Examining the Geopolitics of Aid in Education

A Comparison of the United States Peace Corps and the Nigeria Technical Aid Corps in Namibia

This paper compares the United States Peace Corps and the Nigeria Technical Aid Corps in the simultaneous engagement with the education service in Namibia.

Findings revealed that there were striking similarities in the program mission and objectives and in the bilateral agreements governing the projects. In addition, political interests along with considerations of mutual benefit were evident within both programs.

Findings also revealed clear ideological differences which contributed to stark contrasts in program operations, volunteer background, and volunteer activities in the field, suggesting geopolitical hierarchies. While the U.S. Peace Corps did not overtly identify as a representative of a specific geopolitical region, the Nigeria TAC consciously and consistently operated under the guise of a South-South cooperative. TAC Namibia was distinctively: 1) an assertion of solidarity within the Black African diaspora; 2) highly centered on specific expertise; 3) based on principles of joint ownership; and 4) top-down in management. Peace Corps Namibia was 1) seen and projected as sharing a “model” or  “reference” culture, particularly in regards to youth and education; 2) a critical asset for English language proficiency; 3) flexible and more considerate of cultural exchange and professional development, than on distinct professional expertise; and 4) community centered in management.

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