Peace Corps Volunteers Return to Ethiopia

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 2007 43 Peace Corps Volunteer trainees depart the United States this weekend for Ethiopia, officially reopening the Peace Corps/Ethiopia program.

Since the announcement of re-entry last year, Peace Corps staff have been working diligently with Ethiopian officials to get the agencys newest program up and running. We are all very excited to return to Ethiopia and renew our relationship with the people, said Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter.

Forty-three Peace Corps Volunteers will arrive in Ethiopia next week, officially reopening the program. While all 43 will be focused on health, 30 of the group will be funded by the Presidents Plan for Emergency Relief (PEPFAR) and will collaborate directly with PEPFAR implementing organizations and the Ethiopian Ministry of Health. They will focus on three main components under PEPFAR: 1) Care and Treatment; 2) Orphan and Vulnerable Children services; and 3) Treatment, including Home Based Care services.

The group of 43 Volunteers will include six experienced Volunteers who have served in five other African countries: Burkina Faso, Lesotho, Guinea, Swaziland and Tanzania. The group also includes two 50-plus Volunteers, two married couples and an Ethiopian-American.

Ethiopia was one of the very first countries to invite Peace Corps to establish its program in 1962, just one year after the Peace Corps was founded. The primary focus of the program was on education, with the goal of training skilled workers and promoting economic development. In addition, Volunteers worked in agriculture, basic education, tourism, health, economic development and teaching English as a foreign language.

The Peace Corps remained in Ethiopia until 1977 and returned again in 1995 but suspended the program again in 2000 due to security concerns during the border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. A total of 2,934 Peace Corps Volunteers served in Ethiopia over those years.

Since 1961, more than 187,000 Peace Corps 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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