Friday, January 11, 2008

[Peace Corps issues] Downsize the PC to make it more effective?

Robert L. Strauss, an RPCV and former Peace Corps recruiter and country director, wrote an interesting op-ed in Wednesday's New York Times.

Strauss opines that the present demographics of the Peace Corps prevents it from being an effective development organization. Most PCVs are recent college graduates.

In the Peace Corps' early days, enthusiastic young Americans offered something that many newly independent nations counted in double and even single digits: college graduates. But today, those same nations have millions of well-educated citizens of their own desperately in need of work. So it’s much less clear what inexperienced Americans have to offer.

According to Strauss: What the agency should begin doing is recruiting only the best of recent graduates — as the top professional schools do — and only those older people whose skills and personal characteristics are a solid fit for the needs of the host country... but that the organization is not doing so because it would cause the number of volunteers to plummet.

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