Peace Corps Programs in Macedonia

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By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, July 04, 2001 - 1:06 pm: Edit Post

Peace Corps Programs in Macedonia

Peace Corps Programs in Macedonia

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is making significant efforts to develop a society based on democratic principles, establish a viable market economy, and explore new forms of governance which respect diversity and human rights. Although progress has been made, both inflation and unemployment rates remain high, while industrial production continues to fall.

Out of concern for the safety and security of Volunteers, the Peace Corps has suspended its program in Macedonia on two separate occasions. In April 1999, the program was suspended as a result of the massive influx of refugees fleeing from the conflict in neighboring Kosovo. Conditions improved quickly and Peace Corps was able to return in August 1999. In July 2001, regional instability once again forced Peace Corps to suspend its program in Macedonia.

In 2002, after a cessation of hostilities, the implementation of the Lake Ohrid Peace Agreement, and a peaceful and successful national election, Peace Corps Volunteers resumed their work. The Volunteers serve in small towns, villages, and regional centers throughout the country. They assist Macedonia in its challenging transition by serving as advisors in mayors' offices, as business advisors, as educators, and as environmental management and education specialists.

There is a continued need for qualified English teachers at both the primary and secondary levels in Macedonia, especially in small towns. Peace Corps English language resource teachers work both in the classroom and as resource teachers. They work collaboratively with their Macedonian counterparts to promote applicable and current teaching methods and approaches, especially interactive and communicative techniques. Because many of the schools where Peace Corps places Volunteers have limited resources for materials, they work with Macedonian colleagues and others in the community to develop strategies to improve the educational resources in their schools and communities. Additionally, Peace Corps and Macedonia's Ministry of Education have identified a need for enhancing cooperation and collaboration among teachers from various schools in neighboring communities.

The government of Macedonia realizes that environmental education for youth and raising the general awareness among citizens is of extreme importance. The program focuses on work in local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Some Volunteers also work with local municipalities in the preparation and implementation of Local Environmental Action Plans (LEAP). These placements allow Volunteers to contribute to building networks and collaboration among NGOs, the private sector, local government and schools in environmental management, awareness and outreach programs. Volunteers are also able to work in local schools on both formal and non-formal educational activities.

Community Development
The Peace Corps Municipality/Nongovernmental Organization program was initiated to assist with Macedonia's process of civil reform. As government structures are transformed from the former centralized socialist systems to decentralized and localized systems with greater autonomy and decision-making authority, government officers need to learn how to operate effectively in this new environment. Whole systems of organization, communication, networking, distribution and processing of the local municipality's responsibilities need revision and new thinking. Mayors want to be responsive to local needs and are always searching for opportunities to increase local revenues and development support. NGOs are also seeking ways to become more active and effective in addressing needs of communities.

Funds from USAID and other European government development programs have been made available during this period of transition, however there is a growing need for local governments and NGOs to be more self-sustaining. NGOs and municipal governments from small towns and communities are especially anxious to learn how to create partnerships and secure useful projects for the home community in order to provide better services to their constituents. Peace Corps Volunteers are assisting in these efforts and are focusing on creating greater links and cooperation between municipalities, NGOs and community members.

The Business Advising program was developed as part of a plan for economic development in Macedonia and will be integrated into the Municipality/NGO program. In accordance with the economic development strategy of the Republic of Macedonia, this program supports the networking efforts of municipalities to address private sector small and medium sized enterprises that are playing a key role in the revitalization and transformation of the national economy. Volunteers assigned in this area will work with municipalities, NGOs and regional enterprise support centers to assist in providing guidance and information to local small businesses in the areas of business development (preparation of a business plan), credit applications, entrepreneurial skills training, and international business promotion and cooperation.

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Story Source: US Peace Corps

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Macedonia



By bradley white on Thursday, March 06, 2003 - 10:38 pm: Edit Post

i am applying for a peace corps position in macedonia and was curious to hear former PCVs experiences there.


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