The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps to promote world peace and friendship. Since that time, more than 190,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 139 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education to information technology and environmental preservation.
The Peace Corps' mission has three simple goals:
1. Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
2. Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
3. Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
For more information on Peace Corps worldwide: http://www.peacecorps.gov/
Peace Corps Mauritania
The Peace Corps came to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in 1967. Since that time 1,900 Volunteers have served in small and medium sized communities to provide technical assistance, promote understanding of Americans on the part of Mauritanians, and promote understanding of Mauritanians on the part of Americans.
There are approximately 130 Peace Corps Volunteers currently serving in Mauritania, making it one of the largest Peace Corps programs in Africa. Volunteers work in 11 of the 13 regions of Mauritanian in the following 7 program areas: health education, girls’ education and empowerment, agro-forestry, small enterprise development, environmental education, information and communication technology, and English education.
Peace Corps Volunteers provide a unique niche in development, providing human resources and skills that can be critical to the successes of community based development activities. Volunteers are prepared with language, cross-cultural, and technical skills, which are used to work directly with the local people and communities. The skills are used to help communities to help themselves and also to serve as a functional liaison between community members and technical project resources, something that both communities and development assistance agencies (including governments) need, but are not easily found.
Girls’ Education and Empowerment
We have 28 volunteers in the Girls’ Empowerment and Education sector, which oversee the day-to-day operations of 22 Girls’ Mentoring Centers (GMC), which serve over 1000 female secondary school students across the country. The GMC initiative is quite specific to Peace Corps Mauritania and is a cornerstone in our approach to supporting girls' education and schooling in a country where 50% of the girls enrolled in the first grade will not make it to the seventh (or the first year of secondary school) and only 73 girls out of 1000 will get a diploma enabling them to secure decent employment. Girls' retention and graduation rates in secondary and higher education represent a serious challenge for the Government of Mauritania.