Written by: Tricia Marie B. Ayala

The Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) officially welcomes the new Country Director of the Peace Corps-Philippines (PC) through an online meeting last 6 April 2021. Ms. Jenner Edelman took the leadership reign after Ms. Monica Collier completed her duties last December 2020.

Ms. Edelman brought to Peace Corps her nearly 20 years of international development experience.  A former volunteer herself, she started her career in international development as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan from 1998 to 2000. Jenner worked closely with partner country governments and multi-cultural teams to implement large-scale programs in education and workforce development, infrastructure, agriculture and fisheries, energy, and policy reform.

During the meeting, Ms. Edelman said that the ongoing health crisis had become the most difficult challenge for the international volunteering community to date. Jenner mentioned that as much as they would like to start redeploying volunteers in the country, they cannot do so because of the current health crisis. Jenner added that there are certain conditions now that need to be meet before they can bring in volunteers. Despite these challenges, PC has shifted its focus to reviewing its existing and potential new community partnerships.

PNVSCA Executive Director Donald Gawe, during the meeting, emphasized that the agency understands the situation of the International Volunteer Service Organizations (IVSOs) right now on the difficulty of sending in international volunteers, especially with the stricter travel restrictions. Given the limitations on the re-entry of the international volunteers, Director Gawe proposed collaborative activities and ideas that may help in the capacity development of the local or national volunteers, to which Ms. Edelman has immediately expressed her support. The PNVSCA and PC look forward to more fulfilling collaborations this year. Both have mutually agreed to a common long-term goal of achieving a more conducive volunteering environment in the country, not just for the international volunteers but especially for the national volunteers.

The author is currently the Volunteer Service Officer II of the Program Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation Division, Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency.

Visit PNVSCA website (www.pnvsca.gov.ph) and PNVSCA Facebook (facebook.com/PNVSCA) for other stories and information on volunteering.