The Honorable Patrick Leahy, Chairman
The Honorable Judd Gregg, Ranking Member
Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Gregg:

As you review the Fiscal Year 2010 Supplemental Appropriations for Haiti Request, we ask that you consider including in the legislation at least $7.5 million to allow the Peace Corps to re-launch a programin Haiti.

The Peace Corps set aside FY 2011 funding to work on re-entering Haiti, having closed its former program in 2005. Additional funds in the supplemental would allow the Peace Corps to accelerate re-entry and begin to assist with the long term recovery efforts in Haiti.

As you know, the recovery and re-construction of families, homes, communities, schools, small and medium sized income generating enterprises and the vast array of health and social services needed in any community will be particularly difficult in a country as poor as Haiti was prior to the earthquake. On the community level there will be vast need for capable and well organized outreach workers, service providers and social organizers working with the government of Haiti, the local Mayors and the community councils to re-build capacity and capability in each of these service arenas. This kind of capacity building and extension of support and services to the local level is a perfect role for Peace Corps Volunteers.

The Peace Corps is a resounding example of the commitment of America and the American people to assist our neighbors and allies and the people and Government of Haiti. Peace Corps Volunteers live and work at the grassroots level, are trained in the local language, and have the cross-cultural skills needed to make an impact in the communities in which they serve. This is a very cost effective mechanism for allowing large numbers of Americans to serve their country and the cause of Haitian recovery. The value of the Peace Corps is demonstrated by the fact that its staff and volunteers are already participating as detailees to other U.S. Government agencies’ relief efforts.

If offered the opportunity, large numbers of skilled and committed Americans would willingly serve their country and the people of Haiti in this enormous humanitarian effort. In particular, the large, talented and well-educated Haitian diaspora in the U.S. would be a tremendous asset to the Peace Corps’ work in Haiti. Many Haitian-Americans are eager to help Haiti at this time, and a robust Peace Corps program would allow them to contribute in an immediate and significant capacity.

Therefore we hope you include in the FY2010 Supplemental Appropriation for Haiti at least $7.5 million for the Peace Corps to place Peace Corps Volunteers in communities throughout Haiti in partnership with the Government of Haiti.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand