History of the Peace Corps in Ghana
Ghana was the first country in the world to receive Peace Corps Volunteers. The program began with 52 Volunteers arriving on August 31, 1961. Currently, 45 years later, there are 130 Volunteers and trainees working in the fields of health and water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, Guinea Worm disease eradication, junior and secondary school teaching, small business development, and environment. Peace Corps/Ghana brings in approximately 75 new trainees each year. Volunteers work in all 10 regions of Ghana.
Peace Corps has been a witness to the successes and challenges of Ghana’s modern post-colonial political, economic and social development. In this period, the changing political landscape has had a direct impact on economic and social development as the nation has forged its identity in the context of an increasingly globalized world. After 45 years, the government of Ghana continues to request assistance from Peace Corps because there is still much work to be done.
History and Future of Peace Corps Programming in Ghana
Peace Corps/Ghana supports economic recovery by strengthening Ghana’s human resource base through Volunteer assistance in education, environment, health, and small enterprise development.
Education Volunteers work as junior secondary and senior secondary school classroom teachers helping to improve teaching and learning in science, math, visual arts, and information technology. They work to increase parent and community engagement in education by strengthening PTAs and civic unions to be effective advocates for education and hold districts accountable for school improvement. The project increases school access, quality and equity.
Environment Volunteers work to improve the productive capacity of rural communities by facilitating agroforestry, conservation, environmental education, and sustainable use of environmental resources for income generation.
Health Volunteers work in water and sanitation helping in water resource delivery, hygiene education, improving sanitation and health practices, HIV/AIDS education, and Guinea worm disease eradication. They work closely with rural community leaders to identify community interests and mobilize human and material resources for village-based health-related development projects.
Small enterprise development Volunteers work as business advisors, providing advice and assistance to a diverse group of rural communities and urban small-scale entrepreneurs to promote the export of non-traditional products and community-based eco-tourism development.
The primary job common to all health, environment and business Volunteer assignments (and to some extent education assignments) is this: help people identify their needs and self-interests and community-interests, then colead, co-faciliate, co-mentor, co-plan, and co-train people to meet these needs. This may feel like a very unstructured job but it is a very specific and demanding job.
In addition, Peace Corps/Ghana has cross-sectoral programs in HIV/AIDS education and prevention, and gender and youth development.