Is the Peace Corps Keeping PCVs from Helping Host Country Nationals?

I just listened to a Tom Woods podcast of an interview with Gret Glyer who has created an app called DonorSee that allows anyone help in the developing world by using Glyer’s new app. The app program is only 4 months old and a month ago the Peace Corps issued an order that Peace Corps Volunteers were not permitted to be involved with the DonorSee organization. Glyer (and Tom Wood) see the use of the app as a way that Volunteers (as Americans) can be helpful by promoting donations between the US and the developing world. Woods and Glyer see the agency as standing in the way of giving immediate help to others. My guess it is the lawyers decision in the agency who have said ‘no” but the story that is getting back now to the US is that PCVs are not helping others, but are preventing any sort of help. Volunteers look like losers.

Listen yourself to the podcast and hear what Gret Glyer is saying about his efforts and what they have already done, and what the agency won’t let PCVs do overseas.
 

https://www.change.org/p/donald-trump-don-t-let-the-peace-corps-shut-us-down-we-re-transforming-lives-all-over-the-world

This petition is on line now

Don’t Let the Peace Corps Shut Us Down – We’re Transforming Lives All Over The World!

Gret Glyer United States
 

The Peace Corps, a 56-year-old organization, has issued a ban on the popular crowdfunding platform DonorSee. Here is a video explaining the ban, in detail: https://fb.com/glyer/videos/10158146781800068/.

DonorSee was designed to send aid to urgent situations faster than ever before. In 2016, DonorSee played an important role in providing desperately needed relief to the Haitian victims of Hurricane Matthew faster than any other major aid organization.

So why was DonorSee banned? The only stated reason was “federal regulations.” In other words, the Peace Corps wants to have total control over the aid that’s provided, despite countless examples of their being embarrassingly irresponsible with that “aid.”

Whatever your feelings about Donald Trump, they are secondary: DonorSee is helping the world’s most vulnerable, and the leader of the free world can lift this ban if he chooses.

Please sign this petition and share with your friends.

Lifting the Peace Corps monopoly will lead to very real results that you can be a part of, including:

If we do not lift the monopoly, the Peace Corps will continue to cut us off from providing funding to those in urgent need. Please sign and share, thank you for the support!

This petition will be delivered to:

21 Comments

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  • I think the PC should reverse this ban. Why would they want to restrict their volunteers from bringing life-saving help to people in dire need?

    I know the PC will probably do some virtue signalling by saying, “We want our focus to be on sustainable projects and not create dependency”. I understand that. But what about Gret’s example of the girl being attacked by a crocodile? Under the current rules, a PCV would have no resource for bringing her immediate help. The only resource is the crappy Peace Corps Donate website where it takes OVER A MONTH for the funds to actually get to the intended location: https://donate.peacecorps.gov/donate/faq/

    That dying kid in Africa might as well be dead.

  • FYI – Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to use crowdfunding IN ANY WAY during their service, this ban has nothing to do with the specific app, it is a blanket policy due to regulations that prohibit fundraising based on representation as a Peace Corps Volunteer. PCVs can assist locals with creating these campaigns, but the Peace Corps name cannot be used to generate funds of any kind.

    • Hi Caroline – it sounds like you are confirming what the petition is against: the Peace Corps (as the rules stand right now) is acting in a way that’s more interested in self-preservation than in getting effective aid to those in need.

      • I agree with John. The Peace Corps bans volunteers from helping people in need because of “representation as a Peace Corps volunteer”?

        So what, they’re afraid that saving someone’s life might hurt the Peace Corps brand???

        And if PCVs are helping locals with creating the campaigns and doing the legwork for them anyway, why not just remove this extra step in the process and let PCVs do it directly? Also, many crowdfunding sites only work for citizens of a short list of countries, so most Africans and South/Central Americans would not be able to do their own crowdfunding.

  • It has been many decades since I worked in the Developing World, but I can see some rationale for the Peace Corps’ policy.
    Some Peace Corps Volunteers are associated with the Ministry of Health. Here is the link to all the Peace Corps projects in Malawi.
    https://www.peacecorps.gov/malawi/projects/

    If Peace Corps Volunteers were also seen as financing health care for only some individuals, it might be viewed as favoritism. The clinics and hospitals might also have their own protocols for triaging patients. Volunteers are probably not the ones making those difficult decisions. I was assigned to a rural health clinic in South America. The clinic had a triage system and the nurse would decide each market day which 20 children would receive care, based on her quick evaluation of their illness. Mothers would beg me to intervene and get care for their child. But, if you know anything about triage, it has to be absolutely respected, or there can be chaos and no one gets treated. I would really like to hear from RPCVs who worked in Malawi for their perspective.

    Finally, as I understand it from the webpage for DonorSee, and I could have misunderstood, however it looks like to me that the money goes directly into the personal account of the aid worker and there is no oversight on how the money is spent. I can see where this might present problems for Peace Corps.

    • Too much oversight is actually the problem. The reason a third of Peace Corps volunteers drop out (today) is because the bureaucracy is too suffocating. They feel like they can’t make a difference so they just give up and go home.

      • It would be really good, John Elta, if you were to cite your source for that statistic. Also, are you a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer? It is really helpful to know who is commenting and where they are getting their information. Peace Corps does publish ET, Early Termination Rates.

        Thank you.
        Joanne Roll RPCV

          • Your reply, Mr. Elta, is inadequate and comes across as dissembling.
            If you were in a rush then make that your excuse.
            Just be more open. Don’t be coy. Don’t have a hidden agenda.
            You have just made this inquiring mind reader curious.
            Maybe it’s a time-waster but complete what you started.
            I have been reading that some persons are hacking into sites to make trouble for any number of reasons . ( I forget the term being used.)
            Just to save your reputation, give us more information about yourself.

          • John Elta,

            Your citation is an ABC News Report and an Interview with the Ludlams which is SIX years old! Chuch Ludlam was very concerned about the dropout rated. But in the reasons given for early terminination, not ONE says that Volunteers felt that they were “over regulated”.

            Since that six year old interview, legislation has passed that gave far more safety and security protectio to serving Volunteers. The Ludlams have worked with the Peace CorpsDirector Carrie Hessler-Radelet to make changes on how the Early Termination Rate is calculated and publiczed.

            I recommend that you go to the official Peace Corps website at peacecorps.gov and learn more about today’s Peace Corps. In the upper right hand corner, you wil fina a menu and you should look or search for reports.

            I feel very strongly that you have launched a criticism of Peace Corps on a six year old report. I think that is unfair.

            I want to echo Caroline’s statement. You see, John, if you were familiar with Peace Corps, you would know that the agency is a federal agency and that Congress legislates its structure. The rules and regulations are designed to make sure that Peace Corps staff and Volunteers operate within their legislative authority.

            It is so important that Peace Corps Volunteers and the people whom they serve are protected from “outsiders” who would manipulate or exploit them.

            I note that you have declined to identify yourself as to your organization and your agenda. That is telling.

  • What about my reply is inadequate, Edward? I was asked for a source, I provided one, and still my original point remains unaddressed. Here it is again: “Too much oversight is actually the problem. The reason a third of Peace Corps volunteers drop out (today) is because the bureaucracy is too suffocating. They feel like they can’t make a difference so they just give up and go home.”

    • John Elta,

      Please note my reply above to the citation you gave me. There is no basis in your citation for your statement:
      ““Too much oversight is actually the problem. The reason a third of Peace Corps volunteers drop out (today) is because the bureaucracy is too suffocating. They feel like they can’t make a difference so they just give up and go home.”

      Do you honnesty think that you can make stuff up, cite an article that is outdated and not relevant, and then expect us to support your efforts?

  • John Elta,

    It is good that you actually sought an offical, relatively current report on Early Termination. The report indicates that
    “Interrupted Service was 9%”, Administrative Separatin 1%, Medical Separation 25% and Resignation 65%. You asserted that there was a 30 % Early Termination rate due to “over regulation” and that supported your claim against the Peace Corps that the Peace Corps wasn’t “allowing” volunteers to participate in one particular funding raising effort.

    I think you understand now, that Peace Corps was following the law. Perhaps you should pursue your agenda with some other organization, perhaps an NGO.

    It is still up to you to justify your claim, now really reduced, that of the 26% of Volunteers who did not complete service, that 65% of that 26% left because of “over regulation.” You can’t justify that and you should apologize for your unsubstantiated assertion.

    Now, I absolutely will not speculate about why 600 or so Volunteers resigned. That is your responsibility, not mine. You obviously have not even talked to any actual Volunteers who resigned in 2015. Why don’t you start there.

    You also have failed to give any information about your experience or your current afflilation, despite our polite requests for you to do so.

  • Just checking back in to see if John Elta has answered Joanne Roll’s
    questions above about Mr Elta’s not responding responsibly about his experience
    that might be connected in some ways to the Peace Corps and his current affiliation.

    You know it used to be way back there perhaps in more trusting times
    a fashion not to name the writer of an editorial, just using a “we” as the source.

    Behind what is being essayed should be candor and responsible responses when sought
    nowadays. I hope I am not reading too much into this lack of a full disclosure.

    I don’t want
    to keep looking
    at these information blogs,
    getting evasions,
    partial responses,
    rhetorical circumlocutions.
    ” Jess sayin’ ” as my younger interlocutors keep sayin’
    (but who this “Jess” is is never explained).
    So Mr Elta jess spit it out!

      • I know you’re going to say these names or any names might be fictitious, but why even start talking and writing without a level field. Surely the need for some kind of surety isn’t passe.

        • SUNSHINE LIGHTS THE PATH FORWARD said the new mayor of Oakland about the Ghost Ship fire. And I just sort of laughed at how simplistic that sounded until I let it sink in. She was talking about the deaths of 39 people and saying City departments need to have better intergovernmental communications. There is no question.

  • I believe your rant against the Peace Corps is totally misdirected. Peace Corps rules prevent them from promoting organizations like yours, but not from helping the host country folks they are working with apply for funding through your website. When I was a PCV my fellow volunteers and I worked with local folks to get funding from US AID, UN sources and a variety of private NGOs. Unfortunately there was no internet at the time, so things were a lot slower!

    My point is that the Peace Corps, as a US government organization, in the host country by invitation of their government, can not show favoritism by allowing its name to be associated with any particular private organization. That’s not a monopoly, it’s just the way a bureaucracy involving 2 governments has to work.

    Believe me, we all got frustrated working with both the Peace Corps and host country government bureaucracies back in the day (1970s for me) too. And we were talking months to get something done rather than the days or weeks you are talking about!

    PCVs go home early for lots of reasons, many of them very personal in my experience. In my own mind, I’ve never resolved the question of who made the right decision, those who went home early or those of us who stuck it out struggling with the bureaucracy from inside it.

    • One more thing. Has Mr. Glyer considered that by calling President Trump’s attention to the Peace Corps in a negative way with his petition, he may irreparably harm this organization. The Peace Corps was formed by an executive order of President John Kennedy, and could be abolished by an executive order of President Donald Trump. Sadly this outcome would not surprise me at all.

      So, Mr. Glyer, if you, like me, believe that Peace Corps volunteers do a lot of good despite the bureaucracy, please withdraw your petition before it gets the attention of President Trump or his top advisors! Of course if your objective all along has been to destroy the Peace Corps out of spite, then just keep on.

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