Sharing borders with Ecuador,america el salvi, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile, Peru is a large and diverse country. Its unique environmental variations include the arid coastal desert, the Andean Mountains and valleys, and the Amazonian tropical forests. With so many ecosystems and climatic zones, Peru is a country rich in biodiversity, with many rare species of flora and fauna. The country is home to approximately 25 million people of various cultures.
The Peace Corps first opened a program in Peru in 1962. Volunteers worked in grassroots development projects targeting health, agriculture, education and business development. The program in Peru supported over 2,600 Volunteers from 1962 until Peace Corps' departure in 1975.
On December 12, 2001 , Peru's then-president, Alejandro Toledo, officially invited the Peace Corps to return to Peru . Peace Corps Volunteers now serve in Peru by providing support to communities in four primary areas: small business development, community health promotion, environmental awareness, and youth outreach. Currently, about 170 Volunteers serve in Peru.
The Peace Corps first opened a program in Peru in 1962. Over the next 13 years, some 2,600 Volunteers worked in health and nutrition, city planning, social work, agricultural extension, agricultural cooperatives, savings and loan associations, elementary and secondary education, community development, and earthquake reconstruction (after the severe earthquake and landslide of 1970). The Peace Corps had a main office in Lima and regional offices in Puno, Cuzco, Chimbote, and Arequipa. Peace Corps’ departure from Peru in 1975 was due to political and economic instability.
In 2001, then-President Alejandro Toledo invited the Peace Corps to return. As well as seeing Peace Corps as part of his development plan for the country, President Toledo had a personal relationship with the Peace Corps. When he was young, his family had hosted a Volunteer in their home in Chimbote. Volunteers taught him English and were instrumental in his attending college and graduate school in the United States. President Toledo also worked at the Peace Corps training center in California, teaching Spanish while he was going to college.
Teams from Peace Corps headquarters made assessment visits to Peru in late 2001 and early 2002, and a country agreement was signed in Lima on March 23, 2002. The Peace Corps was represented by its then-director, Gaddi Vasquez. Staff was deployed to Lima in May 2002. The first four Volunteers, third-year transferees from other Latin American countries, arrived in August 2002. They were followed by the first new group of Volunteers, who arrived for training in November and were sworn-in in February 2003. A second group arrived in September 2003. Since then, two new groups of trainees arrive to serve in Peru each year.
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle
Main article: Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Peru
During training, you will live with a Peruvian family near the training facility. Sharing meals, conversation, and other experiences with your host family is an important step in developing the skills and attitudes that will help you fully integrate into your host community.
For months prior to your arrival, the associate Peace Corps director (APCD) for your sector will be exploring potential assignments with counterpart agencies, local municipal authorities, and community leaders. Peace Corps strategic goals, counterpart agency goals, local interest, and the perception that a Volunteer can be successful at the site are all factors that are considered. Assignments may be in a major city, a mid-sized town, a small town, or a rural village. Geographically, volunteers are placed in the coastal and sierra regions. Peace Corps currently does not place volunteers in the jungle regions.
You will be matched to one of these assignments based on your specific background and experience. While you will have an opportunity to discuss geographic preferences with your APCD during training, the final decision will be based on the best match between your skills and community needs.
All Volunteers in Peru are required to live with a family during their entire service. Living with a family may require adjustments that some North Americans find difficult, given our cultural values concerning privacy and personal space. The benefits of this policy, however, far outweigh any negatives. Living with a Peruvian family allows you to quickly integrate into the community and greatly enhances your safety and security. In addition, your language and cross-cultural skills will be reinforced daily.
Housing is usually made of cement or adobe blocks, sometimes covered with stucco. Roofs are made of tile, corrugated tin, or thatch. You will have your own room, which may be within the larger house or a separate room within a family compound. You will likely have electricity and occasional running water, although not all Volunteers do. You will have access to either indoor plumbing or a latrine.
Main article: Training in Peru
Pre-service training consists of 11 weeks of instruction and practice in six major areas: Spanish language; staying healthy; safety and security; living in the Peruvian culture; the role of the Volunteer in development; and technical project training. During your training, you will live with a Peruvian family, sharing meals, language, and other activities. Classes are conducted at a training center in Chaclacayo (about an hour east of Lima), as well as in the surrounding communities where host families live.
Pre-service training is a dynamic, intense period of learning, and you should be prepared to work hard and absorb as much as possible. By the end of training, as a prerequisite to being sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will be required to demonstrate certain competencies in each of the training areas.
Training is a time to reflect on your decision to serve as a Volunteer in Peru for the next two years of your life. We expect a strong commitment from each Volunteer. If you develop doubts during training, you will have the opportunity to discuss your feelings and options with Peace Corps staff.
Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health care and safety in Peru
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps’ medical and safety programs emphasize preventive approaches. Peace Corps/Peru maintains a clinic in the Lima office with two full-time medical officers, both of whom are experienced physicians, who take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. If you become more seriously ill, you will be referred to local American-standard medical facilities or evacuated to Panama or the United States. To assist Volunteers with safety and security issues, Peace Corps/Peru employs a full-time safety and security coordinator. In addition, the Peace Corps regional safety and security officer, who covers eight countries, is based in Lima and assists in safety and security training and response as well.
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Peru
In fulfilling its mandate to share the face of America with host countries, the Peace Corps makes special efforts to see that all of America’s richness 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.
While our diversity helps us accomplish that goal, in other ways it poses challenges. In Peru, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ backgrounds, beliefs, lifestyles, and behaviors are judged in a cultural context different from our own.
- Possible Gender Issues for Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
- Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
- Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
Frequently Asked Questions
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Peru
- How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Peru?
- What is the electric current in Peru?
- How much money should I bring?
- When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
- Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
- Do I need an international driver’s license?
- What should I bring as gifts for Peruvian friends and my host family?
- Where will my site assignment be when I finish training, and how isolated will I be?
- How can my family contact me in an emergency?
- Can I call home from Peru?
- Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
- How can people send things to me in Peru?
Main article: Packing list for Peru
Use this list as an informal guide in making your own packing decisions. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you. As you decide what to bring, keep the airline’s weight restriction on baggage in mind. Remember, you can get almost everything you need in Peru, most at an equal or lower price than in the U.S.
The standard for work attire in Peru is neat and professional but not fancy, which applies during pre-service training as well as Volunteer service. Think in terms of comfort, versatility, and, most important, durability (i.e., able to withstand repeated and vigorous washing). Since there are considerable variations in the weather, items that coordinate well and that can be layered on or off as needed are useful. Given the cold evening temperatures in the sierra, long underwear and flannel pajamas may be an excellent investment. Thick-soled shoes are best purchased in the United States because of price and quality, and larger men’s and women’s shoe sizes are difficult to find in Peru.
- General Clothing
- Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
Peace Corps News
The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.
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PEACE CORPS JOURNALS
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Contributions to the Peru Country Fund will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Peru. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
- Volunteers who served in Peru
- Sites where volunteers have served in Peru
- List of resources for Peru
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- Amigos de Bolivia y Peru