Sixty six Peace Corps have today been sworn in to render voluntary education and health services in different rural parts of Zambia.

The Peace Corps, who underwent an eleven-week pre-service training in Rural Education Development (RED), and in Community Health Improvement Projects (CHIP) in Southern, Central, Luapula, Northern, Muchinga, Eastern, and North Western provinces have been sworn in to work as volunteers in Zambia for a period of two years.

And speaking when he swore in the 66 Peace Corps volunteers, United States (US) Charge d’affairs Christopher Krafft said the swearing in demonstrated the friendship that existed between Zambia and the American government in order to improve Zambia’s rural education, health, environment as well as fish farming practices.

“In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the new volunteers will contribute to maternal, neonatal, and child health such as sleeping under a treated mosquito net. And in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, these volunteers will support Zambian teachers by providing child centered and gender equitable teaching practices. They will teach English from grades five to nine and will organize after school clubs to help pupils develop life skills, problem solving and goal serving, and they will encourage parents to play a critical role in their children’s learning,” Krafft said.

Speaking at the same event, General Education Minister Dennis Wanchinga said the education volunteers would be assigned as English teachers in rural upper primary schools to teach grades five to nine.

“The Ministry of Education’s current revised curriculum establishes English as the medium of instruction from the 5th grade on, while literacy in the local language should be firmly established in grades 1-4. English being the official language and literacy play a key role in building the future of Zambia. The Peace Corps Zambia Rural Education Development (RED) project placing Peace Corps volunteer English teachers where they can best support pupils and teachers in the difficult transition from local language to English as the medium of instruction will go a long way in improving education outcomes in all subject areas taught in English,” Wanchinga said.

Wanchinga said this in a speech read on his behalf by Director of Open and Distance Learning at the Ministry of General Education, Bridget Mooya.

Meanwhile Chieftainess Nkomesha Mukamambo II said her chiefdom also needed the development which the other provinces had received from the voluntary works of the American people.

“It is for this reason that I always say while these volunteers keep coming to this country, and we continue being part and parcel of their preparation to serve in various places, we should not be forgotten. We also need the development that the other provinces that have been receiving them are privileged to have. Local people are eager to better their lives through good education and good health,” said Chiftainess Mukamambo in a speech read on her behalf by her senior advisor John Luputa.

“The issues of HIV and AIDS, Malaria and Maternal and child health, Water and sanitation as well as low literacy rates in our communities still disadvantage us from fully enjoying the abundant resources of this great nation. To you volunteers, go out there and use your local language and cultural adaptation to help our people. Go and share your technical knowledge in health and education with our people. Go and improve their lives.”