The United States Ambassador to Rwanda, Stuart Symington, yesterday welcomed 67 Peace Corps volunteers, who will be posted in several remote schools across the country for a period of two years.
The volunteers were inducted in an eleven-week training programme in Nyanza District, Southern province, and will complement the existing 150 volunteers already operating in the education and health sectors.
In a function at the ambassador’s residence yesterday, Symington, alongside Health Minister, Richard Sezibera, the Executive Secretary of Teacher Service Commission, Emmanuel Muvunyi, and other officials, witnessed as volunteers took the oath of service.
Addressing the volunteers, Muvunyi commended the work of the Peace Corps in the education sector, calling them “very reliable and determined personnel.”
“We are going through reform in our education system, especially through the 9-Year Basic Education programme and the focus on English as the new medium of instruction in all schools. Therefore, your activities are timely,” Muvunyi said.
“We negotiated with the embassy that unlike in the past, the volunteers should now be deployed in the remotest parts of our country so that schools there can also benefit from your efforts and not be left behind.”
Ambassador Symington said that the role of the volunteers was not only to serve in peaceful endeavors, but also to support people in attaining better and sustainable living standards.
“You can not be healthy in a suffering neighborhood; you can not be rich in a hungry community. Therefore, we must all contribute to everybody’s wellbeing because none of us can truly be at peace until everybody else in our community is in a better state,” Symington told the volunteers.
Sezibera urged the volunteers to work hard despite the culture clashes and other challenges they might face while at work, and focus on improving development and promoting mutual understanding between the American people and Rwandans.
Peace Corps started its activities in Rwanda in 1974 but stopped in 1994 due to the Genocide against the Tutsis.
In 2008, at the invitation of President Paul Kagame, the Peace Corps restarted their activities and have so far sent over 300 volunteers to serve in the country.