The Peace Corps announced last week it will start sending volunteers overseas again in the middle of March. The U.S. government agency removed volunteers from their positions around the world two years ago at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
An early group of new volunteers and those who were evacuated in March 2020 will go to Zambia and the Dominican Republic this month, the Peace Corps said in a statement.
The Peace Corps plans to return volunteers to their posts throughout the year. It is currently seeking candidates for 24 posts.
“Over the past two years, our primary goal has been to return volunteers to the more than 60 countries that are enthusiastically awaiting their return,” said Peace Corps chief Carol Spahn. “And, we have weathered the waves and variants of the COVID-19 situation at each post and reengineered Peace Corps systems, policies, and procedures” to meet the current situation, she added.
Along with their main work on local issues, Peace Corps volunteers will also be involved in COVID-19 recovery, the Peace Corps said.
In Zambia, volunteers will work with local leaders to provide COVID-19 education and promote availability of vaccinations for communities, officials said.
In the Dominican Republic, the efforts will center on helping communities deal with issues that were worsened by the pandemic. Those issues include increased school dropout rates, improving reading skills and preparing young adults for work.
The Peace Corps marks its 61st anniversary this month. Two years ago, it had 7,000 volunteers in 62 countries, when they were evacuated and sent back to the United States.
Since those evacuations, the Peace Corps has used volunteers to help with the COVID-19 response within the U.S. It also developed and tested an online service program.
More than 240,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers around the world since the program was created in 1961. The aim is to help countries meet their development needs through several kinds of programs — from education to health to agriculture. The aim also is also to help promote a better understanding of Americans and American life. Usual service lasts two years after a training period.
I’m Ashley Thompson.
Lisa Rathke reported this story for the Associated Press. Ashley Thompson adapted it for VOA Learning English.
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Words in This Story
evacuate - v. to remove (someone) from a dangerous place
post - n. the place where someone does a job
primary - adj. most important
procedure - n. a series of actions that are done in a certain way or order : an established or accepted way of doing something
promote - v. to help (something) happen, develop, or increase
response - n. something that is done as a reaction to something else