November 7, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: Letters to the Editor: Suggestions to improve safety from RPCV Gabriel Brandt

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: October 26, 2003: Dayton Daily News reports on Peace Corps Safety and Security: Speaking Out: Letters to the Editor and Guest Commentary: November 7, 2003 - Dayton Daily News: Letters to the Editor: Suggestions to improve safety from RPCV Gabriel Brandt

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 9:40 am: Edit Post

Suggestions to improve safety from RPCV Gabriel Brandt

Suggestions to improve safety from RPCV Gabriel Brandt

Suggestions to improve safety

I grew up in Dayton and spent two years in the Peace Corps (1992- 1994). Recent articles in the Dayton Daily News may have left readers with the impression that being a Peace Corps volunteer is intrinsically unsafe. A quick calculation using the DDN's numbers shows that this isn't quite the case.

In fact, the overseas assault rate the DDN gives for the last decade is practically identical to the per capita incidence of violent crime in Ohio. As for murder, the 20 cases since 1961 cited by the DDN come out to a murder rate more than seven times lower than Ohio's.

However, if even one of the crimes mentioned in the DDN articles could be prevented, then the Peace Corps should do something about it. A few possibilities for action come to mind.

First, it would be interesting to compare the safety record of the Peace Corps to that of similar organizations from other countries, such as the United Kingdom's Voluntary Service Overseas, the German Development Service, or the Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers. If there is a culture of heedlessness on the part of the Peace Corps, such a comparison might reveal it.

Second, the Peace Corps deserves better top-level management than it typically gets. The directorship seems to be passed out as an act of political patronage.

Finally, the problem of understaffing mentioned in the DDN is certainly consistent with my experience. I was visited at my site only twice in two years, but since there were 60 volunteers scattered all over the county and only three administrators, it didn't surprise me very much. This problem is easily solved, simply by increasing the Peace Corps' budget.

If the work is important enough to support, as our president has suggested it is, we shouldn't scrimp on funding, especially if the safety of volunteers is at stake.

Gabriel Brandt Brookline, Mass.

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Story Source: Dayton Daily News: Letters to the Editor

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Safety and Security of Volunteers; Investigative Journalism



By ( - on Monday, November 10, 2003 - 8:17 pm: Edit Post

Hey Gabe,

You are comapring apples to oranges. We are working for our government. A good arguement would be to look at the 27 who have fallen understand that they "served" too. I am glad this journalist brought these safety breeches to the attention of the American public.

To reduce safety and attrition. Peace Corps first must couple volunteers together. Everybody in there right mind knows it would reduce victims of violence and increase safety.

I agree with increasing the budget, only if they look at placement and the stigma of separating volunteers. Many volunteers don't want to report difficulties in safety because of the fear of reprisal from the agency. Look how they treat your colleagues. You must address these issues to have a real preventative safety policy at Peace Corps.


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