At least 60 U.S. Peace Corps volunteers are set to return to the Philippines by January 2023 following the resumption of the US government’s top volunteer program in the country after it was suspended in 2020 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“This group will be one of the largest that the U.S. Peace Corps has organized since resuming overseas operations in March 2022. By September 2023, I expect more than 120 volunteers will be working alongside community members in the Philippines,” Carol Spahn, U.S. Peace Corps CEO, said.
She added the 60 volunteers “will arrive and work for two years at the invitation of host communities across Luzon and the Visayas in the project sectors of education, youth development, and coastal resource management.”
Spahn was in Manila and Cebu from October 24 to 28, 2022, to mark the U.S. Peace Corps’ 61st anniversary in the Philippines.
“Pre-pandemic, the U.S. Peace Corps had the highest number of deployment and volunteer in-service in the Philippines. We are looking forward to welcoming the American Peace Corps volunteers back,” Donald James Gawe, Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) executive director, said.
“As one of the main partners in the international volunteer service program, the U.S. Peace Corps continued its efforts in strengthening its program to respond to the development priorities of the Philippine government toward achieving national and local socio-economic development,” he added.
For more than six decades, Peace Corps Philippines staff and volunteers have served as co-teachers, youth development facilitators, and environmental experts, or filled other roles requested by the Philippine government and host communities.
In a statement, Spahn maintained that the new batch of American volunteers “will be among the first to implement the agency’s new climate change initiative that will support over two million hours of volunteer and staff service and help identify and initiate strategies that can contribute to local governments’ climate adaptation plans.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Peace Corps official met longtime Peace Corps partners Rare Philippines, My Refuge House, and Glory Reborn “to exchange insights on their work during the pandemic and on climate change adaptation efforts” during her visit to Cebu City and Naga City.
Spahn also had a meeting with local health officials and visited two COVIC-19 vaccination centers supported by the U.S. Peace Corps and the United States Agency for International Development.
Since 1961, over 9,300 Peace Corps Volunteers have worked alongside Filipino community members to support government and community development priorities.