Comment on perception of PC volunteers by volunteers from other nations

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Speaking Out: January 23, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Speaking Out (1 of 5) : Archive of Stories: 2006.02.10: February 10, 2006: Headlines: Speaking Out: National Security: Vision: COS - Niger: PCOL Exclusive: A call to re-envision the Peace Corps : 2006.02.10: February 10, 2006: Headlines: Speaking Out: National Security: Vision: COS - Niger: Media: Internet: IT: Computers: PCOL Exclusive: A call to re-envision the Peace Corps using information technology : Re-envisioning: Comment on perception of PC volunteers by volunteers from other nations

By Anonymous (65.120.218.66) on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 - 2:59 pm: Edit Post

I want to start of by saying that the essay was a very innovative way at looking at our current international state of affairs and the Peace Corps, and presents convincing arguments for a reformulation of what could be a powerful diplomatic instrument.

This is a comment on section 1 of the "The Technologies of Peace" argument.

Negative reactions experienced by PC volunteers in their countries of service by volunteers from other nations can not, in my opinion, be completely attributed to an anti-American sentiment.

My experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal demonstrated a demographic in which volunteers from other nations were more strategically placed in their in-country positions with more significant experience, appropriate to their in-country assignments.

Peace Corps employees have confirmed that the recruiting process attempts to fill in-country volunteer positions with personnel experienced in the field in which they will be employed; but in many cases PC Washington will fill those positions with "generalists" or persons that have little or no education or experience related to their two-year volunteer assignments.

If Peace Corps is going to change its reputation in the world stage, it must subscribe to a more rigorous and targeted recruitment process. Only then will volunteers be able to make more of difference in their in-country positions. PC volunteers will then more easily be able to elevate themselves with respect to their peers and garner the domestic interest to expand the existing PC network. Or we can continue the recruitment of "generalists" with a focus on hi-tech and communications to fulfill several of the subsets outlined in the "The Technologies of Peace" essay.

I would be most interested to hear what other PC volunteers experienced in their respective countries of service.

By MajorOz (ppp037.man.centurytel.net - 64.91.46.115) on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 12:44 am: Edit Post

My experience in Micronesia vis-a-vis the Japanese volunteers:

1a: We were usually somewhat experienced in what we were assigned to do. Some of us didn't have a clue.
1b: The Japanese volunteers were highly trained in their assigned speciality.

2a: We lived in relative poverty in families chosen by HCN consultants (who never, never got a kickback {wink, wink}). Our women were usually thought of as slaves. But we knew the KULLLCHURRR.
2b: They lived on a decent wage in apartmens or leased houses. They respected the local culture, but were not obcessed by it.

3a: We were prohibited from driving any motorized vehicle, and (would you believe) had restrictions on where we could bicycle.
3b: They had their own vehicles, leased by the Japanese govt. from local providers.

4a: We were divorced from the Dept. of State and Dept. of Commerce, in the sense that we didn't serve as a corridor into the establishment of business in the HC operated or owned by a US citizen or entity.
4B: They were a visible and ambitious organ of Japanese national policy in commercial extension into the host country.

5a: They were viewed, by the locals, as consummate professionals, who contributed heavily.
5b: We were thought of as amiable, marginally useful suckers.

cheers

oz, Micro-61


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