Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has commended American Peace Corps volunteers for their dedication, adaptability and drive to make a difference in other people’s lives.
Speaking at the 25th anniversary celebration of the United States (US) Peace Corps Assistance Group in Namibia on Thursday in Windhoek, the prime minister said, “I know too well that participating in this programme is not easy and requires numerous sacrifices on your part.”
“I also commend you for your ability to adjust to different cultures and traditions,” she added.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila also paid tribute to the parents, family and friends whom they left behind to come to a foreign, unfamiliar place like Namibia.
“It is my hope that our two governments’ cooperation under this programme will continue so that we consolidate the successes so far achieved, and that through it we enhance the understanding between our two peoples that will no doubt promote global cooperation.”
On his part US Ambassador Thomas Daughton said Peace Corps volunteers’ steadfast commitment to improving people’s lives in schools and communities of service increases the bonds of mutual understanding, friendship and partnership between the two nations.
He said in the last 25 years, more than 1 500 volunteers have played an ambassadorial role in Namibia, fulfilling commitment to the people and development of the country.
“Taken as a whole, the past volunteers and those who are in this room today constitute the most resounding statement we can make about the enduring friendship and partnership of the Namibian and American people,” he said.
“It’s a statement that I hope we will continue to make for many years to come,” he added.
In Namibia, the Peace Corps programme started shortly after independence to support teaching in secondary schools.
The majority of the first group of teachers taught English to support the government’s declaration of English as the official language and to assist with the new national education policy that mandated English as the medium of instruction in public schools. Currently there are 132 Peace Corps volunteers in Namibia.
Pearce Corps volunteers help with improved classroom techniques, capacity building for teachers and the operation of libraries and research centres.
Volunteers lead youth clubs and raise awareness about HIV prevention, maternal and child survival, AIDS care and treatment strategies and rights of persons with disabilities. Additionally, volunteers promote business skills, marketing and management to help establish sustainable income generation and economic independence for individuals and communities.