The Annual Membership meeting of Partnering for Peace (PFP) was held on December 4th, 2021. As part of the agenda Victor Barnes, Director of Programs and Grants at Rotary International joined us to share his view of the benefits of the Rotary-Peace Corps partnership. Dir. Barnes served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire (1975-1977), was educated at Stamford University, and served the US State Department through USAID, with a focus on public health solutions.
Throughout his career, Dir. Barnes has valued the critical importance of collaboration between the Peace Corps volunteers and the communities in which they serve. He is a fervent believer in the value of community-based projects and the needs assessment model which is used by both the Peace Corps and Rotary to assess what is really needed in local communities to create lasting change.
Barnes highlighted the three key benefits he sees of Rotary and the Peace Corps collaborating through their strategic partnership:
- Increased Impact – We need to stress the value of on the ground community interaction between Peace Corps volunteers and local Rotarians to solve problems. Village chiefs and ministers of health working jointly with PCVs and local Rotarians can determine how best to achieve long-term outcomes;
- Expanded Reach – Rotary and the Peace Corps volunteers and Returned PC volunteers can penetrate communities together – Collaboration between the two organizations is the essence of the relationship;
- Enhanced Rotary participant engagement – under the guidance of District International Service Chairs, Rotarians learn about service and grant opportunities in offshore communities. Where a relationship with a Peace Corps volunteer has already been established, international grants are validated and get that extra support.
The groundwork has been laid to enable the Partnering for Peace members to support the Rotary and Peace Corps’ collaboration to identify, evaluate and execute projects in communities. See a list of successfully completed projects PFP has identified at:
It is now time to connect Peace Corps volunteers, current, past and future, with Rotary clubs in their home communities so that the stories of service and community needs can become stories of successful resolution and change.