Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter Visits Namibia

Director Tschetter visited Peace Corps Volunteers, staff and government officials during his visit to the Republic of Namibia.

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 20, 2007 - Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter leaves the Republic of Namibia today following a successful four day trip that included meeting Peace Corps Volunteers, staff, and government officials.

The people of Namibia are so warm and gracious, and Peace Corps Volunteers are assisting them as they continue to develop and grow, said Director Tschetter. I visited with outstanding Volunteers who are training the next generation of educators, as well as the next generation of children with innovative farming techniques and information technology.

The Peace Corps entered into Namibia in 1990, with Volunteers working primarily in education. Today, Volunteers work in education and health, particularly with HIV/AIDS prevention and in reaching orphans and vulnerable children. Nearly 1,000 Volunteers have served in Namibia.

In addition to visiting Volunteers, Director Tschetter met with Prime Minister Nahas Gideon Angula, who had signed the original Peace Corps country agreement with Namibia in 1990. The Director also met with King Elithas Kauluma, a traditional local leader, and officials from the Ministry of Education.

The innovation Peace Corps Volunteers bring to the projects where they serve is endless, remarked Director Tschetter. Young people in Namibia are eager to learn and continue the growth of their nation, and the Peace Corps is honored to serve there.

Jason Sears is a Peace Corps Volunteer from Idaho serving in Namibia. He teaches basic and advanced computer skills to youth and has a select group of students who go to other schools to teach. These students are learning how to become information technology specialists themselves and repairing old computers for use in local libraries.

Judith Harper from Michigan was a school principal and teacher in the United States before retiring and becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer. She is taking her experience and training student teachers. Namibia has lost many teachers due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and the important work Judith is doing will ensure the country has high-quality teachers in the years to come.

A returned Peace Corps Volunteer, William Kyle Orth, just came to Namibia as a Crisis Corps Volunteer. He is developing better financial systems for a project refurbishing old bicycles to be sold at low costs to struggling Namibians and to organizations supporting local volunteers who provide home-based care to people living with HIV/AIDS. Transportation can be a major issue for home-based care, and providing bicycles will allow caregivers to reach more people more quickly.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 45-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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