Early Termination Rates of Response Volunteers Compared – RPCVs to Non-RPCVs

One of the major changes made by Peace Corps in 2010 was to include non-RPCVs in the Peace Corps Response Program. The decision to include non-RPCVs was announced in the 2010 Peace Corps Comprehensive Agency Assessment Report. (https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/opengov/PC_Comprehensive_Agency_Assessment.pdf) Peace Corps Response had begun in 1995 as the Crisis Corps. It was designed to utilize the unique experience of RPCVs by deploying them to help in emergencies, almost always in foreign countries. Later, the name was changed to Peace Corps Response and the mandate was expanded to send RPCVS  on short term technical or professional  assignments. Today, Peace Corps Response is open to returned Volunteers or those with significant professional and technical experience willing to serve usually three to twelve months in host countries.

The Response Volunteers do not receive the extensive 12 week cultural and language training that “traditional” Volunteers have received. The Responsive program has a week’s orientation program.  It has been expanded to include programs and employees  from the organizations that have partnered with Peace Corps, such as the IBM four week Response program. (http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/1625-2/) The Global Health Seed Program is perhaps the most ambitious of these partnerships. (https://www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/is-peace-corps-right-for-me/global-health-service-partnership/)

One of the questions raised about the entrance  of non-RPCVs into the Response program was: Do they have early termination rates comparable to RPCVs in the program? I made a FOIA request to get some answers. Below is the chart I received in response.

Summary*
PCRVs RPCV only Not RPCV
Total Number 2541 2311 229
Number of Ets 365 311 54
Percent 14.4% 13.5% 23.6%
*The PCR ET numbers and percentages are cumulative data based on data from FY 1996 (the year the PC response program was established) through FY 2015.

Please note: RPCVs have been in the Response program from 1995.  Their ET Rate is over 20 years. The non-RPCVs have been in the Response program for four to five years and their ET Rate is over a much shorter period. I appealed  for further clarification, perhaps on a year to year basis to establish trends, if possible. My appeal was denied.

I believe the Peace Corps Response program has been excellent in implementing the First Goal: “meeting the need for trained personnel in interested countries.” However, there are many different component programs under the Response umbrella; the Global Health Seed Program, in which medical educators are assigned to teach in host countries hospitals  for a year and receive compensation to offset the cost of volunteering to the four week IMB partnership to non-RPCV Volunteers who may be assigned individually. This important program deserves a comprehensive evaluation to answer many questions about what is the best way for the program to move forward. Such an evaluation might also provide clues on the best way to continue to improve the “traditional” Peace Corps programs.

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