LUSAKA, Zambia – Zambia is the first country in the world to receive returning Peace Corps Volunteers after all volunteers were evacuated worldwide in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On June 2, the Peace Corps in Zambia swore 21 new volunteers from the United States into service following 11 weeks of intense training in technical skills, language, and cross-cultural understanding. Reflecting on his nearly four decades of service, Peace Corps Director Brad Favor welcomed the volunteers to service in Zambia, and visiting Peace Corps Regional Director for Africa Michelle Godette administered the Peace Corps oath to the new group.
The volunteers will live and work with rural communities for two years on aquaculture and environmental programs. Thirteen of the volunteers will serve under the Forestry Department in Northwestern, Southern, Eastern, and Luapula provinces to assist smallholder rural farmers to improve and expand the adoption of practices that preserve, restore, and increase the number of trees. The remaining eight volunteers will serve under the Department of Fisheries in Central, Northern, and Northwest provinces to support smallholder rural farmers to sustainably increase fish production, consumption, and income.
All of the volunteers will provide HIV/AIDS prevention assistance in their communities through the U.S. Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). They will also share information in their communities about preventing the transmission of COVID-19 and promote access to COVID-19 vaccines offered by local health centers.
Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment John Msimuko was the guest of honor for the ceremony and provided remarks to the new volunteers and audience. Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock Dr. Anna Songolo and His Royal Highness Chief Chamuka of the Lenje people were special guests.
Peace Corps works in Zambia at the invitation of the Zambian government. Before the pandemic, Zambia hosted the largest number of volunteers of all Peace Corps countries worldwide. Since the first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Zambia in 1994, over 2,400 volunteers have served in the country, living and working in rural communities in nine of the ten provinces.