Ask Not What Can You Do For Your Country, But Why Can You Do for Coca-Cola?

Peace Corps is in partnership with 42 public and private organizations.  Coca-Cola is one such effort. Together with USAID and Coca-Cola, Peace Corps Volunteers work on promoting clean water projects. Such programs are certainly worthwhile. The training materials that Volunteers distribute have the USAID emblem, the Coca-Cola name and the Peace Corps logo. My question is simply” Who benefits most from this “branding”?

Here is the link to the Peace Corps 2012 press notice  announcing  the new partnership: http://www.peacecorps.gov/media/forpress/press/2129/

The National Peace Corps Association webpage described a Congressional briefing, arranged by the Peace Corps Forum, to describe the various partnerships.To read the article, here is the link: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/2014/10/hill-briefing-highlights-peace-corps-innovation/ From that article:

“These efforts were highlighted on Capitol Hill at an October 28th briefing sponsored by the House Peace Corps Caucus. The briefing featured the agency and several of its newest partners, who discussed upcoming programs and innovations. Curt Tarnoff, a specialist in foreign affairs believes that these new relationships will promote sustainable growth and development on both ends, and in the end, will achieve shared objectives.”

I asked questions about the Coca Cola partnership and was directed to the Peace Corps Press Office.  Here are the questions and the response from the Peace Corps Press Office:

1) Do the names Peace Corps and Coca-Cola appear on learning materials distributed by PCVs for the for-profit corporations, such as Coca-Cola?

The Water and Development Alliance (WADA) is a partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that addresses community water needs in developing countries around the world. In 2012, the Peace Corps partnered with WADA to jointly create water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) training curriculum for the use of Peace Corps staff and Volunteers. This curriculum was piloted at a workshop in West Africa, then finalized and made available to Peace Corps staff and Volunteers worldwide doing work in the WASH sector. Per the terms of the partnership agreement, the Peace Corps agrees that the use of its name and logo may be used in conjunction with the logos of WADA, USAID and Coca-Cola Company on the WASH Training Package, fact sheet and conference materials. Neither staff nor Volunteers distribute these materials widely.

2) If Peace Corps Volunteers were not working in partnership with these corporations, would the corporations be hiring host country nationals to do this work?

No.

3) Do Volunteers ever get free samples of the actual product, for example Coca-Cola, to distribute in their host communities?

No.

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