Peace Corps Journal is a story that never ends that is written by volunteers around the world.
The Vision of The Peace Corps
The Peace Corps is a volunteer program that allows people who are American citizens to spend two years in another country in various helping aspects after three months of training.
The program was established by Executive Order by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, and was authorized by congress in September of that same year by the passage of the Peace Corps Act.
The main purpose of the Peace Corp is to help Americans understand the cultures of the other countries of the world, and to help other cultures understand Americans.
Typically, a Peace Corps worker has a college degree and many times the type of work that the volunteer performs may have something to do with that person’s field of study. Since the inception of the Peace Corps in 1961, over 220,000 have become a volunteer member of the Peace Corps and they have served in 140 different countries of the world.
The idea for a non-military humanitarian emissary had been floating around Congress before President Kennedy was elected, as in 1957 there were bills introduced to form such an organization. However, the idea had little support and it got nowhere.
Senator Hubert Humphrey was an initial enthusiast for the idea and he introduced bills in Congress to attempt to give the idea traction, but he met with no success, as it was at the time an unpopular idea. President Kennedy got the ball rolling in his inauguration speech with his “what you can do for your country” line.
Now here was a young president bringing a new vision to the country and college students embraced the idea. In August of 1961 the first group of volunteers left for Tanzania and Ghana, and withing two years there were over 7,300 Peace Corps volunteers who were serving in over 44 countries. By 1966 the number of volunteers had swollen to 15,000 and the new program was off the ground and running.
Initially, the requirements to become a Peace Corps volunteer were general in nature. However, different countries began to request more people who had technical skills, such as geologists who were among the first skilled people who were requested.
Among some of the programs that the Peace Corps have take to other lands includes an initiative to eradicate malaria in African countries. The initial push was to the country of Senegal, and it now includes over 24 African countries.
A lot of work has been done over the years in the environmental areas such as land management, water control, efficient farming techniques, environmental education and alternative sources of fuel.
The three primary programs in the environmental area are protected areas management, Forestry, and Awareness. Volunteers work with locals in areas of wildlife management, working parks, community based conservation, forest sustainability, and revenue raising for environmental protection.
The environmental education has volunteers working in schools, working with farmers to assist in making farming profitable, the creation of environmental groups, soil conservation, urban management of sanitation facilities, water source location, ways of generating money and sources of funds, and vegetable gardening.
Forestry work involves soil conservation information, flood control, agroforestry, biodiversity production and fire control.
The type of work that the volunteers will be doing when they arrive at their destination is pretty well determined before they leave US soil. Many of the countries that they go to are agrarian in nature and any help in the sustainability of agriculture is always needed. Geologists are always in demand for water and mineral work, and volunteers with agriculture backgrounds and training are in great demand.
Being a Peace Corps volunteer can be a challenging experience, but the majority of volunteers feel that they got more out of the experience than did the people that they went to help.