Difference between pages "FOIA 10075" and "FAQs about Peace Corps in Burkina Faso"

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{{foia
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{{FAQs by country}}
|summary=Investigation of crimes against Volunteers away from the Peace Corps Inspector General office
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|requested=Mar 10 2010
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|received=Mar 12 2010
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|response=Sep 30 2010
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|businessdays=144
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|agent=Denora Miller
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|DBR=3
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|DFRTR=142
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|DFARTAR=
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}}
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==September 30th 2010 Final Response ==
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===How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Burkina Faso?===
  
This is the final response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Specifically, you request the following information. Our response is in bold.
+
Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limits. The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The Peace Corps’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight allowance of 50 pounds for any one bag.  
*1) Documents explaining the rationale for and terms of the transfer of responsibility for
+
investigation of crimes against Volunteers away from the Peace Corps Inspector General
+
office.
+
  
'''We located twenty-nine (29) pages of responsive documents. After careful review, it was determined that twenty-five (25) pages are being been withheld pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5), because it consists of opinions, recommendations, and other reflections of staff thinking integral to the pre-decisional, deliberative process. The remaining four (4) pages are releasable in their entirety and are attached.'''
+
Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution.  
  
*2) Procedures for the investigation of these crimes.
+
===What is the electric current in Burkina Faso?===
  
'''It was determined that the memo provided in response to item 1 (pages 2 - 4) is the most responsive document available. No other responsive documents were located.'''
+
If you have electricity at your site, and it works, the current will be 220 volts, 50 cycles. Voltage sags and surges are very common and place a real strain on power supplies and voltage transformers or regulators. The Peace Corps does not provide transformers or regulators to Volunteers. For battery-powered appliances such as tape players and radios, we suggest “D” batteries, since these are readily available in local markets. Many Volunteers use rechargeable batteries with a solar charger, which is a good alternative to disposable batteries.  
  
*3) Procedures for Peace Corps whistle blowers, including procedures for preserving their right to confidentiality, for protecting them against retaliation and for investigating their
+
===How much money should I bring?===
reports/complaints.
+
  
'''We provided a response to this portion of your request on July 23, 2010.'''
+
Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. You will be given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which will cover your in-country expenses and normal vacation costs. Some Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel outside the region. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. All banks require proof of purchase (i.e., receipts) to cash traveler’s checks. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.  
  
*4) Communications between the Peace Corps and the Office of Personnel Management regarding whether Volunteers have or could be granted whistle blower status under the Federal whistle blower statute.
+
===When can I take vacation and have people visit me?===
  
'''We provided a response to this portion of your request on July 23, 2010.'''
+
Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service, except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after pre-service training and the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work.  Visitors are discouraged from spending extended periods (more than a few weeks) in-country, and you will have to take vacation time if hosting visitors requires you to take time off from work. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance. Because an evacuation in the event of a medical emergency can cost more than $25,000, all visitors should plan to buy medical evacuation insurance.  
  
 +
===Will my belongings be covered by insurance?===
  
==July 23rd 2010 Partial Response ==
+
Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects. You are encouraged to purchase insurance if you are bringing valuable items with you. You will be provided with application forms at staging.  
This is an interim response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Specifically, you request the following information. Our response is in bold.
+
*1) Documents explaining the rationale for and terms of the transfer of responsibility for investigation of crimes against Volunteers away from the Peace Corps Inspector General office.
+
  
'''We cannot respond to this portion of your request at this time. We are in the process of reviewing documents that might be responsive to this portion of your request. Once a determination has been made, you will be notified.'''
+
If you prefer, you may also contact your own insurance company. Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.  
  
*2) Procedures for the investigation of these crimes.
+
===Do I need an international driver’s license?===
'''We cannot respond to this portion of your request at this time. We are in the process of reviewing documents that might be responsive to this portion of your request. Once a determination has been made, you will be notified.'''
+
  
*3) Procedures for Peace Corps whistle blowers, including procedures for preserving their right to confidentiality, for protecting them against retaliation and for investigating their reports/complaints.
+
Volunteers in Burkina Faso do not need to get an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by bus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to bicycles and lots of walking.  
  
'''It was determined that the Peace Corps Office of the Inspector General might have documents responsive to your request. Your request was referred to them on May 17, 2010 for processing and direct response to you. Attached please find a two (2) page document which is also responsive to your request.'''
+
===What should I bring as gifts for Burkina Faso friends and my host family?===
  
*4) Communications between the Peace Corps and the Office of Personnel Management regarding whether Volunteers have or could be granted whistle blower status under the Federal whistle blower statute.
+
This is not a requirement. A token of friendship is sufficient.  Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.  
  
'''After a thorough and diligent search of all appropriate offices within the Peace Corps, no records responsive to your request were located.'''
+
===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?===
  
You may appeal the no record found determination within 20 calendar days from your receipt of this letter. The appeal should be sent to Earl Yates, Associated Director – Management, Peace Corps, 1111 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20526. Both the appeal and envelope should be clearly marked “FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT APPEAL.
+
Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until late in pre-service training. This gives the Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with their ministry counterparts. If feasible, you will have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions. However, keep in mind that many factors influence the site selection process and that the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages and are usually within one hour from another Volunteer. Some sites require a 10- to 12-hour drive from the capital.
  
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (202) 692-1236 or foia@peacecorps.gov.
+
===How can my family contact me in an emergency?===
Sincerely,
+
Denora Miller
+
FOIAOfficer
+
  
 +
The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580.
  
==July 15th 2010 Response from Office of Inspector General==
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===Can I call home from Burkina Faso?===
  
This letter is in response to your March 10, 2010 request, under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.c. §552, for
+
International phone service to and from Burkina Faso is quite good. The national telephone company, ONATEL, has offices in all of Burkina Faso’s administrative towns. Calls to the United States are expensive, so most Volunteers prearrange to receive calls from home or limit calls to giving call-back information so that the receiver can return the call. U.S.  calling cards cannot be used in Burkina Faso at this time, and calling collect is not possible.  
<blockquote>
+
*1) Documents explaining the rationale for and terms of the transfer of responsibility for investigation of crimes against Volunteers away fromthe Peace Corps Inspector General office
+
*2) Procedures for the investigation of these crimes.
+
*3)Procedures for Peace Corps whistle blowers, including procedures for preserving their right to confidentiality, for protecting them against retaliation and for investigating their reports/complaints
+
*4)Communications between the Peace Corps and the Office of Personnel Management regarding whether Volunteers have or could be granted whistle blower status under the Federal whistle blower statute.
+
</blockquote>
+
This response includes responsive documents from the Peace Corps Office of the Inspector General. You will find attached an electronic version of the responsive documents. The first document has been released in its entirety and is a memorandum from the Inspector General to the Director of the Peace Corps . The second document is a section of the Peace Corps Manual and has also been released in its entirety.
+
  
This link http://multimedia.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/policies/SARC_20080930.pdf is to the electronic version of the "Office of Inspector General Semiannual Report to Congress April 1,2008 - September 30,2008" this report references information that is within the scope
+
===Should I bring a cellular phone with me?===
of your requests and is also released in its entirety. A fourth document has been withheld under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act
+
(FOIA),5 U.S.c. §552 (b) (5), because it is an intra-agency memorandum and is a pre decisional document, and is exempt from release to the public.
+
You have a right to appeal my decision within 15 days of receipt of this letter by writing to the Inspector General, Office of Inspector General, Peace Corps, 1111 20th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20526.
+
  
Jeffrey Reichert
+
No. They can be purchased inexpensively in Burkina Faso. Most American cellphones do not work in Burkina Faso.  
Peace Corps Office of the Inspector General
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Criminal Research Specialist
+
202-692-2922
+
jreichert@PeaceCorps.Gov
+
  
==July 21st 2010 Memo==
+
===Should I bring my computer?===
  
We are unable to provide you a final determination on your request within the statutory time frame established by the FOIA.   We anticipate providing a respond to you by July 23, 2010 (10-075) and July 28, 2010 (10-127).  
+
The decision whether to bring a laptop computer depends on your own needs. Among the factors to consider are that computers are not required for Volunteers’ work; that the Peace Corps does not provide technical support or insurance for personal computers; you may not be assigned to a site with electricity; and computer access is available at private Internet cafes (and, for work-related purposes, the Peace Corps office). However, most Volunteers who have brought laptops with them—primarily education Volunteers—have been happy with their decision and have used their computers for both personal and work-related purposes.  
  
If you agree to this extension, no reply is necessary. If we subsequently deny your request, you still have the right to file an administrative appeal. You may wish to consider limiting the scope of your request so that we can process it more quickly. If you want to limit your request, please submit a reply to this notification.  
+
For more information on computers, please see the memo on electronic equipment later in this document.  
  
If you have questions or concerns regarding this extension, please feel free to call me at 202-692-1236 or by email at foia@peacecorps.gov.
+
[[Category:Burkina Faso]]
 
+
                                                         
+
 
+
Sincerely,
+
 
+
Denora Miller
+
 
+
FOIA Officer
+
 
+
== May 4th 2010 Memo==
+
 
+
We have and are currently experiencing a delay in processing FOIA
+
requests. We understand you desire to receive a response to your pending
+
requests and are doing our best to remedy the situation. Below is the
+
projected response date for your requests.
+
 
+
*#10-038  Information on the Peace Corps Digital Library (5/7/10)
+
*#10-065  Funding given to National PC Association (5/5/10)
+
*#10-072  Biennial PCV survey and 2009 PCV survey by OSIRP  (5/7/10)
+
*#10-075  Info on protection of PCV whistleblowers  (5/12/10)
+
*#10-076  Lists and reports on all PCVs that died in service (5/14/10)
+
 
+
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (202) 692-1236 or foia@peacecorps.gov.
+
 
+
Sincerely,
+
 
+
D. Miller
+
FOIA Officer
+
 
+
 
+
== April 8th 2010 Memo==
+
We are unable to provide you a final determination on your request within the 20 working-day statutory time frame established by the FOIA. We need additional time to collect the records you requested from another post.  We anticipate providing a respond to you by April 29, 2010.
+
 
+
If you agree to this extension, no reply is necessary.  If we subsequently deny your request, you still have the right to file an administrative appeal. You may wish to consider limiting the scope of your request so that we can process it more quickly. If you want to limit your request, please submit a reply to this notification.
+
 
+
If you do not agree to an extension beyond the statutory period, and do not want to modify the scope of your request, you may file suit.  You may file suit in the U.S. District Court where you reside or have your principal place of business, where the records are located, or in the District of Columbia. If you have questions or concerns regarding the material, contact us via email at foia@peacecorps.gov.
+
 
+
==Documents==
+
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Responsive_Docs_10-075.pdf (September 2010)
+
*http://www.peacecorpswiki.com/images/FOIA_10075_BullerMemo.pdf  (July 2010)
+
http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Trainee_Allegations_memo.pdf (July 2010)
+
*http://multimedia.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/policies/SARC_20080930.pdf
+
*http://www.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/manual/%5C800_General_Services%5C860-869_Inspector_General%5CMS_861%5COffice_of_the_Inspector_General.pdf (see cited text below)
+
 
+
<blockquote>
+
9.2 Management and Supervisory Level Personnel
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Additionally, all Peace Corps management and supervisory level personnel are required to:
+
*cooperate with the OIG in jointly identifying problems and developing appropriate corrective actions;
+
*when requested, provide comments on OIG draft reports in a timely manner for inclusion in the OIG’s final reports, responding specifically to findings and recommendations contained in the OIG reports;
+
*refrain from taking, threatening to take or directing others to take, recommend or approve any adverse personnel or other action against any individual as a reprisal for making a complaint or disclosing information to the OIG.
+
<blockquote>
+

Latest revision as of 11:47, 8 December 2015

Country Resources

How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Burkina Faso?[edit]

Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limits. The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The Peace Corps’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight allowance of 50 pounds for any one bag.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution.

What is the electric current in Burkina Faso?[edit]

If you have electricity at your site, and it works, the current will be 220 volts, 50 cycles. Voltage sags and surges are very common and place a real strain on power supplies and voltage transformers or regulators. The Peace Corps does not provide transformers or regulators to Volunteers. For battery-powered appliances such as tape players and radios, we suggest “D” batteries, since these are readily available in local markets. Many Volunteers use rechargeable batteries with a solar charger, which is a good alternative to disposable batteries.

How much money should I bring?[edit]

Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. You will be given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which will cover your in-country expenses and normal vacation costs. Some Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel outside the region. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. All banks require proof of purchase (i.e., receipts) to cash traveler’s checks. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.

When can I take vacation and have people visit me?[edit]

Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service, except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after pre-service training and the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work. Visitors are discouraged from spending extended periods (more than a few weeks) in-country, and you will have to take vacation time if hosting visitors requires you to take time off from work. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance. Because an evacuation in the event of a medical emergency can cost more than $25,000, all visitors should plan to buy medical evacuation insurance.

Will my belongings be covered by insurance?[edit]

Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects. You are encouraged to purchase insurance if you are bringing valuable items with you. You will be provided with application forms at staging.

If you prefer, you may also contact your own insurance company. Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.

Do I need an international driver’s license?[edit]

Volunteers in Burkina Faso do not need to get an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by bus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to bicycles and lots of walking.

What should I bring as gifts for Burkina Faso friends and my host family?[edit]

This is not a requirement. A token of friendship is sufficient. Some gift suggestions include knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.

Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?[edit]

Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until late in pre-service training. This gives the Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with their ministry counterparts. If feasible, you will have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions. However, keep in mind that many factors influence the site selection process and that the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages and are usually within one hour from another Volunteer. Some sites require a 10- to 12-hour drive from the capital.

How can my family contact me in an emergency?[edit]

The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580.

Can I call home from Burkina Faso?[edit]

International phone service to and from Burkina Faso is quite good. The national telephone company, ONATEL, has offices in all of Burkina Faso’s administrative towns. Calls to the United States are expensive, so most Volunteers prearrange to receive calls from home or limit calls to giving call-back information so that the receiver can return the call. U.S. calling cards cannot be used in Burkina Faso at this time, and calling collect is not possible.

Should I bring a cellular phone with me?[edit]

No. They can be purchased inexpensively in Burkina Faso. Most American cellphones do not work in Burkina Faso.

Should I bring my computer?[edit]

The decision whether to bring a laptop computer depends on your own needs. Among the factors to consider are that computers are not required for Volunteers’ work; that the Peace Corps does not provide technical support or insurance for personal computers; you may not be assigned to a site with electricity; and computer access is available at private Internet cafes (and, for work-related purposes, the Peace Corps office). However, most Volunteers who have brought laptops with them—primarily education Volunteers—have been happy with their decision and have used their computers for both personal and work-related purposes.

For more information on computers, please see the memo on electronic equipment later in this document.