The Peace Corps is an independent agency and volunteer program. The Peace Corps is a “service opportunity for motivated changemakers to immerse themselves in a community abroad, working side by side with local leaders to tackle the most pressing challenges of our generation.” The agency is run by the U.S. government and provides international social and economic development assistance.
The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friend by fulfilling three goals:
- To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
- To promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
- To promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
The Peace Corps was established by Executive Order 10924 issued by President John F. Kennedy on March 1, 1961. On September 21, 1962, the order was authorized by Congress with the passage of the Peace Corps Act.
The Peace Corps is a volunteer program. Volunteers are American citizens, usually with a college degree, who go through three months of training and then work abroad for two years. Since its inception, more than 235,000 volunteers have joined the Peace Corps and served in 141 countries around the world. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, all volunteers were evacuated from their posts around the world and there are currently no volunteers serving.
The Corps aims to educate the community on the different illnesses plaguing developing countries and what treatments can be sued to prevent these illnesses from spreading. Volunteers also often teach community members about modern agricultural practices and techniques to help them effectively produce food. One of these initiatives includes eradicating Malaria in Africa. This initiative was launched in 2011 and grew to include volunteers in 24 countries.
The Corps also launched three major environmental programs.
- Protected areas management: working with park staff and other programs to teach about resource conservation, preserving wildlife, and creating actives for raising revenue to protect the environment.
- Environment Education or Awareness: focuses on communities that have environmental issues with farming and income. Programs include teaching in schools about the environment, creating environmental groups, supporting forest and marine sustainability, crating ways to generate income, sanitation management, and educating farmers about soil conservation, vegetable farming, and forestry.
- Forestry: helps communities conserve natural resources through education about flood control, creation of sustainable fuels, protection of biodiversity, and soil conservation.
Peace Corps Response
Created in 1996 as the Crisis Corps, the Peace Corps Response is modeled after the Emergency Response Network of Returned Peace Corps who were ready to respond to crises when needed. The name change to Peace Corps Response allowed the Peace Corps to respond to projects that were not at a crisis level.
The Peace Corps Response deploys former volunteers on “high-impact” assignments. These volunteers receive the same allowances and benefits as their Peace Corps counterparts. The minimum qualifications for the Peace Corps Response include completing one year of Peace Corps service and medical and legal clearances.
The Peace Corps has created resources, concluding test, lesson plans, and recordings, for U.S. and international teachers to teach 101 languages.