A total of Twenty-three Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV) from the United States of America with background in special education, science, technology, and mathematics have been sworn-in to begin their service in Ghana.
They would take up teaching positions in their respective areas across the country to complement the government’s effort towards promoting inclusive education.
The new volunteers, who would be serving for two years, joined nearly 5,000 Americans who have served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Ghana over the past 58 years.
Mr Christopher J. Lamora, Charge D’ Affaires at the US Embassy swore-in the Peace Corps Volunteers on Thursday in Accra.
Peace Corps first came to Ghana in 1961 when President Dr Kwame Nkrumah embarked on his Accelerated Development Plan in Education.
US President John F. Kennedy’s goal of establishing the Peace Corps was to build the capacity of host nations and to promote international peace and friendship through the exchange of culture.
In Ghana, through the decades, Peace Corps expanded its activities to include the environment, health, enterprise development, water, and sanitation.
Mr Lamora said even though it had been 58 years of Peace Corps activities in Ghana, this relationship continues to thrive and remains highly valued by both countries.
“Volunteers’ work has changed over the years in response to evolving development challenges. Regardless of the nature of the challenges, Volunteers are highly effective working at the grassroots level – in communities throughout Ghana, and with organisations that work on a daily basis to improve the lives of the Ghanaian people,” he said.
“Our ideas and ideals – expressed through individuals working in partnership – have an extraordinary impact. I see this every day in our development programmes in Ghana, where we change and save lives through our agriculture, education, governance, health, water and sanitation, and security programmes.”
Mr Lamora stated that this could also be seen in their exchange programmes such as the Young African Leaders Initiative; adding that under the flagship programme, the Mandela Washington Fellowship, young leaders from Africa hone their skills at the US colleges and universities, and return to the continent to craft solutions – in Africa, for Africa, by Africans.
“We follow the principle of helping people gain the capacity to help themselves. Peace Corps is at the front line of that work.”
Mr Lamora noted that they do this because a stable, prosperous and democratic Ghana was good for Ghanaians and good for Americans.
Madam Gifty Twum Ampofo, the Deputy Minister of Education, while commending the US government for the institution of such a programme, said the work of PCV had impacted positively in the lives of many Ghanaians.
“You may not see the impact of your work now but years to come, when you return to Ghana someone will run to you to tell you how your science and mathematics teaching approach has helped her to go into engineering,” she said.
Madam Ampofo urged the group to serve as grassroots ambassadors, role models and agents of change.