What will Peace Corps look like in 2018?

Who knows? Before sequestration, before Congressional gridlock, before the government shutdown, before the possibility of default, Peace Corps Washington was in the process of answering that question. The Peace Corps Annual Report for 2012 called for a Strategic Plan 2015 – 2018 to be developed. The Report further stated that input for the development of the 2015-2018 Agency Strategic Plan would be solicited from many different sources, including Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

“How could Returned Peace Corps Volunteers contribute to this plan?” I asked.  The Press Team responded:

“The agency began engaging RPCVs in the development of the new strategic plan with three focused discussions with RPCVs during the career conference in February.  Moving forward, the agency will gather additional feedback on the draft strategic plan from RPCV groups in late summer and Fall 2013.  We will also be providing an email address where individual RPCVs can send their input.”

Erin Durney at the Press Office had been most helpful and promised to check back with the Strategic Planning Team in September and let me know about the status of the email address for RPCV input. I had not heard from her when the Government Shutdown went into effect. I don’t know  the current status of the Strategic Plan for 2015 – 2018. Nor could I find the draft on the official Peace Corps website.

Even if it is not possible to review and comment on the actual draft, we certainly can forward our vision of Peace Corps 2018 to the Director. Mail is still being delivered to:

Peace Corps

Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Headquarters

1111 20th Street NW

Washington, D.C. 20526

This would be an excellent time to support John Coyne’s recommendation to distribute laptops, or even smart phones, to students of PCV teachers. He thoughtfully provided Director Hessler-Radelet’s email address: chessler@peacecorps.gov

The proposed Strategic Plan 2015-2018  may not be just as bureaucratic exercise. In the landmark June 2010 report, The Peace Corps: A Comprehensive Agency Assessment, Peace Corps detailed its intent to open Peace Corps Response to non-RPCVs and to expand its partnerships with NGOs, and other public and private organizations. Such items signaled the current major reorganization in Peace Corps.

The results of the 2016 election may bring new political appointees and philosophy to the Peace Corps.The ongoing fiscal crisis may have unforeseen consequences for the agency. But in this current interval, there is opportunity to share in crafting the future of Peace Corps. We know that at least someone in Washington will listen!

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