Celebrating the Peace Corps @50

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

As the Peace Corps marked 50th anniversary of engagement in The Gambia, it is difficult to quantify the effect that it has on the country, but without doubt its volunteers have made their marks in all areas and initiative that they worked.

The first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in The Gambia at the invitation of the Gambian government in September 1967. They worked in skilled trades as mechanics, engineers, and carpenters, and they organised village cooperatives.

Now, with 50 years of continuous activity, over 1,800 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in The Gambia working with their communities on projects in agriculture, education, and health.

In all manner of work and life, the volunteers work in partnership with the people, mainly the local communities, to empower individuals and communities, build capacity, and promote cross-cultural understanding.

The engagement of Peace Corps Volunteers has positively touched almost every facet, every area of endeavour in The Gambia: helping in advocacy, poverty reduction initiatives, improving agricultural productivity, building the capacity of teachers and promoting improved teaching methods, helping address the health concerns, promotion gender equality in access to quality education and empowering girls and women to succeed in all spheres of life, and engaging in food security activities. 

Peace Corps has, over the years, significantly complemented government’s efforts in mitigating the challenges in some of the keep sectors such as health, education and agriculture and they continue to do so.

Based on the tradition of selfless service, volunteers put the lives, welfare and at times, security of others before their very own. The have integrated well in our communities, taking up local names and speaking their languages, which is a clear indication of integration to belong in the communities.  This is indeed heart-touching. 

We salute their courage, admire their determination and applaud their service.  Through their relentless and selfless service, we thank them and the government of America for its investment in our people, the people of The Gambia, especially the youth. 

There probably might have been some tense moments in the 50 years of engagement, but the Peace Corps has remained steadfast and its volunteers have honourably upheld its tradition of selfless service to The Gambia. 

“The Peace Corps is an outstanding organization that promotes peace through helping countless individuals who want to help build a better life for the community in which they serve”

Solomon Ortiz