A GROUP of 57 new American Peace Corps volunteers have been sworn in, pledging to serve alongside the people of Zambia to bring about positive change in public health and education sector, among others.
The swearing-in ceremony was held at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Zambia in Lusaka on Thursday.
Peace Corps Zambia country director Leon Kayego urged the volunteers to stick to cultural and peace values in serving local communities in Zambia aimed at strengthening ties between the people of the two countries.
“Beyond improving education, maternal and child health, we hope the volunteers will also build strong bonds of friendship between the people of the United States and Zambia,” Mr. Kayego said.
U.S. ambassador Eric Schultz said he was confident that the team of volunteers would cause a big impact in improving health and education in Zambia.
“I am sure that the Peace Corps, together with their partners in the ministries of Health and Education, will continue to bring solutions to issues facing the communities and improving healthcare outcomes,” Mr. Schultz said.
And earlier, Chief Chimuka of the Lenje people in Chibombo district called on the communities to embrace the volunteers.
He pointed out that the volunteers would be of great help in the fight against early marriages and HIV, among others.
“Our communities are still facing challenges of early marriages and HIV. We are hopeful that the volunteers will help in clamping down on these vices and we hope that our people will open up for new knowledge,” he said.
Ministry of Health permanent secretary Peter Mwaba said the volunteers had a vital role to play in teaching new skills to community health workers and causing a positive impact in reproductive health and fighting malaria and HIV/AIDS, among other diseases.
The group has been in Zambia for the last three months undergoing training and learning the local languages and cultural values prior to their swearing-in ceremony.
The Peace Corps is a volunteer programme run by the United States government.
The first 12 Peace Corps volunteers arrived in Zambia in 1994 and since then, over 1,500 volunteers have served in Zambia.