Chief Executive Officer’s Message:
Since the new year, words from Amanda Gorman’s “New Day Lyric” have been echoing in my mind. In it she says, “Tethered by this year of yearning, we are learning, that though we weren’t ready for this, we have been readied by it.” I cannot help but repeat these words as I reflect on the Peace Corps’ journey to return Volunteers to service overseas. There have been bumps in the road, but we have learned a great deal along the way. The challenges have prepared us to meet the moment by infusing new innovation into our time-tested approaches, holding our most valued partners – the communities where our Volunteers are invited to serve – at the center of all we do, and aligning our work more explicitly to our values.
The return of Volunteers will be intentional, balancing the health and safety considerations of host communities and Volunteers with the urgent need to contribute to immense development challenges. That being said, we anticipate we will send off our first Volunteers in March! To kick-off our 61st year and to learn how the community and Volunteer experience will be different as we return to service, please join in our Peace Corps Week celebrations. I am so grateful for your enduring support of the Peace Corps.
Join us in celebrating Peace Corps Week from February 27 to March 5! Peace Corps Week commemorates President John F. Kennedy’s establishment of the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. This year’s theme, “Meet the Moment,” recognizes the many ways that Peace Corps network members have met the challenges of the past year, setting the stage for the Peace Corps’ ambitious agenda—one focused on innovation, intentional change, and accountability. For more information and to register for virtual events, visit the Peace Corps Week 2022website.
The Return of Volunteers to Service Overseas
The Peace Corps has developed a comprehensive process to return Volunteers to service, incorporating a robust set of readiness factors. You can learn more about the agency’s re-entry process here. To date, the agency has issued invitations for Volunteers to serve at 24 Peace Corps posts! The Peace Corps anticipates that the first groups of Volunteers will begin their service in March in Zambia and the Dominican Republic. These groups will include evacuated Volunteers, evacuated Trainees, and new two-year Volunteers. If conditions permit, additional groups will follow in April, May, and June as the agency steadily builds back its Volunteer corps. Tune in to The Peace Corps Reimagined: A Keynote Address and Forum on March 3 to learn which countries have received preliminary approval and are issuing invitations!
COVID-19 Response and Recovery
COVID-19 has impacted every country around the world, and has disproportionately impacted developing countries. In fact, it is estimated that COVID-19 has set back ten to twenty-five years of development gains. In January 2022, Peace Corps staff finalized a COVID-19-specific Logical Project Framework (LPF) that aligns with the U.S. COVID-19 Global Response and Recovery Framework. Currently, all Peace Corps posts are supporting COVID-19 program efforts, and all Volunteers will be expected to contribute to these efforts as they return to service overseas. Complementing this work, the agency is also participating in an initiative for Global Vaccine Access (Global VAX), a new interagency effort aiming to accelerate U.S. vaccine delivery assistance around the world.
New Opportunities to Support Host Country Partners Virtually
For more than a year, returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) have been donating their time and services to host country partner projects through virtual engagements. RPCVs interested in reconnecting with the Peace Corps and its partners and who can provide five to 15 hours of time and expertise per week should monitor the Virtual Service Pilot (VSP) opportunities open exclusively to RPCVs. RPCVs may engage in their former country of service or another country. Check out current virtual opportunities here.
A Roadmap for Broadening the Peace Corps’ Approach to Sexual Violence.
Sexual violence is a pervasive global health issue and the Peace Corps is stepping up to support a shift from a public safety to a public health approach through a comprehensive prevention strategy for Volunteers and community members. Guided by expert recommendations made by the Sexual Assault Advisory Council (SAAC), an independent advisory council established by Congress, and public feedback collected during a two-week period in December, the Peace Corps has been developing a roadmap which will detail how it will further strengthen the Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Response (SARRR) program and related programming. Once available, a press release and the roadmap will be posted here.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities 2022 Agency Plan
For nearly 40 years, the Peace Corps has supported the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), formerly known as the White House Initiative on HBCUs. The Peace Corps’ 2022 HBCU Agency Plan extends deeper stakeholder support to the 13 HBCUs hosting Peace Corps Prep or Paul D. Coverdell Fellows programs; expands HBCU marketing and recruitment for Peace Corps employment, internships, and Volunteer programs; and reinforces the Peace Corps’ commitment to assessing internal processes and policies that impede participation of underrepresented communities in programs and other opportunities. The HBCU 2022 Agency Plan was submitted to Congress in February 2022.
The Federal Government Distance Learning Association’s Five Star Award
Through the Peace Corps’ LearningSpace Course Developer Certificate program, over 800 Peace Corps staff members have been trained to support the agency’s digital learning efforts to support Volunteers’ return to the field and to develop learning modules for staff. The training program resulted in the creation of over 200 online courses. The Peace Corps recently received the Five Star Award from the Federal Government Distance Learning Association in recognition of this program. A Peace Corps staff member, Peter Bergh, was also honored with the Pioneer Award for his leadership around the development of these distance learning tools.
The Peace Corps in Photos