|Making sense of fifty years of U.S. Peace Corps service in Cameroon
|Amin, Julius A.
|International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
|President John F. Kennedy had a special relationship with the African continent and after his inauguration invoked an executive order to establish the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. The first contingent of Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in the Republic of Ghana six months later. Peace Corps legislation was created at the height of the Cold War under the authority of the president in the Mutual Security Act, in order to assist developing nations. There is a dearth in scholarship on the Peace Corps and more especially on Volunteers’ service in Africa and this paper is written to fill a little of the gap. Focusing on Volunteers’ service in education and community health programmes, it examines Peace Corps work in Cameroon from the beginning to the present. It argues that the history of the Peace Corps in Cameroon shows more continuity than change and that the agency had mixed achievements in its goal to help Cameroon and other African nations meet their need for ‘trained manpower.’ Though Volunteers” work in Africa has made a difference, too often Volunteers were not prepared to work in developing countries, a weakness that highlighted the limitations of idealism. Goodwill alone was no longer sufficient to address the challenges of developing nations in the 21st century. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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