Perhaps we can continue our conversation once I know with whom I talking — please have the courage of your convictions and tell us who you are and where you are serving. Unfortunately I am not comfortable divulging more specific information about my identify or location of service. I would however, caution Mr. It has become a dysfunctional organization which lacks strong leadership and a clear pathway. And has become too decentralized not physically and fails to adequately support volunteers. You say that simply going to a country and making an effort is sufficient, I say prove it.
Or are they? And how dare you infer that I lack the traits of courage and conviction. Pc is more dangerous. That is why they need to know where they are; discounting this rule is an excuse to harm. Taylor, you do not have the right to claim my experience to support your personal agenda. It would give Volunteers the right to be transferred from a site where they feel unsafe.
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It would guarantee supportive counseling and medical support to victims of crime. It would also make sure that all Volunteers had the means to communicate, quickly, with Peace Corps staff. This legislation is based on the experiences of Volunteers with sexual assault and subsequent inadequate response from the Peace Corps administration. Peace Corps does have an admirable record of evacuating Volunteers from crisis zones, safely. The reporting rules facilitate that ability. There is constant staff turnover because tenure with the agency is limited to five years.
Additionally, some thirty decision making positions are reserved for political appointees. There is no preference given in civil service for Peace Corps service. Political appointees may or may not have prior experience as a Volunteer. There is virtually no institutional memory nor systems in place to hold anyone accountable — staff or Volunteers. I think this system needs to change. Perhaps this is where Dibbert and I might be in agreement. However, the kind of rant that Dibbett makes is not atypical for returning and frustrated PCVs.
It has been going on for decades and has had little effect. Factual based advocacy might. They are rules that are created in Washington, DC and then applied to Peace Corps countries throughout the world.
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As far as the legislation you cited. If it passes I hope it turns out to be extremely effective. It sounds like we actually do agree a lot on reforming the Peace Corps bureaucracy. Which, again, would imply that the second main point of my article is not Guatemala specific, but that it is applicable in a more general sense as well.
Of course I am aware of how the bureaucracy operates; all PCVs know this stuff.
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Let me be clear, I think that the rapes, sexual assaults, etc. I understand the Peace Corps might not always have done a perfect job of responding to these incidents. My main concern is that two big ideas have monopolized the debate about Peace Corps reform: people who are always talking about safety and those who think that more money will solve all or most of the problems.
Only talking about reform in these two contexts is unacceptable. Really surprised by the heat being generated here and the hostility. And for the record, my college girlfriend did the Peace Corps thing and completely agrees with him.
The Truth about the Peace Corps
The turnover issues Ms. And really, given the financial crisis this country is facing, every government funded entity should be able to withstand close scrutiny and demonstate their effectiveness against some metrics. JFK had a dream. In some ways, the Peace Corps has probably exceeded his wildest hopes, but at age 50 it may be time to rethink its execution strategy. You raise fine points, I just think that the line between accountability and flexibility is blurry. I agree; you make great points. That is one of the main reasons why the issue of holding PCVs more accountable in terms of work is such a challenge.
I am not implying that PCVs must treat their work like a job. I think talking with locals and helping your host mother are good things that every PCV should be doing. I just also think that the PCVs should be held to slightly higher standards when it comes to their primary or secondary job, whatever that might be. Are you Taylor Dibbert? The short bio indicated that you were a Volunteer in Guatemala and I did not think you were still serving.
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If so, I am not quite sure what it is you are saying. There should be amble records in both countries about what Volunteers have done, how Host Country Nationals evaluated the work; what has been learned and where the focus should be for best results. Did you find such records? If so, was the information helpful? If you are not the Taylor Dibbert who posted the article, please make that clear! Take care. I, of course, Mr. They were ineffective because in the early 60s, communication took days. If there were evacuation plans, I was never told of them, also typical of those times.
Because my site was in an area that became targeted for the violence that was to mark my host country for generations, I am particularly sensitive to safety measures. I am impressed with the fact that Peace Corps has successfully evacuated whole contingents during host country political emergencies. If you disagree, I would appreciate hearing your take on how Peace Corps has been able to do that. It a time honored tradition.
You have earned the right to join it. However, fundamentally, the organization is not designed for accountability. It is not a totally civil service system. I do think it is a discussion worth having. The legislation created because of the testimony from Peace Corps women will put into law one form of accountability, and is one important reform step. I think because of the unique factors in Peace Corps organization, accountability will have to be accomplished by legislative mandated systems, very difficult to do. However, that too is fraught with political implications.
A Volunteer working well with a disenfranchised population may be threatening to an entrenched bureaucracy.
Such a contract would spell out mutual rights and responsibilities between Volunteer and the PC agency. Now, finally, Mr. They just highlight feel good stories.
Yes, we all have the best of intentions, but so many volunteers under-perform or at least do not achieve as much as we would have liked to. I thought a novel solution to this would be to require a partial subsidy by the counterpart agency. Also, counterparts should have a hiring process to contract the PCV. To top this off, PC should monitor what successes its volunteers achieve and publish these results openly.
Fiesta of Sunset: The Peace Corps, Guatemala and a Search for Truth
Not to say whether a volunteer is good or bad, but to measure if the programs need to be improved. That review would suggest that you are far more capable of a reasoned analysis than your article here would indicate. But you attack the safety and security reg, rather than the requirement that Volunteers stay inside for most weekends. I am not sure where you see hostility.
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Also, distribute the tool box or hollow square parts to each group. Explain that the observers should note the group dynamics and progress of the operators.
The planners should observe in silence. Distribute Attachment IA and review the health and nutrition component of the appropriate technology training program. Invite questions and comments. Distribute newsprint and felt-tip pens and have each group select a recorder. Each group should also identify one or two beliefs that:.
The following comments may clarify the activity: Just as perceptions of health vary from culture to culture, there are often variations within a particular society. We have all grown up with certain beliefs concerning illness and well-being; some of our childhood perceptions are now considered superstitions, tales and quaint customs.