Lesotho’s next Peace Corp cohort in limbo

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By Nicole Tau

With the ever jumping cases of Covid-19, Peace Corps worldwide are uncertain of the time during which it will be safe for their staff volunteers to return to their host countries.

Previously, the date for Peace Corps Lesotho’s return had been set for September 2020, but with the surge in Covid-19 cases worldwide and international travel restrictions still in place, their return is most likely set for September 2021.

‘The Peace Corps is preparing to resume normal operations as soon as it is safe to do so in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, there is no timeline as the conditions are still fluid across the continent of Africa and the world, including in the United States.’ says Leon Kayego, a country Director for Peace Corps Lesotho.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, on March 15, the Peace Corps Director, Jody Olsen, had made a decision, for the sake of their volunteer’s health and safety, to temporarily suspend all their operations in every host country, and called back all their Peace Corp volunteers from their posts.

Likewise, following the announcement, Peace Corps Lesotho followed suit. They suspended their programs and evacuated their volunteers to their respective home countries.

According to Peace Corp Lesotho Country Director, Leon Kayego, the volunteers will return “country by country” to their posts based on the countries’ conditions after proper evaluations have taken place.

“The assessment of readiness is a complex process and must be conducted in collaboration with each host country government. There is no specific timeline set for Lesotho,” said Leon Kayego.

Peace Corps was established in 1961 by the United States’ then John Kennedy administration as a way of serving nations globally by promoting world peace, mutual understanding and friendship.

According to the United States of America Embassy in Maseru, Peace Corps Lesotho has been operating in the mountain Kingdom for almost 50 years.

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