Tuesday, March 13, 2007

[FOG news] After the strike and the evacuation, what is FOG's future?

In the wake of the long general strike in Guinea and the Peace Corps' suspension of the program in the country, the board has had a series of discussions about Friends of Guinea's future.

As mentioned in an earlier statement, FOG is not going anywhere. While we all hope for the Peace Corps' re-insertion into Guinea as soon as is practicable and safe, FOG will remain active organization regardless.

Guinea is not the first country from which the PC has been evacuated. I will be in contact with Friends of Liberia, Friends of Sierra Leone and Friends of Côte d'Ivoire to see how they managed the transition.

If the PC is absent from Guinea for a prolonged period of time, FOG's role will change. The support for parents and for PCV projects will obviously no longer be relevant. Cooperation with domestic trusted Guinean and international non-governmental organizations will likely become our main vehicle for direct support for development projects.

We will continue and perhaps expand our cooperation with Partage Québec Guinée (which donates textbooks and computers to Guinean schools) and with news website Guinéenews, which is invaluable to Guineaphiles, never more so than during the general strike.

Another important characteristic is its role in linking different segments of the Peace Corps Guinea community (PCVs, RPCVs, parents) and in keeping them all informed about events in the country. That will not change, regardless of PC Guinea's status.

There are hopes enhancing this 'virtual community' by making the already excellent website more dynamic. This is in the exploration and discussion stage at this point, but it's something to look forward to.

On that note, if you know of any Guinea PCV or RPCV webpages or blogs, please post them here and I will try to consolidate them in one place.

We welcome your thoughts and comments on FOG's future. Please post them here and I will share them with the board.

-Brian Farenell
FOG Communications Director

Note: the board and members also had discussions about how best to help Guineans in need during the general strike. While the general strike is now over, many of the needs remain. I will synthesize these suggestions in the upcoming weeks.

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