|By Chime de Panama (220.127.116.11) on Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 9:02 pm: Edit Post|
Congratulations to Dayton Daily News for telling the heart-rending stories of Peace Corps volunteers who are victims of violence! However, if you want to get a more complete idea on how Peace Corps handles security, please don't rely on the Dayton Daily News. They did a very unthorough job of explaining the keys to security as a Peace Corps volunteer. They left out or minimized the fact that many of the victims were probably ignoring Peace Corps guidelines on security and safety at the time of the incident. They left out the fact that PCV's are not supervised. PCV's are provided the training, the safe site location, the resources, and the RESPONSIBILITY to accomplish the Peace Corps goals while remaining safe. The "R" word can be a BIG word for some PCV's to swallow.
If an aspiring volunteer wants more info about safety and security, they should talk to RPCV's who served recently in their assigned country. Then they will get a PCV's perspective of safety and security. The aspiring volunteer should also talk to the Country Director and any safety coordinators about his/her safety concerns.
Finally, in this post 9-11 age of confiscating nail clippers and picante sauce for airline passenger safety, we need to use safety guidelines that truly accomplish PCV safety. Most safety guidelines mandated from Washington, DC, at best will be more ridiculous than helpful because they do not address the real safety concerns in a host country. At worst, the Washington guidelines will create a false sense of security and significantly hinder the effectiveness of Peace Corps programs.