On Wednesday, December 5th, Peace Corps – The Gambia swore in 39 new Agriculture and Health Volunteers. The ceremony, which was attended by Minister of Environment Lamin B. Dibba and Minister of Health and Social Welfare Dr. IsatouTouray, was dedicated to the memory of President George H.W. Bush, who was a strong supporter of The Peace Corps. NuruSey, Peace Corps Program Manager for Health opened the ceremony by saying “President Bush led a great American life, one that combined and personified one of our Nation’s greatest virtues, a commitment to public service. The United States will greatly miss his inspiring example. It is fitting that we honor President Bush’s legacy of service today by swearing-in 39 New Peace Corps Volunteers.”
In her key note address Dr. Touray commented “Over the five decades that the Peace Corps has been in this country, our partnership has steadily grown stronger and has been flexible enough to accommodate The Gambia’s ever-changing developmental needs and challenges.”
The new volunteers come from all corners of the United States. Prior to their swear-in, the Volunteers attended a two-month long, intensive pre-service training program. The volunteers lived with host families to gain insight into Gambian culture. They also learned to speak the language of their future work site. The Volunteers demonstrated their mastery of the language during the swearing-in ceremony by addressing the audience in Wolof, Mandinka, Pulaar, Jolla, and English.
The volunteers will spend two years working in rural communities throughout the Gambia where they will work with extension staff and community members. They will act as educators, catalysts, and change agents. Volunteers working in the Health section will address multiple public health needs including awareness of communicable diseases and water sanitation and hygiene. Agriculture sector Volunteers will address food security and production as well asenvironmental protection. Peace Corps’ operational model is unique. Volunteers live and work in communities, and help build capacity while promoting better mutual understanding. More than 1,800 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in The Gambia since the program was established in 1967.