Peace Corps Volunteers To Begin Work on HIV/AIDS Projects in Ethiopia
Forty-three Peace Corps volunteers this weekend will begin two-year posts in Ethiopia that will focus on HIV/AIDS-related education and awareness projects, the organization announced last week, the AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The group of volunteers is the first that Peace Corps has stationed in Ethiopia since 1999, when the organization halted programs during a border war between the country and neighboring Eritrea, the AP/Tribune reports.
The agency's programs will include working directly with Ethiopia's health ministry on HIV/AIDS programs in western and northern areas of the country, the AP/Star Tribune reports (AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune, 10/4). About 1.4% of Ethiopians ages 15 to 49, or one million people, are HIV-positive, according to the Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey 2005, which was released in September 2006 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/21/06).
Henry McKoy, Africa director for the Peace Corps, on Wednesday said the organization has been preparing to launch programs in Ethiopia for two years. He added that the new programs will give the Peace Corps a "chance to renew our partnership, to build strong ties" with Ethiopia. The agency plans to have 100 volunteers in Ethiopia within one year.
More than one-third of all Peace Corps volunteers, or about 2,800 volunteers, work in 25 African countries. McKoy said the Peace Corps' return to Ethiopia will not be affected by a bill (HR 2003) that would require the Ethiopian government to improve its human rights record or risk losing U.S. assistance (AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune, 10/4). The House last week by voice vote passed the bill, and it has been referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (HR 2003 bill history, 10/5).