Peace Corps Receives Additional $4.1 Million from the President's Emergency Plan in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 24, 2005 – Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez announced today that the Peace Corps will receive $4.1 million from the President\'s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief through the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. The funding is a four-fold increase on the amount the agency received last summer for HIV/AIDS work.

An infusion of $3.6 million will provide 10 Peace Corps programs in Guyana, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, and Haiti the opportunity to expand and enhance their efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Efforts in these countries already include providing training, developing materials, funding volunteer activity support and training, initiating capacity building through Crisis Corps volunteers, and providing additional Peace Corps volunteers to focus on Emergency Plan goals.

In addition, the Peace Corps will receive $500,000 to provide training workshops for staff and volunteers in the field, and for host country counterparts in 10 countries.

"Forty percent of Peace Corps\' volunteers are working in HIV/AIDS education and prevention as part of their primary and secondary projects," said Director Vasquez. "This increased funding represents a growing appreciation for the important role Peace Corps volunteers play at the community level where this pandemic is having devastating effects."

Specifically, the Peace Corps will use the funding in these country projects:

The Peace Corps program in Botswana will use the $230,000 in Emergency Plan funds to create a new HIV/AIDS project to build capacity in their communities and work with organizations that are directly involved in programs and services for orphans and vulnerable children, and for those infected and affected by AIDS. This new project will add 10 Emergency Plan funded volunteers with local organizations who are currently striving to mobilize and implement community responses to HIV/AIDS.

Approximately $215,000 will be used by the Peace Corps program in Guyana to add five HIV/AIDS Peace Corps volunteers with local organizations. Additionally, Emergency Plan funds will be used to enhance HIV/AIDS training for all volunteers and counterparts, which will give them the skills to train youth peer educators in and out of school, set up of buddy support systems for peer educators, develop a mentoring support system, work with most-at-risk youth, and work with the Guyana Ministry of Health in an adolescent health and wellness program to set up health clubs.

The Peace Corps program in Kenya will use $455,000 to place five Crisis Corps volunteers and 15 Peace Corps volunteers in projects that target HIV/AIDS interventions in the deaf community. Specifically, volunteers will adapt HIV/AIDS materials into Kenyan Sign Language, train counselors in Kenyan Sign Language at Voluntary Counseling and Testing centers, and work with parents of deaf children who are unskilled in Kenyan Sign Language to teach them appropriate signs for HIV/AIDS education. Volunteers will also work with the Forum for African Women to identify and mentor more than 400 AIDS orphans for opportunities of receiving education scholarships.

The program in Mozambique will use $339,000 to enhance training and support of volunteers conducting HIV/AIDS activities. The funds will also help volunteers in health and education projects to broaden their range of grass-roots technical support for prevention and care activities. The Peace Corps program will also be able to hire a technical consultant to develop community-based training of trainer materials for volunteers and their host country counterparts in topics such as nutrition, home-based gardening, sanitation, and other areas.

The Peace Corps program in Namibia will use and other areas.

The Peace Corps program in Namibia will use $572,000 in Emergency Plan funding to increase the number of volunteers working in HIV/AIDS projects and to enhance training for volunteers and their counterparts. The funds will also be used to develop local language materials and support HIV/AIDS community initiated activities.

South Africa
In South Africa, $174,000 in Emergency Plan funding will be utilized to provide six Peace Corps volunteers to the local organizations through the HIV/AIDS capacity building project. Volunteers will be placed with organizations that provide palliative and home-based care services, and care and support to orphans and other vulnerable children.

The Peace Corps program in Tanzania will use $316,000 Emergency Plan funds to strengthen and expand HIV/AIDS work focusing on prevention activities for youth, teachers, and underserved rural communities. Volunteers in all three project areas of health, education, and the environment will integrate HIV/AIDS prevention work into their projects. Specifically, volunteers will focus on empowering young people to make healthy decisions about their lives, increasing teachers\' ability to assess healthy life choices and integrate HIV/AIDS into their classrooms, and helping communities access prevention information about HIV/AIDS.

Approximately $325,000 in Emergency Plan funds will be used to build upon the existing Peace Corps programs in the areas of primary teacher training and community well-being/positive living, focusing on capacity building for faith-based and other community organizations. Additionally, Emergency Plan funds will be used to provide technically improved trainings and project designs to volunteers and counterparts, and to support HIV/AIDS community initiated activities.

Through $1 million in Emergency Plan funding, the Peace Corps program in Zambia is expanding its Crisis Corps volunteer program and implementing a stand alone HIVAIDS project. These programs will provide a broad variety of education, prevention and nutrition services at the district and community level. Specifically, volunteers will work with local faith-based and community organizations to build capacity in prevention, care and support of people living with AIDS.

An additional $37,000 will be made available through the Centers for Disease Control to the Peace Corps program in Haiti to support training of volunteers and their counterparts on developing materials on stigma and prevention of HIV/AIDS. The funding will also help add a third year volunteer to coordinate volunteers working to support people living and working with HIV/AIDS.

Since 1961, more than 178,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, 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 27-month commitment.

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