By Carrie Hessler-Radelet, acting director of the Peace Corps
I come from a family of Rotarians. My father is a Rotarian, and my Aunt Ginny — whose Peace Corps service inspired me to become a volunteer — was also a Rotarian. Peace Corps volunteers and Rotarians like my father and aunt are bound by a common purpose: service. That’s why I’m excited about Peace Corps’ partnership with Rotary International and to see what we can accomplish together.
The missions of our two organizations reflect and reinforce each other, and our two families — encompassing Rotarians, Peace Corps volunteers and returned volunteers — overlap and intersect, many times over. In an increasingly interconnected world, coming together in common cause provides more opportunity than ever to have the greatest impact.
The Peace Corps and Rotary are old friends. Our organizations have collaborated on projects in literacy, water, sanitation, and health. Volunteers of both organizations work as members of local communities to address community needs. Rotary contributes to the Peace Corps Partnership Program, a mechanism for Peace Corps volunteers and their communities to access small amounts of funding to support grassroots, sustainable development projects. Rotary funds have helped to purchase everything from construction materials to library books.
This new collaboration will build on our continued efforts to promote service and global development, beginning in three pilot countries: Philippines, Thailand, and Togo. By piloting ways of working together, we hope to be more strategic at the country level, find administrative efficiencies and maximize our development impact.
We are eager to join together as we continue to inspire volunteerism across the country and around the world. If you are a Rotarian working with a Peace Corps volunteer, or a Peace Corps volunteer working with a Rotarian, please feel free to share your story!
Carrie Hessler-Radelet is the acting director of the Peace Corps. She began as deputy director on 23 June, 2010. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer (Western Samoa 1981–83) with more than two decades of experience in public health focused on HIV/AIDS and maternal and child health.