Serving in Africa: US Peace Corps in Cameroon

Julius A. Amin


Based on a variety of primary sources including recently declassified documents, interviews in Cameroon, letters, and Peace Corps Volunteers’ personal correspondence, this study examines the service of the US Peace Corps in “Agroforestry” and “Small Enterprise Development” in Cameroon. The study argues that Volunteers were ill trained, ill prepared, and ill equipped for service in Cameroon, and as a result did not achieve Goal 1 of the Peace Corps Act, which calls on the agency to assist developing nations in gaining “trained manpower”. The study has broader implications, as it raises questions about the relevance of Peace Corps-like organizations in Cameroon, and in African nations as a whole. It focuses on Cameroon for a variety of reasons, among which is that Cameroon is one of only three nations in Africa in which Volunteers have served uninterruptedly since 1962.

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