General News of Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Source: GNA

Peace-Corps celebrates 45 years in Ghana

Techiman (B/A), Aug. 29, GNA - The Deputy United States Chief of Mission (DCM) in Ghana, Susan Brown, has noted that Peace Corps' 45 years of uninterrupted service in Ghana was a testimony to the lasting friendship, and to the strong bonds that united the two nations and strengthened their inter-dependence and prosperous future. She said Peace Corps oath to service was a sign of commitment to a life of helping others in improving their community, children, and their counterparts with, whom they lived with abiding respect at all times. Ms Brown made the remark, while administering the oath for 33 peace-corps volunteers at a swearing in ceremony, which also marked the 45th anniversary of Peace Corps activities in Ghana at Techiman on Friday.

The 33 new peace-corps volunteers, who will be teaching in various areas of science, visual arts and ICT, have successfully completed a 71 days training programme, making the transition from the United States to Ghanaian families, learning a new language, acquiring teaching skills for their job, and learning to adapt to a new and different cultural environment.

Ms Brown said the first 50 peace-corps volunteers arrived in Ghana on August 30, 1961 to teach in secondary schools throughout the nation and the first batch of the volunteers created a legacy that the new volunteers were inheriting and that they had the 4,000 volunteers, who had served in Ghana since 1961 had set high standard for the new volunteers to live up to.

She said as development depended on education, teaching in Ghana took place in challenging circumstances and charged them to reap sizeable rewards from the tangible contributions to make the futures of the children they would teach bright.

Mr Michael Nsowah, Director General of the Ghana Education Service, who was the guest speaker said since the inception of the peace-corps volunteerism in Ghana in 1961, about 41,570 volunteers had given their service in the country in various sectors of education, water and sanitation, small enterprises development, environment, gender, youth and development and HIV/AIDS.

Mr Nsowah said he had no doubt about the dedication to work of peace-corps volunteers and their willingness to live and work in the rural communities and that, there were also scores of highly educated personalities, who had contributed their successes to the work of peace-corps, who had taught them mathematics or science and, who in one way of another helped to turn their lives around.

He said the new role of the third world nations posed a great challenge and as such, required a lot of dedication, commitment and selflessness and consequently advised the volunteers to be mindful of the cultural differences that existed between the two countries, and live beyond reproach, as they go about their normal duties.

Mr Nsowah reminded the new volunteers of being role models in their respective communities and that they would be accountable to whatever they would do now and forever in order that, friendly cooperation would continue to keep alive the spirit of the volunteers, as envisaged by President Dr Kwame Nkrumah and President Kennedy to grow from strength to strength.

The Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Nana Kwadwo Kwakye in a speech, said it was gratifying to note that the NPP government and other stakeholders were making frantic efforts to minimize the many setbacks that had been major challenges in educational delivery system in the country.

Nana Kwadwo Kwakye said government's efforts included the implementation of very important aspects of the education reforms programme such as provision of capitation grant, provision of more school infrastructure, the institution of Ghana school feeding programme, the revamping of teacher training institutions and motivation of teachers, saying that, the Millennium Challenge Account granted by the U.S. would be used to further boost the educational sector.

He congratulated the volunteers for accepting to be posted to the rural areas and intimated that their role for the next two or more years would be basically making a difference between the status quo and improvement in standard of education in the adopted communities.

Mr Flex Aboagye-Nyarko, Acting Training Manager of Peace-Corps Volunteers, earlier in a welcome address disclosed that 33 volunteers had had an exciting exposure to the rubrics of teaching in Ghana schools and the cultures of the areas, where they would be working and could speak local languages, eat the local dishes and had also learnt to appreciate and adjust to cross-cultural situation that they might encounter for the next two years.

Mr Aboagye-Nyarko assured them that the volunteers had gone through the training mills and were well prepared for the task ahead with adequate skills, knowledge and attitudes to be effective teachers as well as community members.

The Peace-Corps Volunteers demonstrated their knowledge in Ghanaian folk culture and presented short speeches in Ewe, Dagaare, Kasem, Fante, Gurune, Dagbani, Twi and Nzema.