Remarks by Ambassador Laura F. Dogu
Managua, November 10, 2016
I feel extremely fortunate to have been assigned to Nicaragua for many reasons, and one of those reasons is because Nicaragua has a Peace Corps Program.
Peace Corps Volunteers are such interesting people – they come from all over the United States willing to support the prosperity of Nicaraguans and also to learn about this beautiful country. These new Volunteers come to work with elementary school teachers to help students and their local communities to implement environmental projects that include school gardens, learn to make organic compost, and waste collection management.
The other group of Volunteers comes to work with high school English teachers to improve students’ verbal communication skills using participatory communication and new ways of using teaching materials. All of this would not be possible without the close collaboration with the Government of Nicaragua based on its priorities, including providing relevant and quality education.
We are very grateful to our Nicaraguan counterparts who invite our Peace Corps Volunteers to work at their schools under an agreed upon work plan. These two groups today will work together with the Ministry of Education. I would like to express gratitude to the Ministry of Education for their cooperation and support for the Peace Corps.
With the addition of this new group, we will have a total of 135 Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Nicaragua, in 4 projects: Community Health, Entrepreneurial Education, Environmental Education and Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Nicaragua is one of the 64 countries worldwide hosting Peace Corps Volunteers.
Some people wonder why the Government of the United States sponsors this kind of Volunteer Programs. Actually, the answer is that volunteering is part of our culture. This year, President Obama declared a week in April as National Volunteer Week in The United States. In his presidential proclamation, he described well this culture of volunteerism that you can find across the United States: in National Parks and public schools, food pantries and animal shelters. I am very pleased that this culture of American volunteerism has reached the shores of Nicaragua.
Indeed, our volunteers are eager to get to work, and I am sure that at the end of their two years of service, they will find themselves culturally enriched by the satisfaction of working with their Nicaraguan partners.
I would also like to thank the host families who have supported the Peace Corps Volunteers during their first months of service.
I wish all the best of success to you and the Nicaraguans colleagues in all your endeavors.
Thank you very much.