Some 82 United States Peace Corps trainees will arrive in Botswana on August 1st. This will be the 17th group of Volunteers to serve in Botswana since Peace Corps returned to assist in the HIV response 13 years ago. After a brief orientation in Gaborone, the group will travel to Molepolole for 11 weeks of intensive training at the Institute of Health Sciences (IHS). The trainees will live with host families in Molepolole during training to enhance their learning of Setswana and the local culture. They will be introduced to their host families during a “matching ceremony” on Thursday, 4 August 2016. Symbolically, these Peace Corps volunteers are coming in at the time of Botswana’s 50th anniversary celebrations. The welcoming event for them will take place at 10:00 am, August 4th, 2016, at Molepolole Institute of Health Sciences.
Of the 82 trainees, 25 will be assigned to schools to teach Life Skills, 21 will work in clinics, health posts and District Health Management Team offices, 17 will be assigned to either Districts AIDS Coordination or Social and Community Development Offices, and 19 will work with non-governmental organizations. These trainees represent the diversity of America in terms of age, ethnicity and professional background. The oldest is 73 and the youngest is 20. There are four married couples. All of the trainees have at least a university degree and bring valuable experience. Their in-country training will have a heavy emphasis on language learning and cross-cultural understanding to prepare them to successfully serve in Botswana. On October 13th, the trainees will be sworn in as Volunteers and placed all across the country for their two-year assignments.
The former President of Botswana, President Festus Mogae, invited Peace Corps to return to Botswana in 2003 to address HIV/AIDS. Previously, Botswana had graduated from Peace Corps’ support in 1997 due to the significant development gains Botswana had achieved. The current focus of the Peace Corps Botswana programme is to strengthen implementation of the Botswana National Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS II to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The placement of Volunteers is done in close collaboration with the National AIDS Coordination Agency (NACA) and the Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development, Health, and Education and Skills Development.
More than 2,500 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Botswana from 1966-1997 and 2003 to the present. Currently, over 100 Volunteers are serving. President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order. Peace Corps has been promoting peace and friendship around the world for over 50 years. More than 220,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 140 host countries. Today, 6,818 Volunteers and trainees are working with local communities in 64 host countries. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.