President John F. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps in 1961 with the vision of 100,000 volunteers in the field each year and the goal one decade later of one million Americans with first-hand knowledge of the world. Today, approximately 8,000 Peace Corps volunteers serve in 74 emerging countries around the world. How can Peace Corps achieve Kennedy’s vision and at the same time have the greatest impact on communities all over globe? HAF President, Yossef Ben-Meir, advocates for Peace Corps to train volunteers as third party facilitators in participatory community development, as a way to empower local communities to be leaders of their own development process.
But achieving this potential will remain elusive until the primary role of volunteers in development is transformed to what they are optimally suited to do: act as third-party facilitators to help organize inclusive community meetings and apply participatory planning activities that help groups prioritize and implement socio-economic and environmental initiatives.
The High Atlas Foundation was founded by former Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Morocco and who wanted to continue to make a difference. We use the knowledge and experiences gained during our years ovf service and the relationships we built, to help Moroccan communities achieve their socio-economic development goals.
What do you think about an expanded Peace Corps? Let us know by posting a comment below.