Difference between pages "Inter-America and Pacific" and "FAQs about Peace Corps in Botswana"

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{{FAQs by country}}
  
Since the Peace Corps’ inception in 1961, more
 
than 73,000 Volunteers have served in the Inter-
 
America and Pacific (IAP) region. They have served
 
in more than 32 countries in the Inter-Americas and
 
14 countries in the Pacific Islands. At the end of fiscal
 
year (FY) 2006, 2,501 Volunteers were working in 23
 
posts in all six of the agency’s sectors: agriculture, business
 
development, education, the environment, health
 
and HIV/AIDS, and youth. Additional countries in the
 
Pacific and South America continue to be interested
 
in establishing Peace Corps programs.
 
  
The region is committed to ensuring the safety
 
and security of all Volunteers. All IAP posts have
 
trained safety and security coordinators. In addition,
 
three regional Peace Corps safety and security officers,
 
stationed in El Salvador, Fiji, and Peru, help posts
 
assess risks and ensure appropriate training for staff
 
and Volunteers. Each post has an emergency action
 
plan, which is tested and revised at least once every
 
year. Headquarters staff is trained to review posts’
 
emergency plans and to support field staff in crisis
 
management.
 
  
Peace Corps Volunteers and their counterparts
 
have become active, productive participants in the
 
President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR),
 
the five-year, multi-billion-dollar initiative to combat
 
the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. For example,
 
in Guyana, Volunteers are focusing on community
 
mobilization strategies to prevent HIV/AIDS and to
 
improve access to existing services. They help reach out
 
to vulnerable groups, including orphans and vulnerable
 
children, by working with the Ministry of Health
 
and local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on
 
national programs focused on prevention and care.
 
They also work with health centers and communities
 
to help facilitate community health assessments,
 
design and implement health education projects,
 
and train health center staff and community leaders.
 
Volunteers are working with health centers and NGOs
 
to help Guyana address the HIV/AIDS pandemic as
 
well as other diseases, such as tuberculosis, malaria,
 
and dengue fever. Other Volunteers worked to mobilize
 
communities to attend health education outreach sessions,
 
encouraging community members to be tested at HIV/AIDS testing facilities. These testing facilities
 
will help lower mother-to-child transmission of
 
HIV/AIDS.
 
  
In FY 2006, Peace Corps programs in the
+
===How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Botswana?===
Dominican Republic, Eastern Caribbean, and Panama
+
received PEPFAR funding to carry out technical assistance
+
to community-based organizations, offer small
+
assistance grants, and organize behavioral change and
+
monitoring and reporting workshops for HIV/AIDS
+
prevention and education.
+
  
Many Volunteers in the IAP region work in traditional
+
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 of 50 pounds for any one bag.  
sectors, such as water and sanitation. For
+
example, Volunteers in Bolivia improve sanitary conditions
+
by designing and constructing water systems that  
+
provide potable water to rural communities. They also
+
help organize water boards to take over maintenance
+
of these systems to ensure sustainability.  
+
  
In Honduras, Volunteers promote sustainable
+
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.  
production techniques to improve soil conservation
+
as well as to increase the diversity of crops, enhancing
+
food security and family incomes. To improve family
+
nutrition and income, Volunteers introduce improved
+
vegetable and small animal production methods to  
+
women working in agriculture.  
+
  
In Mexico, Volunteers are now assigned to
+
===What is the electric current in Botswana?===
work with SEMARNAT, Mexico’s Ministry for the  
+
Environment and Natural Resources. Volunteers
+
focus on issues related to combating deforestation,
+
forest fires, and soil erosion; promoting conservation
+
of biodiversity and natural habitats; and improving
+
management of national parks and wildlife reserves.
+
  
In many IAP countries, Peace Corps’ traditional
+
It is 220 volts, 50 hertz. Plugs/outlets consist of both three prong round and three prong square shapes.  
sectors are melding with some of the newer cross-cutting
+
areas such as youth development and technology.
+
Many programs target youth to develop life skills,
+
leadership skills, and employability. In the Dominican
+
Republic, for instance, Volunteers engage young
+
people in activities ranging from business education
+
to strategic planning to technical assistance. In rural
+
communities, Volunteers work with farmers’ markets
+
and agricultural cooperatives to introduce e-marketing
+
and website development.  
+
  
In Samoa, the education project includes a focus
+
===How much money should I bring?===
on information and communication technology.
+
Volunteers work with teachers and counterparts in computer studies, helping them update curricula and
+
lesson plans for years 9–13 and providing assistance
+
to teachers to access materials and resources for their
+
classes. Volunteers also help teach computer skills to
+
youth and help teachers establish computer labs.
+
  
In Vanuatu, Fiji, and other Pacific posts, Volunteers  
+
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 should cover your expenses. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and bank cards are preferable to cash. Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted by businesses in Botswana and are redeemable only at certain banks. However, they can be useful for travel to other countries during vacations. Note, too, that ATM machines are widely available and linked to the banking network in the States. Only VISA cards and cards stamped with the “PLUS” logo on the back are useable. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.  
are working with marine protected areas and other  
+
marine conservation projects. Volunteers in Vanuatu
+
partnered with a U.S. conservation foundation to  
+
promote costal resource ecotourism.  
+
  
Volunteers have left a significant legacy of service
+
===When can I take vacation and have people visit me?===
to countries in the IAP region. Since the agency’s
+
inception in 1961, Peace Corps Volunteers have served
+
continuously in the Eastern Caribbean island of St.
+
Lucia. The Peace Corps has also partnered with other
+
countries for more than 40 years and will continue to
+
work to the benefit of people throughout the Inter-
+
Americas and the Pacific.
+
  
==External Links==
+
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. All vacation plans must be approved by the Volunteer’s Batswana supervisor before being submitted to the Peace Corps for approval. Extended stays (those that require more leave than you have accrued) away from your site are not encouraged and must be reviewed by your Peace Corps supervisor before being submitted to the Peace Corps country director for a final decision.
[http://www.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/policies/peacecorps_cbj_2008.pdf Congressional Budget Justification 2008] Peace Corps website (PDF, 47MB)
+
 
 +
The Peace Corps cannot provide Volunteers with vacation planning assistance. You are responsible for making reservations, purchasing tickets, and procuring the appropriate visas. The Peace Corps cannot provide your visitors with visa or travel assistance.
 +
 
 +
===Will my belongings be covered by insurance?===
 +
 
 +
The Peace Corps does not insure personal effects. Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. 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? ===
 +
 
 +
Volunteers in Botswana are not allowed to drive except during an approved vacation. Many Volunteers in southern Africa find it economically advantageous to rent a car, either alone or as a group, while traveling in the region. In such cases, it is helpful to have an international driver’s license. As with other personal travel arrangements, the Peace Corps does not assist in the procurement of international driver’s licenses.
 +
 
 +
===What should I bring as gifts for Batswana friends and my host family? ===
 +
 
 +
The Peace Corps does not encourage you to bring gifts for your family and friends during training. The provision of such gifts is an issue to be discussed and decided by the entire group of trainees, since it is precedent-setting and may have ramifications outside the gift giver’s original intent.  For instance, expectations may arise in host families if some people provide gifts but others do not. Should you feel moved to provide a small token of appreciation to your host family, a wide range of suitable items are available locally.
 +
 
 +
One of the greatest gifts you can provide to your host family and friends is information about yourself and your life in the United States. For this reason, we encourage you to bring photos of the people and things that are important in your life.
 +
 
 +
===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be? ===
 +
 
 +
Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until approximately six weeks into their pre-service training. This gives 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. The Botswana program has a wide variety of sites, ranging from urban to periurban to rural, and Volunteers should be prepared to accept any of them, including housing in a range of options from one room for kitchen, sleeping, and pit latrine to the other extreme of two bedroom brick homes with hot water heaters.
 +
 
 +
===How can my family contact me in an emergency? ===
 +
 
 +
The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, you should 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 Botswana?===
 +
 
 +
Yes. Most telephones in the country can be used for international calls. Volunteers often call home and ask to be called back or prearrange a time to be called at a private phone or pay phone.
 +
 
 +
===Should I bring a cellular phone with me?===
 +
 
 +
While cellular phone services are widely available in Botswana, it is not advisable to bring a cellphone from the United States unless you check with the manufacturer and confirm that the phone will work in Botswana. In all cases, these phones are the type with SIM cards that can be changed in and out. SIM cards in Botswana cost about $15. The cost of a new cellphone in Botswana is approximately $50. Costs of phones can be covered by your moving-in allowance which Volunteers near the end of pre-service training.  Yet, you will likely want to have a cell phone upon arrival so you will probably need to put money up-front and use your moving in allowance later to cover the expense.  Peace Corps does not provide cellphones to Volunteers.
 +
 
 +
Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
 +
 
 +
Internet service is widely available in Botswana; most larger villages and towns have Internet cafes. The choice about whether to bring a computer is an individual one. Those who decide to bring a personal computer should be aware that Botswana’s climate can be tough on sensitive equipment. In addition, peripherals like printer cartridges and disks are very expensive locally. Those who bring computers or other valuable equipment should consider purchasing personal property insurance as laptops make you a target for theft.
 +
 
 +
[[Category:Botswana]]

Revision as of 10:09, 26 February 2010

FAQs about Peace Corps
  • How much luggage am I allowed to bring?
  • What is the electric current?
  • 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 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?
  • Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
  • Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
...and more...

For information see Welcomebooks



How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Botswana?

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 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 Botswana?

It is 220 volts, 50 hertz. Plugs/outlets consist of both three prong round and three prong square shapes.

How much money should I bring?

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 should cover your expenses. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and bank cards are preferable to cash. Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted by businesses in Botswana and are redeemable only at certain banks. However, they can be useful for travel to other countries during vacations. Note, too, that ATM machines are widely available and linked to the banking network in the States. Only VISA cards and cards stamped with the “PLUS” logo on the back are useable. 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?

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. All vacation plans must be approved by the Volunteer’s Batswana supervisor before being submitted to the Peace Corps for approval. Extended stays (those that require more leave than you have accrued) away from your site are not encouraged and must be reviewed by your Peace Corps supervisor before being submitted to the Peace Corps country director for a final decision.

The Peace Corps cannot provide Volunteers with vacation planning assistance. You are responsible for making reservations, purchasing tickets, and procuring the appropriate visas. The Peace Corps cannot provide your visitors with visa or travel assistance.

Will my belongings be covered by insurance?

The Peace Corps does not insure personal effects. Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. 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?

Volunteers in Botswana are not allowed to drive except during an approved vacation. Many Volunteers in southern Africa find it economically advantageous to rent a car, either alone or as a group, while traveling in the region. In such cases, it is helpful to have an international driver’s license. As with other personal travel arrangements, the Peace Corps does not assist in the procurement of international driver’s licenses.

What should I bring as gifts for Batswana friends and my host family?

The Peace Corps does not encourage you to bring gifts for your family and friends during training. The provision of such gifts is an issue to be discussed and decided by the entire group of trainees, since it is precedent-setting and may have ramifications outside the gift giver’s original intent. For instance, expectations may arise in host families if some people provide gifts but others do not. Should you feel moved to provide a small token of appreciation to your host family, a wide range of suitable items are available locally.

One of the greatest gifts you can provide to your host family and friends is information about yourself and your life in the United States. For this reason, we encourage you to bring photos of the people and things that are important in your life.

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

Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until approximately six weeks into their pre-service training. This gives 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. The Botswana program has a wide variety of sites, ranging from urban to periurban to rural, and Volunteers should be prepared to accept any of them, including housing in a range of options from one room for kitchen, sleeping, and pit latrine to the other extreme of two bedroom brick homes with hot water heaters.

How can my family contact me in an emergency?

The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, you should 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 Botswana?

Yes. Most telephones in the country can be used for international calls. Volunteers often call home and ask to be called back or prearrange a time to be called at a private phone or pay phone.

Should I bring a cellular phone with me?

While cellular phone services are widely available in Botswana, it is not advisable to bring a cellphone from the United States unless you check with the manufacturer and confirm that the phone will work in Botswana. In all cases, these phones are the type with SIM cards that can be changed in and out. SIM cards in Botswana cost about $15. The cost of a new cellphone in Botswana is approximately $50. Costs of phones can be covered by your moving-in allowance which Volunteers near the end of pre-service training. Yet, you will likely want to have a cell phone upon arrival so you will probably need to put money up-front and use your moving in allowance later to cover the expense. Peace Corps does not provide cellphones to Volunteers.

Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?

Internet service is widely available in Botswana; most larger villages and towns have Internet cafes. The choice about whether to bring a computer is an individual one. Those who decide to bring a personal computer should be aware that Botswana’s climate can be tough on sensitive equipment. In addition, peripherals like printer cartridges and disks are very expensive locally. Those who bring computers or other valuable equipment should consider purchasing personal property insurance as laptops make you a target for theft.