Peace Corps Receives $40,000 Grant to Fund HIV/AIDS Initiatives

June 5, 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 5, 2003 - Peace Corps’ Office of Private Sector Initiatives (OPSI) is proud to announce a grant of $40,000 on behalf of the Levi Strauss Foundation to support Peace Corps Partnership Program projects in El Salvador and Haiti. The President of the Levi Strauss Foundation, Robert D. Haas, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Ivory Coast from 1964-1966.

This grant will primarily finance work involving HIV/AIDS prevention. The funds will provide for 300 young Salvadorian leaders to be trained in HIV/AIDS education and leadership/gender relations. In Haiti, volunteers will use the funds to conduct community-driven HIV/AIDs education training programs. The grant allows for both countries to develop an HIV/AIDS prevention training curriculum, conduct four “Training of Trainers” workshops, and create HIV/AIDS material in local languages.

HIV/AIDS is spreading rapidly throughout the Caribbean nations. Haiti has the highest adult prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Peace Corps’ HIV/AIDS Initiative strives to further the capacity of volunteers to reduce the scope of the disease. The initiative also works to ease the effects of HIV/AIDS on communities by educating youth, collaborating with religious leaders to cultivate education strategies, and developing programs that provide financial and emotional assistance for families and communities affected by the disease.

Peace Corps’ program in El Salvador, which began in 1962, was one of the agency's earliest efforts. Since then, over 1,600 volunteers have served in El Salvador, working in water sanitation and health, municipal development, agroforestry and environment, and HIV/AIDS education and awareness.

Since 1982, over 340 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Haitian communities. Volunteers work in small business development, agriculture, rural health education, and HIV/AIDS education and awareness.

The Peace Corps’ Partnership Program is administered by the Office of Private Sector Initiatives (OPSI) and links funds from the private sector to community-based projects in areas where volunteers serve. If you are interested in learning more about Peace Corps’ volunteer projects and how you may contribute, please contact Peace Corps’ Office of Private Sector Initiatives toll-free at 1.800.424.8580, ext. 2170, or by e-mail at [email protected] For more information, you may also visit the OPSI web site at www.peacecorps.gov/contribute/

The Levi Strauss Foundation and the Levi Strauss & Co. Community Affairs department seek to reflect the voices of the communities where Levi Strauss & Co. has a business presence and make a difference by having the courage to address tough social issues and empowering people to solve their own problems and those of their communities. The Levi Strauss Foundation has selected three key issues to ensure that our philanthropic efforts are focused and have a meaningful impact: 1) preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS 2) increasing economic opportunities for women and youth and 3) ensuring access to education.

Since 1961, more than 168,000 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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