Peace Corps first began working in Lesotho in 1967, shortly after the country gained independence from England. Today, there are just under 100 volunteers serving in Lesotho at any given time. They arrive for Pre-Service Training twice annually, in October or April (Yes, I arrived in June. My group was the last June arrival. This arrival date in 2015 was in April. For 2016, both groups will arrive in late September to keep everyone on their toes.).
Today Peace Corps Volunteers work in two main programs: Education and Healthy Youth. The education volunteers either teach secondary math or primary English although recent past has has education volunteers also teaching secondary science and serving as teacher trainers.
My program, the Healthy Youth Program, is smaller and more diverse in its job responsibilities. The three goals of the program are:
- To help HIV-infected youth adopt behaviors to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS and improve their quality of life, and
- To help youth living in HIV impacted areas adopt behaviors that will mitigate the psychosocial and socioeconomic effects of HIV, and be prepared for adulthood and the world of work.
Or, in simpler terms:
- HIV Prevention
- Care, Support, and Treatment for HIV-infected youth
- Life Skills and Economic Strengthening
Given that Lesotho currently has the second highest prevalence of HIV in the world with just under one-quarter of the population HIV positive, these goals are incredibly important. At the same time, the goals of the Healthy Youth program are incredibly broad. As a result, we Healthy Youth PCVs have a wide variety of jobs.