will work with local partners to create programs and activities that develop positive life skills with community youth. In addition, Volunteers will also work closely with both women and youth on income generation, information technology, environmental conservation, and healthy lifestyle.

The Peace Corps was first arrived to Fiji in 1967, and remained until 1998. In 1968, the first group of 57volunteers arrived. From 1967 to 1998, over 2,000 volunteers served in the areas of education, health care, rural and community development, agriculture, environment, small entrepreneur development, fisheries, youth development, and finance and planning.

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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