Exciting News! Peace Corps officially announced the plan to reopen its program in Liberia in September 2008. The Peace Corps, which sent its first Volunteers to Liberia in 1962, has been absent from the country for nearly two decades due to the Liberian civil war. This decision is a result of recent periods of peace in Liberia which have led the Peace Corps to conclude that it is once again safe to send Volunteers into the country.
Pat Reilly, Vice President of Friends of Liberia, an organization which strongly advocated for the program's renewal, had this to say about the announcment:
Friends of Liberia is very excited about the reentry of Peace Corps into Liberia. We have been advocating for Crisis Corps and now Peace Corps Response in Liberia for almost a decade. For 30 years until the outbreak of war at the end of 1989, PCVs worked at every level of Liberian society in a wide range of development activities, particularly education. When Friends of Liberia operated in Liberia throughout the war, we always benefitted from the association with Peace Corps, which Liberians consider the gold-standard in foreign assistance. We look forward to supporting the new volunteers in any way we can and welcoming them as members upon their completion of service.
The Peace Corps will begin serving in Liberia again through a program called Peace Corps Response. The program allows Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to re-enroll and return to the field for short-term, high-impact assignments, lasting between three and six months. Candidates will be expected to draw upon the language, technical and cross-cultural skills they gained through their previous Peace Corps experience in order to be immediately effective.
Peace Corps Reponse Volunteers in Liberia will be working specifically in the Education Sector. This program was directly requested by Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who in 2006 wrote a letter to U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Donald E. Booth stating, "the Government of Liberia requests the re-establishment of the Peace Corps program in Liberia. We understand that the Peace Corps has a program [Peace Corps Reponse] which allows experienced Volunteers to serve for short periods to perform high-impact work. Such short-term projects aimed at raising the capacities and capabilities of Liberian teachers would have a profound impact upon civil society as a whole." The Peace Corps is now actively recruiting Volunteers with experience in the following fields: teacher training, curriculum development, classrom teaching, education administration, and education policy assistance.
To learn more about the program in Liberia and apply to be a Peace Corps Reponse Volunteer click here.