March 29, 2004 - Kansas City Star: Peace Corps goal of doubling by 2007 is Unattainable

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: December 3, 2004: Promises not funded are promises not kept: March 29, 2004 - Kansas City Star: Peace Corps goal of doubling by 2007 is Unattainable
Promises not Funded are Promises not Kept Promises not Funded are Promises not Kept
Read the op-ed on the President's promise to double the Peace Corps by 2007, why the Peace Corps is admitting that it isn't going to happen, and what RPCVs can do to help. Latest: Read what Director Vasquez says about expansion and why promises are still unkept.

By Admin1 (admin) ( on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 11:10 am: Edit Post

Peace Corps goal of doubling by 2007 is Unattainable

Peace Corps goal of doubling by 2007 is Unattainable

Read and comment on this story from the Associated Press that the Peace Corps is admitting publicly for the first time that it lacks the funding from Congress to continue its expansion program and that the President's goal of doubling the Peace Corps to 14,000 volunteers by 2007 is unattainable at this point.

When the NPCA Director's Circle met with Director Vasquez on March 11, PCOL asked Director Vasquez if the limiting factor in meeting President Bush's goal of doubling the Peace Corps by 2007 was 1) increasing the number of countries where the Peace Corps works, 2) recruiting enough volunteers to fill all the slots, or 3) just getting the money from Congress to pay for it all. Director Vasquez replied that he has a waiting list of countries that want the Peace Corps to go into, that he is able to recruit volunteers to fill the slots, but that the factor that was keeping the Peace Corps from fulfilling its goals was the low budget appropriation from Congress.

For FY2004, Bush requested $359M of which only $325M was appropriated by Congress. To get the Peace Corps back on track for its expansion plans, Congress needs to approve the $401M the President has asked for in his FY2005 budget. Even then, the goal of doubling the Peace Corps by 2007 in unattainable at this point because of the low appropriations this year and will have to be pushed back at least a year or possibly two into the future. Read the story at:

Peace Corps Lacks Money to Expand*

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

Peace Corps Lacks Money to Expand


Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The Peace Corps is trying to carry out President Bush's goal of doubling the number of volunteers it sends abroad by 2007, but it lacks the money to do it.

 Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez

"The rate of growth for the Peace Corps has slowed and will slow because the funding levels we requested for doubling have not materialized," Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez says.

More than 7,500 volunteers served in 71 countries last year, the most since the early 1970s. The Peace Corps budget, which grew by $26 million to $323 million this year, remains short of that needed to set the agency on track to reach 14,000 volunteers within the five-year period Bush proposed in his 2002 State of the Union address.

After Bush's speech, interest in joining the Peace Corps grew rapidly in post-Sept. 11 America. Applications climbed from 9,156 in 2001 to 11,518 last year, and officials foresee another banner year of applications in 2004.

One new volunteer is Eric Willson of St. Albans, W.Va., beginning work next month in East Timor on a medical project. He attributed new interest in serving abroad to a change in how some Americans see themselves after the 2001 terror attacks.

"It's a lot of the awakening of Americans, that we are the richest society in the world and it's about time we start giving back some," said Willson, 27.

The demand for Peace Corps programs also has reached unprecedented levels. The agency began projects last year in Fiji, Albania, Chad and Azerbaijan and has a waiting list of 20 nations seeking new projects, said Jennifer Borgen, a Peace Corps spokeswoman.

 Sam Farr

Rising interest from prospective volunteers and foreign countries makes this a crucial time for the agency, said Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., a former Peace Corps volunteer. "The interest to get into the Peace Corps is at an all-time high. The only thing that's not able to match the supply with the demand has been the funding," said Farr, who has sponsored legislation that would rapidly double the agency's budget. Farr criticized the administration for not doing more to increase the Peace Corps' 2004 allocation. Bush requested $359 million, but Congress provided $36 million less.

The president's 2005 budget returns to the agency's original blueprint for doubling by 2007, requesting $401 million for next year. The outline calls for $443 million in 2006 and $485 million in 2007, said Michelle Brooks, Peace Corps deputy director of congressional relations.

Brooks said those sums would set the Peace Corps on track to reach 14,000 volunteers, but not by 2007 because of previous setbacks.

The Peace Corps pays volunteers a stipend based on the living standards of their host countries during their two years of service. They are paid a little more than $6,000 after completing their tours.

More than 170,000 volunteers have served in 136 countries since President Kennedy founded the organization in 1961. The Peace Corps reached 15,000 volunteers in 1966 and maintained 4,500 to 7,100 volunteers annually over the past 30 years.

Vasquez said safety of the volunteers and availability of worthwhile assignments are priorities for the organization as it seeks to expand.

Since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the Peace Corps established an office of safety and security to oversee safety regulations, increased its safety and security staff and added an extra day of safety training for departing volunteers.

"We don't want volunteers to be surprised when they get in-country," spokeswoman Barbara Daly said. "It would have been irresponsible of us if that hadn't changed."

Daly said the agency works with its regional directors and host-country officials to find programs for new assignments abroad. Its largest project is in Ukraine, with 314 volunteers.

Host countries are requesting more volunteers in information technology, small business, agriculture and youth development, Daly said.

The Peace Corps recently began recruitment campaigns geared toward minorities, older Americans and community college students to find people who had not thought of volunteering but have relevant work experience and skills.

November 17, 2003 - Peace Corps Volunteer Numbers Reach Record High

Read the story PCOL wrote last November that the goal of doubling the Peace Corps by 2007 was unattainable and would have to be pushed back and that doubling the number of volunteers would require an annual growth rate of 15% over a five year period and that growth will not be sustainable without higher budgets from Congress.

Read and comment on this Peace Corps Press Release that the annual Peace Corps census conducted on September 30 shows that the total number of volunteers in the field is 7,533 - the largest number of volunteers to serve overseas since 1974.

The census on September 30, 2002 was 6,636 volunteers so there has been a 15% increase in the past year. Keep in mind however, that the 2002 number was lower than expected due to the evacuation of hundreds of volunteers from Central Asia after 911, the removal of volunteers from Zimbabwe and Madagascar, and the withdrawal of trainees who were to go to Russia. The figure for 2001 was 6,643 and the figure for 2000 (which can be considered a baseline) was 7,164 volunteers in the field. So the present level is about 6% above the baseline - still an impressive performance that has required a lot of hard work to recover from two "bad" years - 2001 and 2002 with the opening of new programs in Fiji, Swaziland, Albania, Chad, and Azerbaijan to offset volunteers evacuated from Jordan, Morocco, China and the Ivory Coast.

What this means is that it will be difficult for the Peace Corps to meet the President's growth goal, first proposed in his State of the Union Address in February, 2002, of doubling the number of volunteers in the Field to 14,000 by 2007. Peace Corps expansion depends on many factors: the number of countries where the agency has programs, the number of volunteers in each country, having the infrastructure in place to support recruitment, placement, training and volunteer support, and having funds available to pay for it all. Some of these factors are outside the agency's control; e.g. volunteer density in any particular country cannot be increased past a certain point without affecting the quality of programs and the volunteer experience and there have already been concerns raised about this issue on some RPCV listservs. But the primary limiting factor in growth is going to be funding. Doubling the number of volunteers will require an annual growth rate of 15% over a five year period and that growth will not be sustainable without higher budgets from Congress.

The Conference Committee report that just came out of Congress has an appropriation of $325M for the Peace Corps for FY2004, a 10% increase over the FY2003 budget of $297M. There is no reason to believe, given current deficits and the budget climate in the foreseeable future, that the Peace Corps can reasonably expect annual increases in excess of the 10% figure. In fact, the Peace Corps will probably have to fight a yearly battle to maintain a 10% annual budget increase. With 10% annual growth, it will take seven years to reach the President's goal of doubling the Peace Corps rather than five.

Still the Peace Corps can be very proud of their numbers for this year - it is a big accomplishment for the Peace Corps to increase volunteers in the field by almost 1,000 in one year and we extend our congratulations to the Peace Corps and to Director Gaddi Vasquez on this big step. This accomplishment has demonstrated that Peace Corps expansion is not only possible but is actually being accomplished one step at a time. The next Director of the Peace Corps will have a significant challenge to sustain the budget growth, increase the number of programs, maintain program quality and the quality of the volunteer experience, continue infrastructure upgrades at the agency, and address the Safety and Security issues that were highlighted in the recent series by the Dayton Daily News. Read the story at:

Peace Corps’ Volunteer Numbers Reach Record High*

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

Peace Corps’ Volunteer Numbers Reach Record High

Largest Number of Americans Serving in 28 Years

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 18, 2003 – Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez is honored to announce that 7,533 Americans are currently serving in the Peace Corps – the largest number of volunteers to serve overseas since 1974. The Peace Corps just verified the numbers after it completed its annual official count on September 30th.

From May to October, nearly 3,000 new Peace Corps trainees arrived at posts worldwide. In September alone, approximately 1,240 trainees arrived in 32 countries ranging in locations from Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.

Specifically, volunteers have arrived in Fiji, Swaziland, Albania, Chad, and Azerbaijan, which are all beginning new Peace Corps programs this year. The Peace Corps also plans on returning volunteers to China and Jordan in 2004.

“The significant number of new trainees in the field and new applicants are enormous indicators that Americans are more willing than ever to dedicate two years of their life to serve others around the globe,” stated Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez. “With Peace Corps’ new recruiting campaign in full swing this fall, we anticipate that new volunteer interest will continue to climb.”

This September, approximately 1,030 Americans applied to the Peace Corps - a 27 percent increase from 2002. From May to September of this year, the Peace Corps also experienced a 16 percent increase in the number of applications received over the same months last year. With increasing requests for applications, a record number of Americans are heeding President Bush’s call to service.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Peace Corps and how to apply, please call 1.800.424.8580 to speak to a recruiter or visit the Peace Corps Web site at

Since 1961, more than 170,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health and HIV/AIDS awareness and education, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Expansion; Election2004 - Bush



By Jim Fox, RPCV ( - on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 1:10 pm: Edit Post

So is there any surprise? Doubling the Peace Corps without funding is empty political nonsense.

Quality Peace Corps programs can NOT be rapidly ramped-up, just for political expediency. It's been tried unsuccessfully several times before. We who have been there know that.

And, this is especially true in a world where brutish shortsighted US Policies have increased world tensions, as never before. Sorry Bush, Peace Corps alone can't clean up your mess and make it all well.

Such rhetoric, without significant funding, is "all hat, no cattle" -- of no serious import.

By Kelly ( on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 8:19 pm: Edit Post

I am so glad the PC stood up and said they can't meet the unrealistic, not to mention unsafe goals. Trying to meet them only puts volunteers and staff members at risk without the financial support to employ more staffers. I am so sick of people saying MORE, MORE, MORE with LESS LESS LESS. We're not talking about lesgislation that would put a few less dollars in a multi-billion dollar company's pocket, we're talking about the safety and security of American civilians that are just trying to bring the world a little more peace.

By daniel ( - on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 9:57 am: Edit Post

Its simple Gaddi. Make it safer and repair relationships with former volunteers and their families who have gone through security problems.

Peace Corps officially has not done this.

They (The Congress) are allocating money for an office of Ombudsman and other purposes toward "people who have served" who have gone through safety and health problems. What are they saying when this happens? Gaddi, its in the management of the program. When Medical services and management of Peace Corps have a "blame game" on problems, the American people get nervous, the American people are the Congress.

These problems, most of the time are "out of the control" of the serving volunteer. The people in management don't get it and have a, hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil mentality. Just take for instance your statements (Gaddi Vasquez's statement" "that Peace Corps does not need an ombudsman" or even that a lawyer in our cases with the agency.

He pretends and others in management pretend nothing happened and want to push more and more volunteers into service without necessary safe guards. These safe guards are that a volunteer is supported at his or her site and that his or her civil rights won't be violated by a short sighted staff person who thinks they have some sort of power over the volunteer. The management question "falls on your shoulders" Gaddi not Congress. You could have sent a signal to all volunteers and to the American public by serving all volunteers properly and still can. Each day, you don't serve all of us, you disserve Peace Corps.

Management has acknowledged problems in safety now. It took "a beating of the drum" at Capitol hill for five years but we finally got there attention. Then, you and the agency say there really is "no problem we can't fix". Mr. Poirier painted another picture in his testimony and I agree with him. You and the agency still treat me and my family with contempt and lie about my true experiences in Peace Corps. You have not made any attempt to remedy that situation.

You have not remedied many of the problems volunteers and former volunteer still face during and after service. 2,500 victims of violnce since the 1990's. Most have not been treated right from your agency Gaddi. They served and you didn't and you and the others in management owe them.

Quality in the program gains confidence in Congress allocations. Don't blame Congress. Look at your management skills and look how you treat people who serve.

Tell Barbara Daly your Press secretary, she can put out all the propoganda she likes about the interest in the program, but if Congress is not going to fullfill your President's promise with hard cash, her hopes will be dashed. The reason you aren't getting the money, you see, is because you are not serving all volunteers and leave many of us high and dry especially when it comes to safety, security, health care and in post peace corps services.

Gaddi, the ombudsman office was a half step attempt to appease us by Congress. Helping us who have had problems with your agency's management. Your stubborness and the people in managment's stubborness on safety and security has brought the negative problems to Peace Corps. Not us. Your own republican colleagues disagree with you on the hill. The reason is you are dealing with American people who served and are being disserved by you and the people who work there. That is why the Congress is not allocating you enough money.

We look forward to a change in your attitude.


By Anonymous ( - on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 10:50 pm: Edit Post


It is the government. They really don't care.

By RPCV ( - on Saturday, April 24, 2004 - 12:41 am: Edit Post

Daniel. go take your medicine now ... that's a good boy ... Conspiracy boy.

By Anon Ymous ( - on Sunday, November 14, 2004 - 3:45 pm: Edit Post

Bush's entire concept of putting PCVs into foreign countries, like Iraq, so the world can see how good Americans are is terrifying naive! Yes, PC is important and yes, PC does good work, but the facts are the PC bureaucracy and organization continues to place PCV in unsafe locations. Increasing the number of PCVs at this time, when the current PCVs are experiencing ever increasing incidents of rape and assault is unconciousable.

First things first. Clean up the bureacracy. Hire and train competent professional Country Directors, implement sanctions on Country Directors who allow PCVs to be housed in less than secure locations, provide the volunteers with some basic self-defense classes and regularly inspect the PC locations and interview in-service PC about their security before even considering increasing the number of volunteers and countries.

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