The Peace Corps is a volunteer program ran by the U.S government. The mission is to provide technical assistance, helping outside of the U.S to understand American culture, and helping citizens of America to understand the cultures of other countries.
The general scope of work is related to social and economical development and lasts for a period of 30 months, 3 months of training in the beginning.
Here are the five things you should know about the Peace Corps.
1. 7 months and 12 days after the Peace Corps was officially started, there was international controversy. October 13, 1961 a volunteer had sent a postcard saying her living situations were similar to poverty. However, that postcard never made it out of the country. Instead America was accused of having the volunteers work as international spies.
2. A Peace Corps member was murdered in 1976. Deborah Gardner was murdered in Tonga, where she was serving in the Peace Corps. A fellow Peace Corps member, Dennis Priven, was charged with murder by the Tonga government. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and was sentenced to serve time in D.C. Priven was never admitted to any institution and the handling of the case has been heavily criticized. The Peace Corps seems to have word to keep one of its volunteers being found guilty of murder to hold a good reputation and reflection of the organization.
3. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, President George W. Bush pledged to double the size of the organization within five years as a part of the War on Terrorism. Congress passed a budget in 2004 to increase it to $325M, $30M above 2003 but $30M below the President’s request. As part of an economic stimulus package in 2008, Barack Obama wanted to double the size of the Peace Corps. However, the number of applicants to the Peace Corps has declined steadily; from a high 15,438 applicants in 2009 to 10,091 applicants in 2012.
4. According to Gaddi Vasquez, former director, the Peace Corps is trying to revisit its mission and equip it with new technology. The Peace Corps is trying to recruit more diverse volunteers of different ages and make it look “more like America”.
5. Casey Frazee, a Peace Corps worker, was sexually assaulted while serving in South Africa, created First Response Action (FRA). Casey created FRA to make the Peace Corps stronger and response for volunteers who are survivors or victims of physical and sexual violence. In 2010 an illustrated report showed that hundreds of violent crimes had happened against volunteers since 1989. In 2011 a 20/20 investigation found more than 1,000+ young American women have been raped or sexually assaulted in the last decade while serving as Peace Corps volunteers.
It’s not hard to see why the declines in applicants for the Peace Corps have plummeted. The world isn’t what it was back in 1961. If you are joining the Peace Corps make sure you do plenty of research about the region, its crime rate, and the people you are going with.
3. (http://feed.vocativ.com/peace-corps-applications-lowest-in-a-decade-doing-good-is-great-but-young-people-want-jobs/ )
4. ( http://hir.harvard.edu/?page=article&id=1336&p=2)