According to NBC News, the Peace Corps will resume sending volunteers overseas later this month, restarting activities after being forced to evacuate 7,000 members from more than 60 nations when the epidemic started.
A staged strategy will be used for redeployment, with the first sets of soldiers being sent to Zambia and the Dominican Republic. The Peace Corps will deploy new volunteers as well as volunteers who have already been evacuated, and it is now seeking people for positions in 24 countries.
In addition to their main tasks, all volunteers will be active in the reaction and recovery efforts for COVID-19 in each of the countries. The company will join Global VAX, a new project by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to speed the supply of U.S. vaccines around the globe.
Carol Spahn, CEO of the Peace Corps, delivered a keynote talk for Peace Corps Week 2022. “In the 1960s and 1970s, it was smallpox vaccine; in the 1980s, it was Guinea worm eradication; and since the early 1990s, it has been malaria and HIV prevention,” she said.
In her words, “we are a part of these initiatives at the final mile, reaching some of the most remote and vulnerable communities.”
The 61st anniversary of the Peace Corps was commemorated at Peace Corps Week 2022, which took place during the first week of March this year. Established by President John F. Kennedy in March 1961, the agency has deployed more than 240,000 Americans to 124 nations since its inception.
According to NBC News, the COVID-19 pandemic evacuation was the first of its kind in the organization’s history. On its return from its two-year sabbatical, the Peace Corps established a virtual service program to collaborate with international partners and sent 150 volunteers to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist with the COVID-19 disaster relief effort in the United States.
According to NBC News, the first volunteers in Zambia will begin working with the health ministry later this month to give COVID-related education and vaccination access to the country’s citizens. Volunteers in the Dominican Republic will work with communities to address issues such as literacy skills and school dropout rates that have been exacerbated by the epidemic.
In the months of April, May, and June, further units will be sent to other nations. Candidates may learn more about the Peace Corps’ 24 host countries and eligibility criteria by visiting the organization’s website. Before being deployed, volunteers will be required to get a complete course of vaccinations.
In particular, underdeveloped nations have been disproportionately impacted by the epidemic, with the Peace Corps estimating that development gains in certain countries have been pushed back by 10 to 25 years.
According to Spahn’s February email, “the reintroduction of volunteers will be deliberate, combining the health and safety requirements of host communities and volunteers with the urgent need to contribute to enormous development difficulties.”
Spahn also said that the Peace Corps would revise its strategy to deal with sexual assault, both in the United States and in host countries, in the future. The organization is now working on a new framework to help it improve its Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Response program, which will be released later in the year.
According to Spahn, the overarching strategic plan of the organization will place a strong emphasis on accountability, equality, and openness. In February, the group filed a proposal to Congress that specifies additional objectives, such as expanding collaborations with 13 Historically Black Colleges and Universities and reviewing laws that prevent minority populations from participating in federal programs.
“This is not the Peace Corps you remember from a decade, a decade and a half, or even two years ago,” Spahn said during the keynote presentation. The enduring magic that pulls us together again and again — after all these years — to support an organization and a purpose we love and care about has been retained while the components that make us better have been profoundly changed.