The United States Ambassador to Rwanda, Donald W. Koran, yesterday swore in 20 new Peace Corps Volunteers who will be deployed in rural communities throughout the country to offer health services for two years.
The volunteers are the ninth group of Peace Corps to serve in Rwanda since 2008.
Speaking at the swearing in ceremony at the ambassador’s residence in Kacyiru, Koran congratulated the volunteers, saying they will depart to rural health clinics where they will be assigned to develop the capacity of health outreach workers at the village level.
“Today these trainees become official volunteers and join over 300 Peace Corps volunteers that have served in Rwanda since Peace Corps Volunteers returned five years ago,” he said.
“Their oath commits them to service in the US government’s agency that specialises in helping developing countries while at the same time promoting mutual understanding between the people of the host country and the people of the United States.”
The Minister for Health, Dr Agnes Binagwaho, commended the volunteers’ actions for being in line with the country’s vision.
“Rwanda wants to move forward and puts all its energy in improving the lives of all its citizens; now the Peace Corps are part of this journey,” she said.
Meredith Sparks, one of the Peace Corps Volunteers, expressed delight that she was going to work in the villages in Rwanda to understand better the concerns of the people while helping to address their healthcare needs.
“This is a unique character building opportunity we have been presented with. We never question the idea that we can make a difference in peoples’ lives no matter how small,” she said.
According to the Peace Corps Volunteers Country Director, Stephen Miller, the new volunteers will immediately be deployed in rural villages to support the Ministry of Health in strengthening its delivery capacity at the grassroots level.
They will work closely with health centres and community healthcare staff.
Peace Corps was invited back to Rwanda after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi by President Kagame, and the agreement between both governments was signed in July 2008.
Other Peace Corps Volunteers in Rwanda work in education, with the majority working as English teachers in secondary schools.