Former Volunteers Sue Peace Corps for Refusing to Release Survey Results

Sunday, September 04, 2011
Charles Ludlam and Paula Hirschoff, who served two different stints in the Peace Corps, are suing the agency for not releasing data from its annual surveys of volunteers.
Ludlam and Hirschoff are seeking the release of the country-specific survey information for 2009 and 2010 through the Freedom of Information Act. But Peace Corps officials refused to turn over the data, claiming that it was too expensive and might reveal personal information. The plaintiffs say volunteers are entitled to review details about the safety and security of Peace Corps operations, as well as the effectiveness of its programs.
“Applicants are being asked to spend two years of their lives as volunteers, so the least the agency can do is provide full transparency about the Peace Corps and the management and effectiveness of its programs,” reads the complaint.
The lawsuit follows recent criticism from some lawmakers in Congress over the Peace Corps’ handling of sexual assaults against volunteers in certain countries, and the case of volunteer Kate Puzey, who was murdered in Benin after her accusations, meant to be confidential, that a local Peace Corps contractor was raping girls were not kept secret.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Former Volunteers Sue Peace Corps (by Lisa Rein, Washington Post)
Charles Ludlam and Paula Hirschoff v. United States Peace Corps (U.S. District Court, District of Columbia) (pdf)


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