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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
 
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
 
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
 
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
 
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
 
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
 
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
 
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
 
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==
 
[http://www.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/policies/peacecorps_cbj_2008.pdf Congressional Budget Justification 2008] Peace Corps website (PDF, 47MB)
 

Revision as of 15:20, 1 September 2009