History of the Peace Corps in Niger
From Peace Corps Wiki
|History of the Peace Corps|
|Since 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, more than 182,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 138 countries all over the globe.
The Peace Corps entered Niger in 1962 with seven Volunteers teaching English. Programming continued to be centered on education through the 1960s. In later years, in response to the expressed needs of the government of Niger, the program expanded to include health, agriculture, and environmental conservation.
 History and Future of Peace Corps Programming in Niger
Currently, Volunteers in Niger are in four programs: agriculture, natural resources management, community health, and community and youth education. Those in the first three programs are stationed in small (200–1,000 population) rural villages, while education Volunteers are in regional capitals, small towns, and large rural villages. A few Volunteers are assigned to work with special projects and local or international NGOs.
The Peace Corps works with government agencies to place Volunteers from the different sectors in villages located within a 30-mile (50-kilometer) radius of regional towns where government service agencies are located. This clustering permits mutual support and synergy. For example, community health Volunteers might work to raise awareness of the importance of vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables while agriculture Volunteers demonstrate irrigated gardening and fruit tree propagation. Education Volunteers may work with village-based Volunteers to promote girls’ education or adult literacy.
Most Volunteers in Niger stay at their initial sites for the duration of their two-year assignment. Some extend their stay in Niger for a third year to work as Volunteer leaders or with international organizations and nongovernmental organizations.
There are currently about 120 Volunteers in Niger—the number varies throughout the year as new groups arrive and those completing their service depart. About 60 percent are female. Almost all are under 40 years of age, and most are recent college graduates, ages 22 to 25.
The Peace Corps office in Niamey includes administrative and program offices; a medical unit with a five-bed infirmary; a warehouse; a motor pool; and an information resource center and lounge, where Volunteers can gather information for projects, write reports, hold planning meetings, and just relax.
There is a Volunteer transit house in Niamey for the use of Volunteers who are visiting the capital, and there are Peace Corps offices and transit houses in several regional towns.