Peace Corps Fellows
Peace Corps Volunteers and development professionals exemplify the very best characteristics of servant leaders: they show empathy, awareness, foresight, stewardship, and a commitment to the growth of others and to building communities. Their work emphasizes collaboration and trust – the very foundation of partnership. Because of their efforts, international development organizations like the Peace Corps and IRD are achieving their missions of improving lives and promoting mutual understanding.
IRD-Peace Corps Fellows are chosen from among returned Peace Corps volunteers who recently served (COS April 2012 or later) at least three years (or two years as a volunteer and at least six months as a Peace Corps Response volunteer) to work at our Arlington, Virginia, headquarters on relief and development projects.
IRD & THE PEACE CORPS ARE MISSION-DRIVEN
The Peace Corps and IRD share a commitment to serving local communities. We also share experiences: more than 50 IRD past a current staff have served in the Peace Corps volunteers, which makes the Peace Corps the single largest launching pad for IRD service. Both organizations aim to reduce the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable groups and build needed skills and capacities at the local level. Both promote sustainable change, and both believe in working with those in need from where they are today. Since 1998, IRD has actively collaborated with the communities we serve. We believe that when people are given the proper resources and support, they draw on their own strength and courage to seize opportunities, reject conflict, and build strong communities. When community members are given a voice in deciding and implementing their own development priorities, they feel a sense of ownership and pride in completing and maintaining each project.
ACCOMPLISHING MORE BY WORKING TOGETHER
IRD and the Peace Corps recognize the powerful difference we can make when we combine efforts. Our shared values include a commitment to the wise use of resources. We endeavor to make use of everyone’s skills and resources to increase the scale, reach, and effectiveness of our programs. Producing lasting results in a cost-efficient manner is critically important as we address growing needs around the world. The Peace Corps has always been about collaboration and partnership. In President John F. Kennedy’s words, “Universities, voluntary agencies, labor unions and industry will be asked to share in this effort – contributing diverse sources of energy and imagination – making it clear that the responsibility for peace is the responsibility of our entire society.” IRD is happy to accept this responsibility.
Since 2009, IRD has partnered with the Peace Corps on the Sene-Gambia Cashew Enhancement Project. IRD developed a business training program that enables cashew farmers to learn from each other’s experiences and improve their skills in production, post-collection handling, and marketing. Peace Corps volunteers have adapted the materials into a participatory learning experience that targets semiliterate rural entrepreneurs. Peace Corps volunteers are also involved in supporting farmers’ day-to-day operations and linking them to tree nurseries and other farming resources. As a result of this collaboration, the yield and quality of the cashew harvest is increasing, improving food security and livelihoods.
In 2011 IRD inaugurated the IRD-Peace Corps Fellowship Program. Returned volunteers have already demonstrated their commitment to international development through their service to the Peace Corps and their willingness to renew for a third year. The IRD-Peace Corps Fellowship offers an opportunity to extend that service further, inviting fellows to work with IRD practitioners and subject-matter experts. Fellows apply their knowledge through practical, hands-on experiences, further their understanding of sustainable, community-based development programs, and expand their network within the development community. Through this program, IRD is fostering the professional growth of our next generation of development experts.
The IRD-Peace Corps partnership model has captured the attention of donors, governments, implementers, and the private sector, because the evidence shows that it works. By working together, we increase the number of people we reach and the effectiveness of our programs. The Peace Corps has proven to be a catalyst of long-lasting, positive change in communities around the world since 1961. In every country, Peace Corps volunteers have left a legacy of communities that are empowered to drive their own futures. IRD is proud to honor the Peace Corps for its more than 50 years of service, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership in the years ahead.
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