The United States Embassy in Accra, has posted 26 Peace Corps Volunteers to four regions to help improve agricultural production towards attaining national food security.
The Northern Region received the highest of number of volunteers with nine, followed by the Upper West, which received eight. Brong Ahafo received seven volunteers, while Upper East got two.
This batch brings to 5,000, the total number of Americans who have served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Ghana over the past 56 years.
Mr Robert P. Jackson, the US Ambassador to Ghana, speaking at the swearing-in ceremony for the Peace Corps Agriculture Volunteers, in Accra, on Thursday, paid tribute to the long, unbroken record of Peace Corps Volunteers.
They have been working alongside Ghanaians; engaged in development challenges and increasing mutual understanding, goodwill and friendship.
“As those development challenges have evolved over the years, the Peace Corps has responded, adapting Volunteers’ work to meet the changing needs,” Ambassador Jackson said.
“Regardless of the nature of the challenges, Volunteers rise to meet them – working with partners in communities throughout the country to improve the daily lives of the Ghanaian people.
The Ambassador said: “Our ideas and ideals – expressed through individuals working in partnership – have extraordinary impact. I see this every day in our development programmes in Ghana. We change and save lives through agriculture, education and health, water and sanitation programmes”.
“I see it in the exchange programmes we facilitate, including the Mandela Washington Fellowship, where young leaders from Africa hone their skills at US colleges and universities and return to the continent to craft solutions – in Africa, for Africa, by Africans.
“We follow the principle of helping people gain strength to help themselves. Peace Corps is at the front line of that work.”
Ambassador Jackson said the Volunteers working diligently in their communities would touch lives in unimaginable ways and advised them: “Through your actions and attitudes, your service and your kindness to others, you will show that Americans care deeply about Ghanaians.”
Mr Jackson reminded the Volunteers that by working in the agriculture sector, they would be engaged in the economic activity that was central to Ghana’s future.
“Introducing new seed varieties, crops, ways of using fertilisers and more can have an enormous impact on your host communities,” the Ambassador stated.
Ms Carla E. Ellis, the US Peace Corps Country Coordinator in Ghana, said the Volunteers represented all that America had to offer.
She said, however, that the success of Peace Corps would not have been possible without the support of the governments of the US and Ghana, and the host communities.
Mr George Oduro, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, commended the Volunteers for their spirit of volunteerism, saying: “I commend you, particularly, for accepting to serve in the rural and poorly resourced communities, under conditions which even some Ghanaians will not want to be in”.
“My advice is that in whatever community you find yourselves, remember you are role models, change agents and most importantly, you are ambassadors of the US.”
At the ceremony was Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Chairman of the Board of Cocobod.
Two of the volunteers, Ms Summer Elliot and Mr Austin Harrison, in separate interviews with the Ghana News Agency, expressed their joy about coming to serve in Ghana.
Ms Elliot, who would be based in the Brong Ahafo Region, said she would be assisting the people in the rural communities to understand Home Economics and undertake income generation activities.
Mr Harrison, who would be serving in the Northern Region, said he would improve knowledge in farm record keeping, animal rearing and staple crops production.