Okahandja-Thomas Daughton, the United States of America’s ambassador to Namibia, has said the core reason that America has a presence on Namibian soil in the first place is to help Namibia succeed in her development agenda.
Daughton made the remarks during the swearing-in ceremony of the 45th group of Peace Corps community economic development volunteers in Okahandja last Thursday.
“Our Peace Corps volunteers are one of the most enduring symbols of why America is in Namibia in the first place: to help Namibia succeed, to build resilient community economies and change lives for the better,” he remarked.
The Peace Corps is a volunteer programme run by the US government. The first group of volunteers arrived in Namibia on September 9, 1990 – five months after the country gained its independence. The primary role of the early volunteers was to teach English in support of Namibia’s then new government’s declaration of English as the country’s first language.
Annually, the American government sends a group of Peace Corps volunteers to assist Namibia with much-needed skills in areas such as health, education, business and community development.
To date, Peace Corps volunteers have served voluntarily in local authorities, various community-based organisations and non-governmental organisations, with the aim of providing voluntary services to help sustain the Namibian nation.
New Era caught up with one of the volunteers, retired 64-year-old Vernon Seward, who was assigned to Arandis. He was highly enthusiastic about helping to diversify revenue streams for Arandis town.
“I am from Florida, Orlando in the US, retired with two kids. I enjoy volunteering; I have done this so many times and I am really excited to see how I can continue making an impact in Arandis,” he said.