MONROVIA – In a concerted effort to boost Liberia’s educational and health sectors, Peace Corps Liberia welcomed a new group of volunteers into its ranks for a two-year service in Liberia.  The 12 new volunteers are the first batch of volunteers to return to Liberia since 2020 when the Peace Corps evacuated volunteers because of COVID-19.

After 11 weeks of language and cultural training, the volunteers were sworn-in on Thursday, August 17, 2023, by USAID Mission director Jim Wright, who is also serving as acting deputy chief of mission at the United States Embassy in Monrovia.

Wright urged the volunteers to exemplify the highest standards that the United States has to offer the world, particularly Liberia. He emphasized the importance of cultural immersion and encouraged volunteers to engage with their assigned communities with open arms and kindness as they strive to make a positive impact.

More than 80 people including representatives from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Development Planning (MFDP), officials from U.S. Embassy and former Peace Corps Volunteers,  attended the swearing-in ceremony at Monrovia City Hall.

Madam Vernice Guthrie, director of Peace Corps Liberia, lauded the volunteers for their commitment to Liberia. She urged the volunteers to represent America and their diverse backgrounds during their service.

Peace Corps’ return is testament to the organization’s commitment to Liberia, she said.

More than 3,000 volunteers served in Liberia from 1962 to 1990. The program shut down during the civil war and returned in 2008 with 12 Peace Corps Response volunteers. In June 2010, Peace Corps welcomed the first group of traditional two-year volunteers who focused on secondary education programs and worked as English, science, and math teachers. Peace Corps evacuated volunteers in July 2014 because of the Ebola crisis.  Peace Corps Response Volunteers returned in June 2015. A year later, two-year education volunteers returned and resumed working in all 15 counties.

The 12 new volunteers are working in the education and health sectors in Margibi, Bong and Grand Bassa counties.

G. Wesseh Blamo, the minister of state for presidential affairs who represented President George M. Weah, thanked Peace Corps for its contributions in shaping the minds of Liberians through education, livelihood, agriculture, and healthcare.

Education Minister Ansu Dao Sonii, Sr. lauded the Peace Corps for boosting Liberia’s education sector.  He highlighted the historic partnership between the Ministry of Education and the US Peace Corps, since 1962. He encouraged the new volunteers to familiarize themselves with their new environment and to promptly report any challenges they encounter during their service.

He urged Peace Corps Liberia to integrate  Liberian educators in volunteer training programs, especially educations who have worked with the organization.