Peace Corps GuyanaPeace Corps Guyana was established in 1966, the same year as Guyanese independence. The program ran until 1971, and between those years, over 160 volunteers served in Guyana. The Guyana Peace Corps program was discontinued from 1971 until 1995. President Cheddi Jagan officially approached Peace Corps about the prospects for the program to reopen in Guyana. Peace Corps resumed in Guyana in March 1995, and the first volunteers served in the areas of youth and community health development. Since then, approximately 30 volunteers arrive each year to work in areas like community development, education, and health.
Volunteer Lifestyle in Guyana
Upon arrival, Peace Corps Trainees undergo ten weeks of pre-service training. The trainees live with local host families during this three-month period. This training helps new arrivals acclimate to the Guyanese way of life and to learn the local language. Living with a host family is an opportunity for volunteers to integrate into the community and a fast way to connect with their new environment.
Training in Guyana
Training primarily takes place in communities outside of Georgetown. Some training is completed in Georgetown, giving trainees an opportunity to become familiar with the city. The training is mainly focused on four interrelated components: technical training, cross-culture, health and security/safety. Regardless of trainee technical skills or projects, a significant portion of the training is based on aspects of cross-cultural understanding and the roles of Peace Corps Volunteers in development. During this time, trainers will work with new arrivals in groups and individually, to help them adapt to the new environment, the culture, and to prepare them for an eventual assignment. Pre-service training also includes opportunities for continuous assessment, by both trainees and training staff, of trainees’ progress in cultural adjustment and adoption of technical skills.
Trainees also learn to understand Guyanese Creole or Creolese; it helps volunteers become less of an outsider. After the training and the first three months of service, volunteers have three accommodation options, to continue living with a Guyanese family, live in a house connected to a family’s house or reside in a separate house that is part of a family compound. The Peace Corp strongly recommends that volunteers live with or in a compound with Guyanese. As part of Peace Corps' housing policies, no more than two volunteers may live in the same house except if it is circumstantial; this is done to encourage volunteer’s integration into the local community.
Peace Corps Volunteers service duration is two years, and in a beautiful country like Guyana, rich with culture, heritage, and local hospitality, it’s a remarkable experience to look forward to.