1 Aug 2017

Samoa marks 50 years of American Peace Corps support

9:11 am on 1 August 2017

Samoa has celebrated five decades of support from the American Peace Corps volunteer programme.

A group of US Peace Corps in Samoa.

A group of US Peace Corps in Samoa. Photo: Flick/ US Embassy, New Zealand

Almost 2000 Americans have volunteered their services to Samoa since a devastating cyclone in 1967.

Peace Corp Samoa country director Sherry Russell said their focus now was on promoting English literacy in Samoan primary schools, but over the years the volunteers have had a wide focus.

"Some of them were engineers and architects and helped with the construction of the wharf where the ferry departs to the other island, the original airport terminal building, the reclaimed area along the waterfront where the central bank is now, there was some assistance setting up the National Provident Fund. Then over the years there have been many many people who've assisted with health and then there have been many teachers."

She said participants serve for two years and live in a Samoan village, with many becoming fluent in the language and customs.

The programme was set up by President John Kennedy to promote world peace and friendship around the world.