In 1967, after experiencing a devastating cyclone, Samoa invited the Peace Corps to the country. The first Volunteers worked in rural villages, leading health and hygiene projects for the Department of Health. These early Volunteers remain well known for the introduction of water-seal toilets.
The next groups to follow were civil engineers, architects, accountants, statisticians, and economic planners who served under the Public Works Department. One early Volunteer was the architect of the present Parliament building at Mulinu’u and the supporting offices of the Legislative Assembly.
Volunteers also had a significant impact on infrastructure development, including the Faleolo International Airport terminal and school buildings. Some took up prominent executive positions in various government departments, such as acting directors of public works.
In health care, Volunteers have served as researchers in the effort to control the parasitic disease filariasis and have worked at the National Hospital as nutrition educators and dietitians. Other Volunteers have worked as small business advisers and as youth development workers.
The majority of Volunteers, however, have been classroom teachers and advisers with the Ministry of Education. They have helped build the capacity of local teachers by serving in classrooms, working directly with students and supporting the professional development of teachers. Volunteers have taught in a variety of subject areas, including business, computer studies, English, mathematics, and science.
Many Samoans, including the current prime minister, have been touched by the Peace Corps and are happy to share stories about their favorite Pisikoa teacher, colleague, or friend.