Peace Corps signifies true Gambia-US friendship – US Ambassador
By Cherno Omar Bobb
Her Excellency Sharon L Cromer, United States of America Ambassador to The Gambia, has said the mission of Peace Corps signifies and facilitates true understanding and friendship between the peoples of The Gambia and the United States of America.
Ambassador Cromer made the remarks on Wednesday at the Peace Corps Massembeh Training Center in Lower River Region during the swearing in of the most recent group of Peace Corps volunteers in agriculture and health.
The swearing-in ceremony marked the completion of a 10-week Pre-Service Training (PST) that prepared the 12 trainees for service in the respective communities.
During the training, trainees learned to communicate in local languages, gained a deeper understanding of the rich patterns that make up the Gambian culture, and learned to take responsibility for their health and safety as well as their security while in The Gambia.
Since 1961, Peace Corps has been a leading service in international development and citizen diplomacy in 140 countries around the world. Globally, more than 220,000 Americans have served in the Peace Corps.
More than 1,800 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in The Gambia since the program was established in 1967.
Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) have been trained in world class language, cross culture, and by technical, medical, safety and security professionals. They have also had the privilege of living and learning in their training villages. After an intensive training period, volunteers serve for 24 months, working directly with communities to build capacity and promote sustainable development.
Her Excellency Ambassador Cromer also describes Peace Corps Volunteers as shining examples of the spirit of volunteerism and community service, which has long been a defining characteristic of American society.
“Since our country’s founding, volunteer work has been our lifeblood, helping to improve people’s lives, unite our communities and strengthen our democracy,” she said.
The US Ambassador said further: “During a time when our world is experiencing so much conflict and misunderstanding, being at this beautiful gathering gives me hope. These human connections and inter-cultural exchanges are the building blocks of deeper understanding of others and global peace.”
She told the volunteers that through their actions, attitudes, service and kindness to others, they would demonstrate the very best of America.
“You will show that Americans care deeply about Gambians and are interested in working side-by-side with them for the long term,” she said, adding: “You will make clear in a tangible way how much we respect and cherish our relationship with The Gambia.”
Concluding, she said: “I count on you to help us reach the U.S. and Gambian goals of improving health, agriculture, and the environment across this beautiful country.”
Siiri Morley, Peace Corps The Gambia Country Director, said Peace Corps’ founding mission of promoting world peace and friendship among all countries “remains as relevant as ever”, as they deal with conflicts all throughout the world.
She thanked the Gambian government and the communities and families who keep their Peace Corps Volunteers safe. She also thanked all their teams that have supported the trainees.
She commended the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Education, as well as their local partners for their support and cooperation.
She also commended the trainees for making the decision to serve as Peace Corps Volunteers, and congratulated them for completing an intense pre-service training.
Gibril Jarju, director of planning and information at the Ministry of Health, who represented his minister, said Peace Corps play a crucial role in The Gambia’s health, education and agricultural sectors.
He assured them of the continuous commitment of the Ministry of Health and the Government of The Gambia to strengthening the partnership between The Gambia and the United States of America.