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Peace Corps Country Director Ends Tour Of Duty

Nov 6, 2009, 2:33 PM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

Having served as the Country Director of Peace Corps in The Gambia since July 2007, Mike McConnell is set to leave the shores of The Gambia.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with this reporter yesterday at his office, located at Kairaba Avenue, the outgoing Peace Corps country boss did not hesitate to express his admiration with the Gambian culture and people.

"Most of my experiences is helping people set businesses. And I have some people in California who want me to help them start some business. Am sure I will do that. I also have a lot of things that I have been working on with The Gambia that I will continue to work on. I have a Gambia rising, 15 students have been sponsored by friends of mine in California, some on micro-finance projects that I have started, all of these are on personal level initiatives.

I have also started a small school in India in 1967; I would like to do some work on that too.

According to him, currently there are 80 Peace Corps volunteers in The Gambia, out of which 10 will be returning soon. He was quick to reveal that they were expecting 35 other volunteers last night."

"We work mostly on improving the quality of their programme. The volunteers always came with lots of enthusiasm, lots of energy and as a result, they work hard in improving the timing and development of projects.

"Our new Education Manager, for example, is working very hard to ensure that the cluster monitors and head teachers are all committed to improving quality in schools.

They are to help all the volunteers working on fund security. This is why am so excited about the man coming next as Country Director because he is an expert on food security.

"Our idea was that if you are a teacher in a rural village you must know something about gardening. You must know something about nutrition."

Noting that there are some challenges, he said, the government has been very supportive and really appreciates what the do.

Mike will be replaced by Mr. Cornish.

It?s worth mentioning that Peace Corps was created to promote world peace and friendship, and their main areas of interventions are health, education and community development.

He further revealed that his organisation started working in The Gambia some 40 years ago with over 1500 volunteers who came to the country.