On May 3rd, 2016, forty-five new Peace Corps Volunteers were sworn-in to service by U.S. Ambassador Robert Yamate in a ceremony at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Antananarivo. The new Volunteers will work in the fields of health and agriculture. Volunteers recently finished three months of intensive cultural, language, and technical training and have now been assigned to local communities throughout Madagascar where they will live and work for the next two years.
Agriculture Extension Agents will work with local farmers living around protected areas, students, and community members to improve food security and livelihoods for the Malagasy people. Specifically, they will work with rural farming communities to: apply new and improved crop production and soil conservation practices; increase availability and access to more diverse and nutritious foods; and train small farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs on business creation and skills development.
Community Health Advisors will support global and national efforts to ensure that all Malagasy have longer and healthier lives. They will work in collaboration with “Centres de Santé de Base” (CSBs) and “Health Committees” (COSAN) to promote household health through trainings, workshops, and mentoring for care givers. Importantly, they work hand-in-hand with partners to carry out community-based health promotion activities throughout communes. They target the prevention of childhood illnesses, malnutrition and stunting, malaria, and waterborne illnesses.
Vanessa Dickey, Peace Corps Country Director, notes the role of all Peace Corps Volunteers to mobilize communities for local impact. “Volunteers work directly with communities, farmers, mothers, children and the health system and thus understand the needs and aspirations of people with whom they live and work. This daily collaboration enables volunteers and communities to make positive change in the most direct and relevant way possible while also engaging in cultural exchange to promote world peace and friendship”, she says.
This impact is currently the mission of 152 Volunteers in Madagascar working in the areas of education, agriculture and health. More than 1,160 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Madagascar since the program was established in 1993.
About the Peace Corps:
President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order. For over 50 years Peace Corps has been promoting peace and friendship around the world. Historically, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Today, 8,655 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries.