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More Peace Corps Volunteers Due in Liberia

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The Regional Director for Africa of the United States Peace Corps, Mr. Dick Day, has disclosed that 20 more Peace Corps volunteers are expected to join the group of 40 already assigned in Liberia in June 2011.

Mr. Day, who recently took over as Regional Director for Africa, was speaking on December 7, 2010 when he paid a courtesy call on Ambassador William V.S. Bull at the Embassy of Liberia in Washington, D.C.

According to a dispatch from Washington quoting the Minister Counselor for Press and Public Affairs at the Liberian Embassy, Mr. Gabriel I.H. Williams, Mr. Day said the increase in the number of volunteers is a manifestation of the Peace Corps’ commitment to be fully engaged in Liberia’s reconstruction process.

Mr. Day also disclosed that a new country director of the Peace Corps is due to take up assignment in Liberia in February 2011.

He further indicated that in response to a request from the Government of Liberia through Planning and Economic Affairs Minister, Honorable Amara Konneh, the Peace Corps is considering deploying volunteer teachers in Liberia that will start at the primary level.

The Regional Director for Africa said the Peace Corps is planning to undertake a continent-wide anti-malaria initiative, of which Liberia will be a part. He added that the programs being undertaken provide an opportunity for the Peace Corps to reach down to the people being served and positively touch their lives.

Responding, Ambassador Bull underscored the special historical ties binding Liberia and the United States, and praised The Peace Corps for the tremendous contributions towards Liberia’s educational programs over the years, particularly before the outbreak of the civil crisis.

He indicated that even though activities of the Peace Corps were suspended during the civil crisis, it was because of the important contributions of the Peace Corps that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appealed to the United States Government to consider reactivating the   program in Liberia. He added that through the activities of the Peace Corps the lives of people in Liberia and other parts of the world have been positively impacted.

In another development, the President and CEO of Sister Cities International, Mr. Patrick M. Madden, also paid a courtesy call on Ambassador Bull, during which he apprised the Ambassador about the activities of Sister Cities International around the world, particularly Liberia, where they presently awarded a grant to the sister city programs in Maryland and Bong Counties.

According to Mr. Madden, the Africa Urban Poverty Alleviation Program, under which the grant was awarded to Bong and Maryland Counties, is a three-year project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to alleviate poverty in 24 African cities through water, sanitation, and health initiatives led by U.S. and African Sister Cities program.

Mr. Madden stated that under program, the State of Maryland, USA, and Bong and Maryland Counties are collaborating to create 10 new boreholes, rehabilitate 10 more in Gbarnga, and repair the current water system at J.J. Dossen Hospital in Harper City.

In response, Ambassador Bull requested an increase in the number of sister city relationships between cities in Liberia and the United States in view of the long-standing ties subsisting between Liberia and the United States.  Mr. Madden gave the assurance that Sister Cities International is prepared to work with the Embassy and appropriate Liberian agencies to create more sister city relationships between Liberian and American cities.

Ambassador Bull lauded Sister Cities International for the projects being undertaken in Bong and Maryland Counties, and assured  Mr. Madden that efforts would be made for more Liberian cities to become part of Sister Cities International.

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