Okahandja – The Swearing-in Ceremony for 14 Peace Corps Volunteers took place on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at Andreas Kukuri Conference Centre in Okahandja. The Minister of Health and Social Services, Honorable Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, delivered the keynote address to welcome Peace Corps’ Volunteers to Namibia. The U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, Ms. Jessica Long, the Executive Director of the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, Mr. Daniel Nghidinua, and representatives of Peace Corps partner organizations were also in attendance.
The 14 Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Namibia on August 31, 2022, and underwent a rigorous twelve weeks of Pre-Service Training in Okahandja before being sworn in. They will soon lead projects in economic development and community health in communities across Namibia.
Peace Corps’ eight Economic Empowerment Volunteers will work alongside their Namibian counterparts to support the government’s sustainable economic development program. With assistance from these Volunteers, Namibia’s aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly youth and women, will increase their capacity to help build a strong economy. Volunteers will also work with their partner organizations to promote income-generating activities and small business development in their communities.
Six Community Health and HIV/AIDS Volunteers will contribute to national HIV mitigation through the United States’ President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the single largest effort in history by any nation to combat disease. In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, and other implementing organizations, Volunteer activities will promote behavior change and build life skills to address barriers to HIV prevention and treatment.
“The U.S. – Namibia partnership is strong and diverse, built upon a foundation of meaningful people-to-people relationships and forged in shared values including democracy, rule of law, and human rights. Peace Corps is a special and unique part of this relationship, one in which Americans volunteer to work alongside Namibian communities to contribute to the development of this incredible country,” said Jessica Long, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., of the Embassy of the United States to Namibia.
At the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, there were 127 Volunteers serving throughout every region of Namibia. As the country went into lockdown, all Volunteers were evacuated. Although groups of reinstated Peace Corps Volunteers and one-year Peace Corps Response Volunteers arrived in May, July and August 2022, this fifty-first class of Namibian Peace Corps Volunteers is the first group of two-year Volunteers to return to Namibia since the global evacuation of Peace Corps Volunteers in March 2020.
Volunteers serve two-year assignments, during which they live and work in Namibian communities, learn local languages, and integrate into the culture as they work to advance priority development aims of communities. Peace Corps Volunteers began serving in Namibia in 1990. Since then, more than 1,900 American Volunteers have worked in various sectors including education, health, and economic development.