Liberia: President Johnson-Sirleaf Proposes Further Cooperation with the Peace Corps

On August 3rd, 44 new Peace Corps volunteers were sworn into service in Liberia. This was the largest group of volunteers since the beginning of the program in 1962 according to the Peace Corps-Liberia Country Director, Mr. Vincent Groh. President Johnson-Sirleaf was present at the ceremony for these volunteers and thanked them for their commitment to helping Liberia prosper. She also further voiced her hopes to create an initiative that will increase cooperation between the Peace Corps volunteers and recent college graduates in Liberia.

The President ideally would like to create a national service program in Liberia for those who have graduated from university, but remain unemployed. This would allow them to be placed with Peace Corps volunteers in high schools and work together the improve the education system across the country. This concept was initially mentioned by President Johnson-Sirleaf in 2011 at the Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. while delivering a lecture there.

The Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Liberia, Michael Arrietti, has welcomed the initiative presented by the President. He hopes to have the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) work closely with both the Peace Corps and the Ministry of Education in Liberia to make her vision a reality. The goal is to have this program begin its implementation by the summer of 2013.

Another goal of the Peace Corps in Liberia to to have reached all 15 counties by the start of the 2013 academic year. Right now there are volunteers serving in 9 out of the 15 counties. They teach English, Math and Science in 39 government run high schools. With an expansion to all 15 counties the Peace Corps will be able to reach all 55 public high schools outside of Montserrado.

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