Peace Corps has been involved with Namibia shortly after it achieved independence on March 21, 1990. The first group of volunteers arrived on September 9, 1990. The initial focus was to teach English, the newly declared national language. Since then, more than 1,345 Volunteers have served in Namibia. Today there are approximately 120 volunteers serving in Namibia, with work ranging from small business development, to community health, to primary and secondary education.
Volunteers work on one of three projects underway in Namibia:
The CED (Community Economic Development) program works with many different organizations from small businesses to community organizations to help with socioeconomic development in various areas. CED volunteers, focusing on sustainability, are mainly involved in an advising role, helping to build local capacity by holding trainings and transferring skills. They promote the sharing of resources, help with income-generating activities, and are often involved in many secondary projects outside of their organization within their local community.
SUPEP (Secondary Upper Primary Education Project) is the largest of Namibia’s three programs. Volunteers work in schools as teachers of English, Mathematics and Science. In addition, Volunteers work with teachers to improve classroom management techniques, to share more inclusive teaching strategies, to model gender-equality in the school and the classroom, and to increase parental involvement. Volunteers may also teach non-promotional subjects such as Life Skills (which focuses on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, as well as healthy decision-making), Basic Information Science, Physical Education, and Art. Many volunteers are also instrumental in helping to create or improve school libraries and computer labs.
CHHAP (Community Health and HIV/AIDS Project) seeks to address various health issues at a grassroots community level, helping at-risk populations to live healthier and longer lives. Health volunteers work with the Ministry of Health, at clinics and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in both formal and informal settings. Much of their work is involved with HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and care, as well as youth sexual and reproductive health. In addition, many health volunteers focus on alcohol and substance abuse prevention.