March 20, 2003 - Friends of Niger Listserv: All calm in Niger, PCVs in "Standfast"

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: March 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: March 20, 2003 - Friends of Niger Listserv: All calm in Niger, PCVs in "Standfast"

By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 1:19 pm: Edit Post

All calm in Niger, PCVs in "Standfast"

Friends and family of volunteers in the field are, of course, concerned about the conflict in Iraq and what effect it could have on Safety and Security of Volunteers. PCOL has been monitoring various PCV listservs for information on concerns or incidents in the field. The following message, reprinted with the permission of the author, is typical of what we have been seeing: that the Peace Corps is doing everything that is needed, that Peace Corps Country Directors are monitoring the situation closely in all countries, that they are taking every precaution, and that parents are very grateful to know that PCVs are being so carefully taken care of. This message comes from Niger, which with an 80% Muslim population, is fairly typical of countries in Africa where the Peace Corps might have a concern. If anyone has any information on other countries, please post it at the bottom of this message. Read the email at:

Everything is calm in Niger, Volunteers are in "Standfast"*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Everything is calm in Niger, Volunteers are in "Standfast"

Note: Some minor editing has been done to the following email to remove the names of PCVs in country.

My son and his wife were recently transferred to the town of Dosso to work with PLAN, an NGO. They have access to email more regularly than before. I had asked my son to email us a short message each day after war broke out. I heard from him today. This is what he wrote:
"So we have been put in "standfast" mode so we cannot travel outside of Dosso - even to travel to Niamey. In addition, they are going to put a police guard at the peace corps house in Dosso and are going to require my wife and I to sleep there until further notice."
As was noted the other day by some families, they feel very safe. They would actually feel safer in their village, where they were very connected and the villagers take great care of them. My son had also mentioned to me awhile ago when I asked about plans in case of war that the volunteers from Zinder would be brought back to Niamey because it is felt that it would be hard to evacuate them if something did happen. He did not mention anything about it in his email, however, so I don't know if that is being done.

If I get more information from him that seems helpful I will forward it on to the group. He feels that the Peace Corps is doing more than needed (because they think the country is so peaceful and that nothing will happen to them), but I, as his mother, am very, very grateful to know that they are being so carefully taken care of.


Lucy Osborn
More about Emergency Action Plans (EAP) for Peace Corps Volunteers

Read more about Emergency Action Plans (EAP) for Peace Corps Volunteers and the three levels of alert (standfast, consolidation, evacuation) with this excerpt from the EAP training module that all volunteers go through during training at:

We are all painfully aware that so much information comes across our desks that we hardly have time to give it a cursory glance. When we consider the sheer volume of written material heaped upon Trainees at PST it’s a wonder they can slog through it all during their two year Volunteer service! Somewhere among this onslaught of paper the Emergency Action Plan is distributed to Trainees, most of whom will file it away without a second thought. And therein lies the rub. Without some orientation to the EAP, it will remain forgotten gathering dust in a box beneath the Volunteer’s bed. In several recent evacuation debriefings, Volunteers have emphasized the need to be familiar with the EAP before the crisis occurs. Many posts have included some orientation to the EAP as a session in Pre-Service Training. A possible module for PST presentation, gleaned from many discussions with Volunteers, trainers and staff, follows:

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module the participants will be able to:

1. Define standfast, consolidation and evacuation stages;

2. Identify the consolidation point for their prospective site;

3. Describe at least two routes from their prospective site to their consolidation ?assembly points;

4. List the contents of an evacuation bag;

5. Provide specific emergency contact information at their prospective sites.

Key Learning Points

* The EAP is an important resource for every Volunteer;

* Every Volunteer has the responsibility to ensure their emergency contact information is accurate and up-to-date;

* The EAP is no substitute for common sense and good judgment;

Session I 45 minutes

A week prior to the scheduled Trainee site visits, distribute post EAP to Trainees instructing them to read through it and prepare to answer questions at a future session. A day or two before the scheduled visit convene "EAP Orientation" session, an open-book discussion. Ask participants the following questions:

What is the purpose of the EAP?

* To prepare for, mitigate, respond to and recover from a crisis situation.

What emergencies are identified in the EAP?

* medical emergency, family crisis, political instability, civil unrest, natural disaster.

What are the stages of alert? Please define them.

* standfast - impending emergency, stay at site, keep low profile

* consolidation - go to pre-arranged assembly point, contact PC office, prepare for withdrawal

* evacuation - leave assembly point, proceed to safe haven

Using the EAP as a reference have each participant find her/his prospective site and consolidation assembly point on a large country map. Which participants share the same assembly points? What information about the assembly point can the participants derive from studying the EAP and map? What are two possible routes from site to assembly point? What other information would they want to have? Where/to whom would they go to get it?

Distribute blank site locator forms to participants.

Why are site locator forms important?

* provide emergency contact information

* include detailed map in case of emergency transportation

* lists local support resources (clinic, police, other PCVs)

* incorporated into the EAP communication network

Emphasize the importance of keeping the site locator forms up-to-date and remind participants that it is their responsibility to do so.

Ask for any additional questions.

Session II 45 minutes

During the pre-site visit sessions incorporate the following exercises into the Trainees’ visit activities.

If the site locator forms have already been completed for prospective sites, provide each Trainee with a copy instructing them to verify:

* identity of contact persons and means of contact (tel., radio, etc.)

* accuracy of map

* location of clinic, police post, school, other support facilities

* standard housing criteria (doors, windows, locks, burglar bars, etc.)

If site locator forms have not been completed for prospective sites, provide the Trainees with blank forms and have them take a first cut at gathering the information listed above.

Debriefing. When Trainees return from site visit, gather feedback from them on the tasks outlined above.

o Which tasks proved difficult? Why?

o What did you learn that surprised you?

o Which training needs do you now feel need more attention?

Exercise. The participants will need their EAP and site locator forms during the exercise. Distribute scenario and list of questions (you may find it more appropriate to develop your own scenario).

Scenario. Imagine that you are now a PCV at your site. While you are preparing for a workshop scheduled to begin the next day (your first "big" activity), a local driver arrives at your site with a letter from the Peace Corps office that instructs you to immediately travel to your consolidation point.

Using your EAP and site locator form as references, take 15 minutes to describe how you would proceed. List at least 5 tasks.

o conduct property inventory

o pack emergency evacuation bag (list contents)

o inform counterpart to postpone workshop

o inform host family

o lock house arrange for security during absence

o travel immediately to consolidation assembly point (describe route)

o notify Peace Corps immediately upon arrival at consolidation assembly point

Ask participants to report out. List tasks on flip chart.

Ask for any additional questions.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Niger; Safety and Security of Volunteers



By Beth Schrank on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 - 11:02 am: Edit Post

Does anyone remember seeing an eclipse in Niger during Oct 1988-Oct 1990? I distinctly remember seeing a solar eclipse during the dya in Maradi but didn't write down the date.

I have contacted an astronomer, who claims the last solar eclipse visible from Niger was 1973!

Did anyone write this down, say, in a letter or diary?


Beth Schrank
RPCV Niger 1988-1990

By samantha hall ( - on Saturday, June 30, 2007 - 11:30 am: Edit Post

i was a peace corps volunteer in niger during 2001 and 2003. was wondering, if anyone who has been there after me, or is still there could tell me something. i painted a mural for the niamey zoo, pretty big one too. could anyone tell me if it's still there? or what's happened to it? did it get moved parc w? was just google earthing niamey and remembering all the good times over there. place looks great! i can't believe they actually finished the road in front of the hostel!! that trips me out. hi to anyone who knows me, hello to those who don't...wasn't niger a great time?
nafissa (aka sammy)

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