Difference between pages "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Benin" and "FOIA 11113"

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(Appeal Requested June 2nd 2011)
 
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{{Foia
In fulfilling the Peace Corps mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are making special efforts to ensure that our cultural and ethnic diversity is reflected in the Volunteer corps. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race, and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other, despite our many differences.
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|summary=2011 Staff and Consultant Directories and Listings
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|requested=2011/03/20
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|received=2011/03/21
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|appealrequested=2011/06/02
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|businessdays=62
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}}
  
Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, our diversity poses challenges. In Benin, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteer behavior, lifestyles, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context that may be very different from our own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics considered familiar and commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in certain host countries.  
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==Appeal Requested June 2nd 2011==
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Dear FOIA officer,
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This is an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552.
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It has been WELL over 20 business days since my request was received by your agency on March 21st. This period clearly exceeds the 20 days provided by the statute, thus I deem my request denied. A copy of my correspondence and the email form showing receipt by your office will be forwarded.
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The information which I have requested is clearly releasable under FOIA and in my opinion, may not validly be protected by any of the Act’s exemptions. I trust that upon re-consideration, you will reverse the decision denying me access to this material and grant my original request. 
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As I have made this request in the capacity of a interested member of public and this information is of timely value, I would appreciate your expediting the consideration of my appeal in every way possible. 
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Thank you for your assistance.
  
Outside of the capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What is advertised as “typical” cultural behavior or norms may also be a narrow and selective interpretation, such as the perception in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes.  Foreigners justly know the people of Benin for their generous hospitality; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to differences that you present. We ask you to be supportive of one another.  
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==Response Memo April 22nd 2011 ===
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We are unable to provide you a final determination on your request
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within the statutory time frame established by the FOIA.
  
In order to ease the transition and adapt to the ways of your host country, you may need to make some temporary yet fundamental compromises with who you are as an American and as an individual. For example, women trainees and Volunteers will likely not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions will need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limits. Staff and peer support network Volunteers will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during your pre-service training and will be on-call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.  
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We anticipate providing a respond to you by April 29, 2011.  If you 
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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 have any questions, please feel free to contact Denora Miller,
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FOIA Officer at (202) 692-1236  or email at foia@peacecorps.gov.
  
===What Might A Volunteer Face?===
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Sincerely,
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Meenoch Kim
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FOIA/PA Intern
  
====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers====
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==Received March 21st 2011==
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This serves as an acknowledgement of your FOIA request. Your request has been assigned tracking number FOIA Request No. 11-113. You will receive a respond within 20 business days. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at FOIA@peacecorps.gov.     
  
Benin has a traditional, patriarchal culture. However, at the community level, Beninese are learning to accept women who take professional roles or who live independently of their families. Current Volunteers advise that service is more difficult for female Volunteers due to verbal sexual harassment and the misconceptions that exist concerning male-female relationships. It is important to note that the same challenges exist for Beninese women, particularly in the schools. Peace Corps/Benin has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment on the job. Should you encounter harassment on the job, you should inform the country director immediately.
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==Requested March 20th 2011==
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Dear FOIA Officer,
  
Female Volunteers may find that living alone raises questions about their marital status. Some find that saying that they are married helps limit sexual harassment. Others have felt that they have to work harder than male Volunteers to gain the respect of host country colleagues in the workplace.  
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This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552).
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I am requesting the following information:
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From Peace Corps Headquarters:
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*1) The current Peace Corps' listing of all staff positions within Washington DC headquarters, title, salary, pay plan, level, Grade.
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*2) The current Peace Corps' organizational chart or hierarchy for all staff positions within Washington DC headquarters.
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*3) The current Peace Corps' listing of all consultants and or part time positions within the agency including Location, Title, salary, Pay Plan Level, Grade, Contract code, COTR information
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*4) The current Peace Corps' staff directory for the regional offices within the United States by regional office Location, Title , salary, Pay Plan Level, Grade,
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*5) The current Peace Corps' staff directory for all offices outside of the United States or "in country" by country, Title, Name ,salary, Pay Plan Level, Grade,
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*6) The current Peace Corps' staff directory for the all Peace Corps bycountry CDs (Country Director)
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*7) The current Peace Corps' staff directory for the all Peace Corps by country of PCMOs, (Peace Corps Medical Officer)
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*8) The current Peace Corps' staff directory for the all Peace Corps bycountry of PTOs (Programing Training Officer)
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*9) The current Peace Corps' staff directory for the all Peace Corps by country of BFOs (Budget and Fiscal Officer)   
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*10) The current Peace Corps' staff directory for the all Peace Corps by country of APCDs (Associate Peace Corps Director) 
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*11) The current mailing addresses for all Peace Corps offices outside of the United States by country.
  
Females may encounter unwanted attention in public. While we cannot control this, we can help you develop strategies for coping. Do not hesitate to insist on learning strategies during your pre-service training. Some female Volunteers have found they need to keep a low social profile and practice discretion in public (e.g., not smoking in public or drinking in bars) to avoid developing an undesirable reputation in their community.
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An electronic fulfillment of this request would be ideal for both parties. You are welcome to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have in fulfilling this request. Please let me know if the charges exceed $100 before continuing.
 
 
====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color====
 
 
 
In rural sites or villages, Volunteers are usually the only foreign resident and will receive extra attention regardless of their racial or ethnic background. Volunteers of color will encounter a wide range of cross-cultural issues in Benin.
 
 
 
Most Beninese are used to seeing African Americans.  Furthermore, because of the country’s historical role and involvement in slavery, some Beninese feel some affinity with African Americans and will often joke with them or believe that they come from Benin or another African country. Beninese will sometimes assume that you speak a local language because of your skin color. Depending on your personality, you may interpret this assumption as welcome or you may find it distressing. Remember, you will not be able to readily identify the ethnicity of a Beninese by his or her language. Similarly, you should not expect that a Beninese will know that you are American, even though you are a Peace Corps Volunteer.
 
 
 
Like African Americans, Asian-American Volunteers have expressed frustration and disappointment at being asked their nationality. When they answer “Asian-American,” some Beninese react with surprise or disbelief, saying they didn't know there were people of Asian descent in America. In Benin, there are Chinese, Indian, and Lebanese communities and Volunteers of Asian heritage may be confused with merchant classes in the eyes of some Beninese, especially in urban areas. Some Asian-American Volunteers have found that some Beninese will call them “Chinese” no matter their origins. They may be teased by children and asked if they know kung fu or karate.
 
 
 
====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers====
 
 
 
Respect comes with age in Benin. Younger Volunteers might have to work harder than older Volunteers to be accepted as professionals by their Beninese colleagues. Older Volunteers might find that almost too much is expected of them because of their age.
 
 
 
Within the Peace Corps community, older Volunteers may sometimes feel isolated, because most Volunteers in Benin are in their 20s. Older Volunteers may have difficulty finding emotional support among their fellow Volunteers. They may find that younger Volunteers expect older ones to “mother” them. (Some seniors find this a very enjoyable part of their experience, but others choose not to fill this role.)
 
 
 
Older Volunteers who are used to living independent lives may at first feel frustrated by the fact that younger Beninese want to do things for them. However, many seniors come to accept this as a sign of respect and enjoy the role of providing wisdom rather than physical assistance.
 
 
 
====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers====
 
 
 
Benin’s sexual mores are conservative and you are expected to respect them. Many people in Benin still believe that gay and lesbian relationships are wrong, and that such relationships do not exist in their country. Although you may see signs of physical intimacy among men and women in Benin, this is not necessarily a sign of a gay or lesbian relationship. Engaging in homosexual sex is against the law in Benin. Some gay and lesbian Volunteers in Benin report that they are not able to be open about their sexual orientation. In the past, gay and lesbian Volunteers have formed their own support group. You may find more helpful information at http://www.lgbrpcv.org, a website affiliated with the National Peace Corps Association that provides specific information on serving in the Peace Corps as a gay or lesbian Volunteer.
 
 
 
'''See also:''' Articles about Benin on the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Peace Corps Alumni Association website at http://www.lgbrpcv.org/articles.htm
 
 
 
====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers====
 
 
 
Volunteers are frequently asked about their religious affiliation and may be invited to attend a community church. In some circles, there will be a tendency to think that all Americans are Protestants. Volunteers not in the practice of attending church may be challenged to explain their reluctance, but it is possible to politely decline if the church or religious practice is not your choice. Most Volunteers facing these issues have found effective ways to cope with these additional challenges and have come to feel quite at home in Benin.
 
 
 
====Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities====
 
 
 
As part of the clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services determines if disabled candidates can be selected if they are physically and emotionally capable of performing a full tour of Volunteer service in Benin without harm to themselves or interruption of their service. The Peace Corps/Benin staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations for training, housing, job sites and other aspects of their service.
 
 
 
That being said, a disabled Volunteer in Benin will face a special set of challenges. In Benin, as in other parts of the world, some people may hold prejudicial attitudes toward individuals with disabilities. Benin has virtually no physical infrastructure to accommodate people with disabilities.
 
 
 
Many of the beggars in Benin are disabled people who have no skills. Some organizations provide training for the disabled, but it is usually limited to arts and crafts. Disabled Volunteers would thus face challenges in overcoming negative stereotypes and difficult physical conditions. However, they also have an opportunity to be inspirational role models for disabled Beninese and to encourage changes in attitude and infrastructure in their communities.  
 
 
 
 
 
[[Category:Benin]]
 

Revision as of 06:53, 2 June 2011


United States Peace Corps
Freedom of Information Act Request
FOIA request number::FOIA 11113
{{#if:2011 Staff and Consultant Directories and Listings|Request Summary:|}}
{{#if:2011 Staff and Consultant Directories and Listings|"FOIA summary::2011 Staff and Consultant Directories and Listings"|}}

Requested:|}} FOIA requested::2011/03/20|}}
PC Received:|}} FOIA received::2011/03/21|}} {{#if:|(FOIA business days before received:: day(s))*|}}
PC Response:|}} FOIA response::|}} {{#if:|(FOIA business days from received till response:: days)*|}}
--------------|}}
FOIA Appeal Number:|}} FOIA appeal number::|}}
Appeal Requested:|}} FOIA appeal requested::2011/06/02|}}
PC Appeal Received:|}} FOIA appeal received::|}} {{#if:|(FOIA business days before appeal received:: day(s))*|}}
PC Appeal Response:|}} FOIA appeal response::|}} {{#if:|(FOIA business days from appeal received till appeal response:: days)*|}}
Agent:|}} FOIA agent::|}}
Business Days:|}} Days Total: FOIA business days::62 |}}
*Business Days btw FOIA Actions|}}
FOIA Request Summaries & Total Days until Final Response(0).
{{#ask:FOIA request number::+|? FOIA summary=Summary|?FOIA business days=Days|format=table|sort=FOIA requested|order=descending|limit=8}}
{{#if:2011/06/02|FOIA Appeals (0).|}}
{{#if:2011/06/02|{{#ask:FOIA request number::+|? FOIA appeal requested= |format=ul|sort=FOIA requested|order=descending|limit=15}}|}}

{{#if:2011/06/02||}}


Appeal Requested June 2nd 2011

Dear FOIA officer, This is an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552. It has been WELL over 20 business days since my request was received by your agency on March 21st. This period clearly exceeds the 20 days provided by the statute, thus I deem my request denied. A copy of my correspondence and the email form showing receipt by your office will be forwarded. The information which I have requested is clearly releasable under FOIA and in my opinion, may not validly be protected by any of the Act’s exemptions. I trust that upon re-consideration, you will reverse the decision denying me access to this material and grant my original request. As I have made this request in the capacity of a interested member of public and this information is of timely value, I would appreciate your expediting the consideration of my appeal in every way possible. Thank you for your assistance.

Response Memo April 22nd 2011 =

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 April 29, 2011. 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 have any questions, please feel free to contact Denora Miller, FOIA Officer at (202) 692-1236 or email at foia@peacecorps.gov.

Sincerely, Meenoch Kim FOIA/PA Intern

Received March 21st 2011

This serves as an acknowledgement of your FOIA request. Your request has been assigned tracking number FOIA Request No. 11-113. You will receive a respond within 20 business days. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at FOIA@peacecorps.gov.

Requested March 20th 2011

Dear FOIA Officer,

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). I am requesting the following information: From Peace Corps Headquarters:

  • 1) The current Peace Corps' listing of all staff positions within Washington DC headquarters, title, salary, pay plan, level, Grade.
  • 2) The current Peace Corps' organizational chart or hierarchy for all staff positions within Washington DC headquarters.
  • 3) The current Peace Corps' listing of all consultants and or part time positions within the agency including Location, Title, salary, Pay Plan Level, Grade, Contract code, COTR information
  • 4) The current Peace Corps' staff directory for the regional offices within the United States by regional office Location, Title , salary, Pay Plan Level, Grade,
  • 5) The current Peace Corps' staff directory for all offices outside of the United States or "in country" by country, Title, Name ,salary, Pay Plan Level, Grade,
  • 6) The current Peace Corps' staff directory for the all Peace Corps bycountry CDs (Country Director)
  • 7) The current Peace Corps' staff directory for the all Peace Corps by country of PCMOs, (Peace Corps Medical Officer)
  • 8) The current Peace Corps' staff directory for the all Peace Corps bycountry of PTOs (Programing Training Officer)
  • 9) The current Peace Corps' staff directory for the all Peace Corps by country of BFOs (Budget and Fiscal Officer)
  • 10) The current Peace Corps' staff directory for the all Peace Corps by country of APCDs (Associate Peace Corps Director)
  • 11) The current mailing addresses for all Peace Corps offices outside of the United States by country.

An electronic fulfillment of this request would be ideal for both parties. You are welcome to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have in fulfilling this request. Please let me know if the charges exceed $100 before continuing.