After a four-month hiatus due to unrest after elections in December, a group of 24 Volunteers arrived in Nairobi on June 10. All of the returning Volunteers had been serving in Kenya when the instability began and the Peace Corps program was temporarily suspended. In announcing the return, Director Tschetter said, "We are absolutely delighted to see Peace Corps Volunteers return to Kenya. I visited the Volunteers in Kenya last summer, and I know the outstanding work they were doing and the goodwill and friendships they had developed in their Kenyan host communities. The Peace Corps has a deep relationship with the Kenyan people and we look forward to resuming our partnerships, particularly through this period of recovery."
A group of over 40 new Peace Corps Volunteers will be arriving in November, 2008, and focusing on education, small enterprise development, and ICT. A subsequent group of over 30 public heath Volunteers will arrive in June 2009. As a result of preliminary discussions with the Government of Kenya, the Peace Corps is also exploring the expansion of its youth-related programming.
Since 1965, more than 5,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Kenya. In addition to the deaf education program, Volunteers have worked in the areas of education, small business development, and health and HIV/AIDS prevention. To learn more about the Peace Corps/Kenya, visit the Where Do Volunteers Go? web page.
Peace Corps/Kenya had a total of 144 Volunteers serving at the time of the elections in December, 2007. During the initial post-election unrest, Volunteers were consolidated in a variety of safe locations. On February 5, 2007, the Peace Corps temporarily suspended its program in Kenya due to the growing security concerns. Read more.
Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter welcomed the newly-appointed Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Amolo Odinga, to address the Peace Corps staff as part of the Loret Miller Ruppe Speakers Series. The series is a forum for distinguished individuals to speak about issues related to the Peace Corps' mission, such as volunteerism, international peace and development, and public service.
The Prime Minister reaffirmed the Kenyan government's partnership with the Peace Corps, and joined in celebrating the return of Volunteers to his country. "Kenya has developed immensely because of the Peace Corps," said Prime Minister Odinga. "I see the Peace Corps as part of a bigger cooperation between Kenya and the United States. The Peace Corps has united the American people with the people of Kenya. I have had the opportunity to meet some Peace Corps Volunteers...they work with a lot of dedication."
Said Peace Corps Director Tschetter of the recent return of Volunteers to Kenya, "I am delighted to say that 24 Volunteers arrived in Kenya last week, and they are already back at work. This November, over 40 new Volunteers will arrive in Kenya, and we are working to have the program back up to capacity as quickly as we can."
Prime Minister Odinga also spoke about the unrest in Kenya following elections in December of 2007, and how the Kenyan people are now working together to move the country forward. "I want to extend a message of hope and welcome," he said. "We deeply express our thanks to the United States for the assistance that they have given us. By getting involved they have demonstrated that they are really true friends. We are ready for business again, Kenya is safe once again." Read more.