Secretary Powell Visits Volunteers in Ecuador

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2004 – U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell met with 18 Peace Corps volunteers recently while visiting Quito, Ecuador. The volunteers shared their experiences with Powell and discussed their community projects.

“What a great feeling, being in the midst of this man, it was a thrill,” said volunteer Charlotte Lucero, regarding the experience.
photo of Secretary Powell with Peace Corps Volunteers in Ecuador
Secretary Powell recently met with volunteers in Ecuador.

The volunteers met Secretary Powell at the residence of Ambassador Kristie Anne Kenney, who invited them for the occasion. Secretary Powell took time out of his schedule to meet with volunteers while he was in Ecuador to attend the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly meeting. The OAS, comprised of representatives from the 34 democratically elected governments in the Western hemisphere, meets to discuss issues of mutual interest, including the promotion of peace, strengthening of democracy and improvement of human rights throughout the hemisphere.

In Ecuador, the Peace Corps is working to improve the lives of Ecuadorians with a variety of projects. Currently there are more than 150 volunteers serving in Ecuador. Projects in the country include animal production, agriculture, health, natural resource conservation and youth development.

Many of the Peace Corps projects are coordinated at local levels to incorporate income generation and small business development. Last year, volunteers helped more than 4,000 families eat more nutritiously by encouraging crop diversification. Health project volunteers concentrate on the roughly 15 percent of Ecuadorian children under age 5 who are suffering from vitamin A deficiency. In addition to helping alleviate malnutrition, volunteers in Ecuador are working with school teachers to promote health education and to disseminate HIV/AIDS prevention information.

Since 1961, more than 171,000 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 two-year commitment.

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