By Ellina Kushnir, RI Staff and Scott Kumis, Peace Corps Partnership Manager
Last year, Rotary International and Peace Corps, formalized a service partnership to help enhance our club and district service activities locally and around the world.
Peace Corps sends U.S. citizens abroad to help tackle the most pressing needs around the world while promoting better international understanding of culture and enhancing global awareness. Peace Corps Volunteers live and work alongside the people they support for a period of two or more years and concentrate efforts to create sustainable change that lives on long after their period of in-country service. Peace Corps currently has volunteers in more than 60 countries and concentrates on the following sectors: education, health, community economic development, environment, youth in development, and agriculture.
By working together with active and returned Peace Corps Volunteers, we can continue addressing Rotary’s six areas of focus while enhancing goodwill, international understanding, and building capacity to address the most pressing community concerns.
Local collaborations for sustainable development around the world
A Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) offers access to local contacts, project planning and development insights, and funding possibilities within a particular community. Involving a PCV in your project can help increase its reach, impact, and sustainability.
Peace Corps Volunteers work with nongovernmental organizations, host-country governments, and local community members to identify and address local needs. PCVs can help you identify prospective beneficiaries and work with you to find the most effective way to address a community’s needs: they can partner on a community assessment, help involve local residents, mobilize community members to oversee project implementation, assist with training, and help incorporate sustainability components so that a project thrives under the care of the local community.
Visit Peace Corps’ website for a list of countries where Peace Corps works.
Working with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in the United States
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs), those who have completed their in-country service and are back in the U.S., offer a wealth of service project knowledge, interesting community insights from living abroad, and often maintain strong relationships with their host communities and local partners which can include Rotary and Rotaract clubs. These links can lead to international Rotary partnerships that provide resources for projects in the host country.
If you’re located in the U.S., consider:
- Contacting a Peace Corps Regional Recruitment Office to connect with the local RPCV alumni network in your region
- Inviting a returned volunteer to attend your club meeting or a Rotary event.
- Inviting a returned volunteer to make a presentation about his or her work abroad and, if applicable, about how he or she worked with local Rotary or Rotaract clubs.
- Asking a returned volunteer to facilitate an introduction to the Rotary or Rotaract clubs with which he or she worked while abroad.
- Inviting a returned volunteer to use his or her community development expertise to assist your club with its projects.
Peace Corps is celebrating their 55th Anniversary this year. Add your support to their work to improve communities by joining their Thunderclap on March 1. If your club or district has worked with an active or returned Peace Corps Volunteer, share your story using the commenting feature below.