29 Peace Corps sworn in – volunteers to work in the various regions for two years
By Natasha Jacha
The Peace Corps Group 47 Community Economic Development and Health trainees became full-fledged volunteers this week after 9 weeks of training.
The 29 volunteers were sworn in at a ceremony held at the Andreas Kukuri Conference Centre in Offhanded and will now start their two-year journey of service in the various regions.
“These volunteers have dedicated themselves and the next two years of their lives to helping their fellow human beings. They join more than 100 Peace Corps Volunteers already in Namibia doing the same,” said U.S. Ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson.
Willie Boonzaaier from Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation said he can only imagine what motivates the Volunteers to make this commitment to face an unknown amount of challenges in Namibia.
“I am sure you have much to give, but you also have much to gain,” said Willie, who encouraged them to embrace their adventurous spirit, be ready to learn from the many new experiences as well as challenges and difficulties waiting for them. “Through difficult times we have an opportunity to build character and to grow inner strength. By persevering through difficult times you will become stronger. For it is by giving, especially during hard times, that you will receive,” he added.
Their training involved proficiency in one of five local languages acquired through intensive language courses, as well as living with host families in Okahandja. With the complete immersion into Namibian culture and language they are now set to work at the community level across the country.
In addition, each volunteer has met technical training criteria over nine weeks. As part of this work they have conducted health workshops for youth in Okahandja, business skills training, mentored local entrepreneurs, and developed a visibility campaign for local producers. Each volunteer will go on to work alongside local counterparts to ensure that knowledge and experience is transferred in both directions and is sustainable.
Peace Corps is a volunteer programme of the United States government through which American volunteers, young and old, serve overseas for two years to offer technical assistance that helps a country build its capacity to meet the needs of its people.
Caption: Group 47 Community Economic Development and Health volunteers following their oath of service. Seated in front from left is Sara Wood, Peace Corps Namibia Director of Programming and Training; Kevin Fleming, Peace Corps Namibia Country Director; Lisa Johnson, U.S. Ambassador to Namibia; and Willie Boonzaaier, Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation Programme Director.