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Peace Corps Facing Funding Cuts

Peace_corpsFor years, the University of New Mexico has housed one of the Peace Corps recruiting offices in our southwestern region.

Even though the UNM office has consistently ranked high in the number of people it has recruited for the Peace Corps, its operations (and those of two other regional offices) will be consolidated into a single office in Texas.

The Albuquerque office will be closed at the end of September as part of a new austerity program implemented by the Peace Corps.  The cutbacks are necessary because of a weak U.S. dollar and rising costs of energy, which have caused a severe budget shortfall, officials told The Washington Post.

Lisa Paton, who has worked at the UNM Peace Corps office for a couple of years, said qualifications to become a volunteer have also been tightened considerably, which will have the effect of cutting the number of new volunteers.

The cutbacks in the Peace Corps are important to us who are involved with Bread for the World.  According to a chart put together by Bread for the World, this is one of the programs that were to receive more resources through the increases in funding for poverty-focused development assistance that we have sought in recent years.   

While the increases in costs are a real concern, Lisa wonders why a program that has created so much goodwill for our country is being cut back.  We should be able to find the money for this program and others that improve the quality and the scope of our poverty-focused development assistance.   And increasing the appropriate line items in the foreign affairs budget would be a great help.

 

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Comments

Thanks for blogging about this, Carlos. Peace Corps volunteers not only do great work in the field, but when they come home they continue to make important contributions to our communities, to our country and the world.

The National Peace Corps Association has launched a national outreach and legislative campaign for a re-invigorated Peace Corps. The goal is to double the Peace Corps' size and budget by its 50th anniversary in 2011. To learn more about this campaign, visit its Web site at: www.morepeacecorps.org.

We think Please sign up and spread the word.

Erika: Thank you for your comments. Return Peace Corps Volunteers have often been a great source of information and perspective at some of our local Bread for the World meetings and workshops.

And our niece Kristin from Kansas City just returned from a sting in Swaziland, where she worked in AIDS education and community organizing.

As far as advocacy, how many sitting members of Congress are RPCV? The only one I can think of right now is Sen. Jay Rockefeller. Perhaps there are other federal legislators who can help get behind the effort to restore the Peace Corps programs that are being cut.

OOPS. I misspelled your name Erica. Sorry

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