LESOTHO this weekend welcomed back 15 American Peace Corps Volunteers who were evacuated in March 2020 on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The volunteers will serve alongside community members across the country in sectors like health and education. Five will serve in health while the rest will serve in education.
They are returning after all volunteers were evacuated worldwide in March 2020.
The March 2020 departure marked the first time in the agency’s 60-year history that volunteers were evacuated from all global posts. Since that time, Peace Corps Lesotho staff and their counterparts have continued to engage in community Grassroot Soccer (GRS) initiatives focused on life skills, HIV education, and Covid-19 prevention.
Peace Corps Lesotho country director, Randa Wilkinson, this weekend said she was excited by the volunteers’ reentry into Lesotho.
“We are so excited to be a part of the historic reentry of volunteers in Lesotho,” Ms Wilkinson said.
“Since March 2020, Peace Corps staff around the world have worked to strengthen the foundation of the agency. Our staff in Lesotho are excited to welcome this group of volunteers, to continue the work at the invitation of the government of Lesotho to work alongside community members on locally prioritised projects and inspire the next generation of global leaders.”
At the government’s request, the volunteers will engage in education and health projects. Education volunteers will work to advance literacy, numeracy and life skills based sexual education (LBSE) in primary schools.
Health volunteers’ work will focus on prevention of new HIV infections amongst adolescents in out-of-school settings, increasing access to gender-equitable care, support, and treatment for adolescents living with or affected by HIV and AIDS, including orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and their families, and supporting the strengthening of health systems to improve youth friendly services, a statement from Peace Corps said.
“For decades, the Peace Corps has engaged in last mile, critical global health work and the Covid-19 pandemic is no exception. Regardless of the sector they work in, all Peace Corps volunteers will engage in some form of Covid-19 response and recovery work, through either primary or secondary projects. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, they will also support local partners’ efforts to disseminate Covid-19 mitigation information and promote access to vaccinations in alignment with the Health ministry’s guidance. Together, volunteers will work alongside community members to make progress on the biggest development challenge the world has faced in more than a century,” the statement said.