Thirty-five American professionals who have volunteered to serve in Ghana under the United States of America( USA’s) Peace Corps programme have been inducted.
The health and agricultural professionals will serve in various parts of the country, particularly in deprived areas where their services are needed most, for two years.
As part of the programme, the volunteers have completed a 10-week pre-service capacity building to facilitate their work and help them integrate better into the communities they will be serving.
The capacity building included oral skills in local languages, culture and pre-requisite technical skills in their fields of work.
At a brief ceremony to swear in the volunteers in Accra yesterday, the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Stephanie Sullivan, said the initiative continued to help strengthen the bond between the two countries over the years.
She said while the ceremony was to recognise the current volunteers, it also served as a tribute to the about 5,000 volunteers who had served in Ghana over the past 58 years.
“Even though it has been 58 years, this relationship continues to thrive and remains highly valued by both countries.
Volunteers’ work has changed over the years in response to evolving development challenges.
Regardless of the nature of the challenges, volunteers are highly effective working at the grassroots level,” she said.
Ms Sullivan admonished the volunteers to work with diligence to uphold the good image of the USA and make clear in tangible ways how much America respected and cherished its relationship with Ghana.
“The pre-service training are just tools but you are the change agents.
You are the ones who decide to put in that extra effort to develop relationships and gain community acceptance,” she said.
The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, expressed the gratitude of the government and the people of Ghana to America for initiating the Peace Corps programme which had supported the country’s human resource base and impacted on development for years.
He expressed special thanks to the volunteers, both past and current, not just for volunteering to serve in Ghana, but to serve in very deprived communities where indigenous health professionals do not accept posting to.
“We are so grateful to you for, among other things, helping Ghana to achieve its Universal Health Coverage Agenda while improving on healthcare,” he said.
The volunteers displayed their skills in oral Ghanaian languages when they constructed sentences in the languages spoken by the respective communities they will be serving in.
They included Dagare, Ewe and Twi.
They showed so much excitement and enthusiasm to serve.
The Peace Corps is a volunteer programme run by the United States government.
Its official mission is to provide social and economic development abroad through technical assistance, while promoting mutual understanding between Americans and the populations they serve.
Peace Corps Volunteers are American citizens, typically with a college degree, who work abroad for a period of two years after three months of training.
In Ghana, the programme traces its roots and mission to 1961, when President John F. Kennedy sent the first 52 Peace Corps Volunteers to serve their country in the cause of ensuring global peace by living and working in Ghana.
Those volunteers were received warmly by Ghana's first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, on August 30,1961.