Peace Corps Signs Agreement with Japanese Volunteer Agency

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 25, 2005 Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez traveled to Japan this week to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), marking the first alliance between Peace Corps and the Japanese volunteer agency.

Director Vasquez and JICA Vice President Kazuhisa Matsuoka met at a ceremony in Tokyo today to sign the historic agreement.

Peace Corps and JICA have a long history of partnership at individual posts, said Director Vasquez. This agreement will allow us to expand collaboration on larger-scale development projects, which are greatly needed throughout the developing world.

The agreement between the Peace Corps and JICA provides a framework for collaboration between the Peace Corps and the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV), which is responsible for international volunteer programs and activities.

Currently, Peace Corps and JICA volunteers have formed thriving partnerships in 16 countries across the world. In places as diverse as Tonga and Kenya to Fiji and Malawi, volunteers from both organizations are working together in a variety of ways. They collaborate on community development projects, are engaged in joint teaching assignments and participate in awareness-raising events in areas ranging from youth development to health education and business training.

Honduras and Mongolia are excellent examples of the ongoing collaboration between the two organizations. Most recently, Peace Corps and JICA volunteers in Honduras were recognized by the Honduran Ministry of Health as one of their most successful grassroots awareness efforts on a regional level for HIV/AIDS. As a result, the ministry has asked the volunteers to conduct similar HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns in other regions.

In Mongolia, three Peace Corps volunteers and their JICA counterparts were selected to serve on the National Volunteers Day Committee. Together, these volunteers planned and participated in national volunteerism activities, raising the awareness of the value of their work and the spirit of volunteerism in the country. The success of this one day event will have an immeasurable impact on the people of Mongolia.

Since 1965 JICA has advanced the socio-economic development and reconstruction of partner countries by sending Japanese citizens to serve as volunteers. Today, 4,400 JICA volunteers are serving worldwide. In its 40-year history, JICA has deployed more than 29,000 volunteers to 80 countries.

Since 1961, more than 182,000 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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