Peace Corps Safety and Security

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 05 May 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: May 14, 2002 - PCOL Exclusive: Interview with Rep. Sam Farr on new Peace Corps legislation : Peace Corps Safety and Security

By Daniel Pailes on Tuesday, May 21, 2002 - 8:09 am: Edit Post

Sam Farr's, new forth goal of Peace Corps needs to address vital realities of today's world. The 60's are over. We need to LEGISLATE that we have TWO volunteers in every village Peace Corps serves. It will prevent death of volunteers. The Bureaucrats who say it will hamper the effectiveness of Peace Corps can keep preaching this, but 11 volunteers since 1996 and five this year is a tragedy for the Peace Corps family and the families of the victims. Placing more experienced volunteers alone is wrong. Most of the volunteers who have been killed, or died were by themselves. A few of them were placed there because they had alot of experience. I believe strongly that if Larisa Jaffe, Nancy Coutu and Walter Poirer were serving with another volunteer, they would be here today. After September 11th, we saw the realities of an ever changing world. In Africa and other parts of the world organized groups do harass and threaten Peace Corps workers and perhaps have even killed volunteers. For the Bureaucrats who say it would take away from the program, put yourself in that situation. Think about serving by yourself or for that matter one of your family members. We are not the military and this is extactly why we can place two volunteers in every village for increased communication, safety and manpower in a village.
Also, for the career people who are working against having two volunteers at every site. We were calling Peace Corps with these ideas years before the increased tragedy, advocated in the Congress and Senator Dodd knows it, that we wanted two volunteers at every site years ago. The former Director Chuck Baquet was hard headed, so is Lloyd Pearson, now the new director is too. Vasquez is not going to change it either. He has already been called to the hill by the government reform committee by Congressman Chris Shays and John Tierney on these issues. The two volunteers at every site was not on his list of priorities. He thinks setting up an office in Peace Corps headquarters is going to prevent death. "What is the guy who is the head of this office going to do? Is he going to waive his magic wand, making a spell, that every volunteer is going to be safe. Now Vasquez is setting up regional offices. We already have REDSO for that purpose. He is just creating a smoke screen for Congress to feel secure that he is doing "something" What? I have no idea? Oh, perhaps he is creating another post so that more bureaucrats can hang around the region talking the natives and gossiping about certain volunteers. The Volunteers are the program. Put the resources into them for safety. Give them another volunteer in their village, provide them with money for projects and hire more APCD's for support of volunteers. It takes money for this, but Congress will approve it.

By Andrew Coonradt on Tuesday, May 21, 2002 - 8:04 pm: Edit Post

For increasing the safety and security of PCVs throughout the different countries of service I think that the decision of placing 2 volunteers in the same sight should be left in the hands of the in-country administration. By this I mean the Country Director, APCDs and just as importantly the PCVLs who serve in that country. The volunteers who are in their 3rd years of service in a country and the administration who are directly aware of the local situations have the best insight as to the necessity of having 2 PCVs in the same village. From my perspective as a RPCV, where my first year I was by myself and in my second year when there was another PCV in my village, I can say that I enjoyed both. Due to the fact that my PCVL had researched my village I never felt that my safety was an issue. However during my 3rd year as a PCVL I realised that some villages, due to their isolation, would require 2 volunteers in case of illness or emergency. Other than that, as a PCVL, I would not have reccomended a village for the placement of a voluteer if I did not believe the location to be safe; regardless of the number of volunteers who would be there. Due to numerous factors that PC Washington can not be totally aware of, the number of volunteers to be posted in a village should remain a decision for the in-country administration.

By Daniel ( - on Monday, January 12, 2004 - 7:08 pm: Edit Post

That is the policy now. Look at what that got us.

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