By Oumie Mendy
Peace Corps – The Gambia has Wednesday sworn in 22 agriculture and health volunteers from America in a ceremony held in the Lower River Region settlement of Massembeh training center.
The oath taking followed an 8 weeks pre-service training in languages, cross-culture, medical, safety and security professionals.
Kelleah B. Young, Peace Corps Country Director said Peace Corps’ founding mission of promoting world peace and friendship among all counties remains relevant, even after 55 years of service in the Gambia under the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“Peace Corps have returned to the Gambia in a big way this year, adding to global total today, over 950 volunteers are back in 41 countries and we are still aiming to return to our pre evacuation number of 7000 volunteers worldwide, even adding a few new counties to the mix. Our strength is to build on individual relationships, one connection and one interaction at a time,” she said.
She assures that peace corps is committed to the Gambia and the demands of communities, and Peace Corps yearn for more volunteers to place in all communities whose volunteers were evacuated due to the pandemic.
Young commended the volunteers for their services and urged them to keep up the good work.She equally thanked the staff for keeping Peace Corps alive and their intense dedication towards the pre-service training of volunteers, and the host families for their hospitality.
Change’ d’ Affaires, Erik Mehler said the history of volunteerism is deeply rooted in more than half a century ago when John F. Kennedy challenged American college students to leave the comfort of their homes and communities to devote two years of their lives to help peoples in the developing world, which led to the establishment of Peace Corps after he was elected president, on the principle that one person can make a difference in the world, and that a people to people approach is best to promote world peace, understanding and friendship.
He reminded the 22 volunteers that they are shining examples of the spirit of volunteerism and community service which has long been a defining characteristic of American society.
“Helping improve people’s lives, unite communities and strengthen democracy and building of capacity and promoting sustainable development had always been America’s strive,” he added.
In his keynote address delivered on behalf of the minister of agriculture, Musa Humma, said the Agriculture and Natural Resource Domain has been faced with a combination of adverse weather conditions, climate change and unsustainable human practices which led to deterioration of the environment and natural resources and poor agricultural production.
He said the priorities of the sector have during the decade been redirected to focus on achieving sustainable levels of food and Nutrition security at household and National levels, which is reflected in the ministry’s current policies and programs that are geared towards the transformation of the food system that levy the power of food in the attainment of the 17 Millennium Development Goals by 2030. Assuring Peace Corps of the Government’s continued support.