One year ago the Peace Corps community was rallying to help thousands of evacuated Volunteers — and many were diving in to help their communities in crisis. Now in 2021, we’re working to bolster support for the most comprehensive Peace Corps legislation in decades — which will shape a better and stronger Peace Corps for the future. We’re calling on the Peace Corps community to raise their voices and make sure that we enlist the support of more members of Congress than ever before in this effort.
This week we’re also celebrating the fact that a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer has stepped into a role to lead long-needed reforms in the State Department: Career diplomat Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, who began her service to this country as a Volunteer in Oman, has been named the first-ever chief diversity and inclusion officer. If we want our diplomatic corps to truly represent the country — and look like this country — there’s serious work to do.
At the same time, as if we needed reminding, here at home, we’ve got serious work to do nurturing a better, truer, and more equitable sense of community. But in a world beset by violence, that work is woven into the mission of building peace and friendship.
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Thank you, John, and thanks, Glenn, for the reminders to support the $450M legislation and John Garamendi’s bill, which among many things, includes some reasonable (finally) initial health insurance coverage for returning volunteers and strengthens volunteer safety and security.
I would also like to thank you, John, and thanks, Glenn, for the reminder to support RPCV and Congressman John Garamendi’s bill. I contacted my Congressman about the bill (Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois). As you may know, I an quite the Peace Corps advocate. Here is a sample:
Yet…that being said….I have ideas for the new budget. If the bill passes, I have some ideas for the extra 40 million dollars in the new Peace Corps budget:
1) Safety and Security: I was a PCV in South Africa from 2016-2018. On average, there were 140 volunteers and just 3 safety and security personnel. One idea would to increase that number to 9.. There are 9 provinces in South Africa. Why not have one safety and security personnel per province at a bare minimum….now that you can afford it?. At every Peace Corps training session safety and security issues were ALWAYS….front and center.
The Peace Corps is not the Armed Forces, nor is its supposed to be. That being said their should be “someone” nearby to reach out to in times of trouble and emergency matters. When I had problems arise in my village (and they did from time to time) a safety and security person had to drive 6 hours to resolve the matter. In that 6 hour span, the problem often escalated.
I have no idea just how much it takes to train a PCT to bring him or her to PCV status. Yet, I do know that adding additional safety and security personnel would pay for itself resulting in less PCVs quitting the Peace Corps due to safety concerns.
2) There should be a HCN Co-Country Director. In short, its their country. The HCN Co-Country Director pay should be the same as the American Country Director’s pay. Plain and Simple. They can work together to create miracles in the post-pandemic Peace Corps era.
3) HCN Counterparts should be paid. Our counterparts are not just johnny-on-the-spot helpers when the Peace Corps decides they need them. The HCN Counterparts are invaluable cultural liaisons and should be paid as such. “Nuff said.