20 Peace Corps volunteers sworn-in

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

At least 20 peace corps volunteers were on Friday sworn-in at the US Ambassador’s residence in Fajara, during a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of Peace Corps in The Gambia.

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony, Mrs Fatou Lamin Faye, Secretary of State for Secondary and Basic Education, thanked the Peace Corps family, on behalf of the government and the friendly people of The Gambia. She extended sincere gratitude to them and the United States government for allowing the gallant young women and men to come and serve in The Gambia.

She said the partnership began with the service of Peace Corps volunteers as teachers, describing it as laudable.

“The relationship between The Gambia and the Peace Corps allows volunteers and their Gambian counterparts to benefit from the exchange of knowledge, skills, culture and experience in three key areas of education, health and the environment. I am happy to learn that, this batch of volunteers were selected among many applicants to come to The Gambia to serve the emerging needs of the Gambian education sector in the most crucial areas of teacher training, the teaching of mathematics and science, the introduction of ICT in schools”, she said.

She added that the government of The Gambia is very much committed to providing quality education for all children, and as such invests heavily in Peace Corps, noting that their involvement in the sector will continue to help in addressing the growing need for qualified teachers, particularly at the secondary school level.

“In fact, it is the importance government attaches to the sector that led to the creation of the new Department of State for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, to give tertiary education the attention it deserves and also provide my department of state with the opportunity to enhance basic and secondary education by giving it more focus. Government is also investing more in the sector, in a bid to improve the quality of education, through capacity- building for those responsible for the implementation of the education strategic plan,” she noted.

She further thanked the Peace Corps volunteer for their respect for The Gambia during their stay and their interaction with the Gambian people in the most remote areas and work in the most needy sectors of the country’s development programmes.

For his part, Brian Bachman, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Banjul Embassy, thanked the Peace Corps volunteers for coming to the country and urged them to note that they are not only helping the people of The Gambia, but also representing their country in The Gambia for the next two years to come. 

Mr Michael McConnel, Peace Corps Country Director, said: “Peace Corps was created 45 years back by John F Kennedy, former US President and the goals are to help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women, to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the people served and to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans”.

He added that their volunteers are not paid neither do they live in air conditioned homes. 

“Whenever their location permits, they will live with Gambian families, as part of those families. They will have Gambian fathers, Gambian mothers, sisters and brothers, eat with their families and work in their villages”, he disclosed. He then urged them not to give up even when the job is hard.

Yamai Secka-Jack, Associate Peace Corps Director, thanked all Peace Corps volunteers for coming to The Gambia. She said that the language training the volunteers underwent, will not only help them in their jobs and social communication needs, but also equip them with skills to continue learning Gambian languages in the field.

Rebecca Morrow, a Peace Corps volunteer, thanked all Gambians, on behalf of her mates and promised that they would work hard as expected of them.

Author: Written by Dagain Nyan
Source: The Daily Observer Newspaper