Peace Corps Director Visits The Gambia

Director Tschetter travels to Gambian capital to swear-in 15 Volunteers

BANJUL, THE GAMBIA, April 23, 2008 - Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter recently completed a four-day tour of The Gambia where he had the distinguished pleasure of participating in the swearing-in of 15 new Peace Corps Volunteers who will focus on health and community development issues.

"I am happy to be here to participate in this wonderful ceremony," said Director Tschetter. "The Peace Corps has been serving continuously in The Gambia for 40 years and has a proud history of friendship with the Gambian people."

The 15 newest Peace Corps Volunteers were sworn-in by the U.S. Ambassador to The Gambia, Barry Wells, at an outdoor ceremony at the Ambassadors residence. The ceremony was attended by local dignitaries, Gambian families who hosted the Volunteers during training, and government counterparts.

Sulayman Samba, Permanent Secretary at the Department of State for Health and Social Welfare, highlighted in his keynote address the important role that the new Volunteers play in addressing the health needs of The Gambia. Samba said that the work of these new Volunteers is "relevant and addresses priorities of the development of the State, and indeed of the Government of The Gambia."

In addition to swearing in the new Volunteers, Tschetter traveled into the interior of the country, along the Gambia River, where he observed the impact that Peace Corps Volunteers are having on their Gambian communities, and the warmth and hospitality of the Gambian people.

Tschetter also met with Vice President of The Gambia, Dr. Aja Isatou Njie-Saidy, and he expressed his deep appreciation to the Gambian government for their support of the Peace Corps. The Vice President thanked the Director for his continuing commitment to The Gambia, and said of the Volunteers, "They are good ambassadors, not only of America, but of Africa. They are really contributing to our development efforts as a country and creating a good understanding."

There are currently 137 Peace Corps Volunteers serving in The Gambia in the areas of health and community development, education, and the environment. To date, over 1,000 Volunteers have served during the 40 years of continuous service in The Gambia.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served, including The Gambia. 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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