The Peace Corps is an independent US government agency that traces its roots back to 1960 when the then US Senator John F. Kennedy challenged a group of students to promote peace and welfare in their country by living and working as volunteers in developing countries. It wasn’t long before Senator Kennedy’s impacting words moved people into action. Agency was official established in March of 1961. Soon thereafter, in 1962, the first Peace Corps volunteers came to Belize and have worked here in the fields of Education, Health, Community Economic Development, Environment, Youth in Development and Agriculture. Since then more than 1,600 persons have served here. Friday morning at the George Price Centre, the Peace Corps Swearing-in ceremony was held, whereby 16 American trainees will become official Peace Corps volunteer workers in the health area. Dr. Franelda Gutierrez, Health Program Manager for Peace Corps in Belize, and Nina Hernandez, Country Director, both explained more.
This is the launch of a project two years in the making. We proudly call this The Belize Rural Family Health Project, and we have high expectations that at the end of this project we will be well underway to a more effective peaceful mission in Belize, healthier Belizean communities, and by extension a model project at the regional level.
Peace Corps and the Ministry of Health signed an agreement to collaborate and together, over the past year especially, we’ve been working very diligently to craft the Health Project that is uniquely positioned to meet the needs and the health priorities of the country of Belize. Our move towards rural communities really represented a deliberate effort to place our valuable volunteer resources where there is greatest need.
Following the Welcoming and Remarks, the Peace Corps volunteers were congratulated and certified and will begin to work in their respective areas in collaboration with rural health communities and the Ministry of Health.