The Return of Peace Corps Rwanda

Map of Rwanda32 Peace Corps Volunteers will be sworn-in today in Kigali, marking the return of the Peace Corps Rwanda program after a 15-year absence.

According to the Peace Corps, its presence in Rwanda ended 15 years ago when “the the civil unrest that resulted in the genocide” began. (Read more about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.)

The new group of Volunteers, who have been in pre-service training in Rwanda since January, will work on health and community development assignments, including collaborating with the Rwandan government and its U.S. government partners  to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Like the United States, every Peace Corps host country has its unique history and psychological scars from past tragedies. The genocide in Rwanda is an exceptional example of recent terror that still haunts its population. Underscoring the Peace Corps Rwanda swearing in photo 2009special needs of Rwandan people, the new group of Volunteers has recently participated in conferences as part of Genocide Memorial Week, “so they could more fully understand the communities they will be working in for the next two years,” according to Peace Corps.

Peace Corps staff have been in-country since 2008, preparing to bring in the new group of Volunteers. After they swear in at the residence of U.S. Ambassador W. Stuart Symington, the new Volunteers will take up residence for two years in communities across the country.

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    • vhtrabosh
    • April 15th, 2009

    Great to hear. Are they many peace corps volunteers of color who were sworn in? I have no idea of how much diversity there is now in the peace corps. Any information would be helpful. Thanks

  1. The Peace Corps statement says only: “This first group of Volunteers represents a diverse cross-section of America and hail from every region of the United States.” I’ll see if I can find out anything else.

    • vhtrabosh
    • April 15th, 2009

    thanks – I appreciate you looking into it. I know from my work in Rwanda that true diversity v. geographical diversity makes a difference.

  2. The following details are from Laura Lartigue, Acting Press Director of the Peace Corps:

    “With regard to diversity, Peace Corps Volunteers self-identify with regard to race. Among the group of 32 Volunteers who were recently sworn in, people of color include: three African American, three Hispanic, one of mixed race, one Asian American. Two members of the group did not self-identify.

    “Indeed, these volunteers come from all over the U.S. We also have one married couple serving. In addition, there are 26 women and six men in this particular group, so women far outweigh the men. And although we often have diversity of age, this is, overall, a very young group of volunteers—the youngest is 22, and the oldest is 31.”

    • vhtrabosh
    • April 16th, 2009

    thanks so much – I have been to Rwanda 6 times in 3 1/2 years for the foundation I co-founded, Itafari Foundation. http://itafari.org Rwandans know what they need, and I am always striving to combine our strengths with their wants. Rwanda is an amazing country and filled with people who are resilient and determined to rebuild their country itafari (brick) by itafari (brick) by itafari (brick). Murakoze for your assistance.

    • Jan Wenzler
    • January 10th, 2011

    How many of the Peace Corps volunteers that were sworn in in 2009 fulfilled their two year commitment in Rwanda?

    • Jan Wenzler
    • January 10th, 2011

    I realize now that their two year commitment is not up. So then my question would be: How many are still serving as volunteers?

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