Delaware resident William Hammett is among the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency’s unprecedented global evacuation in March 2020. The Peace Corps suspended global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My greatest aspiration is to be a physician who can help patients find their way to better health through social determinants. This altruistic experience is the perfect way to align my beliefs with my work and practice,” said Hammett. “I hope to become a refined communicator in health education, gain cultural competency and learn to empathize across lived experiences. I am excited for everything to be new!”

Hammett is a graduate of Denison University with a bachelor’s degree in global health in addition to health, exercise and sport studies. He will serve as a volunteer in South Africa in the health sector.

The volunteer cohorts are made up of both first-time volunteers and volunteers who were evacuated in early 2020. Upon finishing a three-month training, volunteers will collaborate with their host communities on locally prioritized projects in one of Peace Corps’ six sectors – agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health or youth in development – and all will engage in COVID-19 response and recovery work.

Currently, the agency is recruiting volunteers to serve in 59 countries around the world at the request of host country governments, to connect through the Peace Corps’ grassroots approach across communities and cultures. Volunteers have already returned to a total of 55 countries around the world. The Peace Corps continues to monitor COVID-19 trends in all of its host countries and will send volunteers to serve as conditions permit. Americans interested in transformative service and lifelong connections should apply to Peace Corps service at www.peacecorps.gov/apply.

Submitted by the Peace Corps.