...A little bit of Information about Lesotho (pronounced "luh-soo-too"):
- Lesotho is one of only three countries in the world that are completely enveloped by another country (in Lesotho's case, this is South Africa, and the technical term for this is "enclave").
- Lesotho is one of the highest elevated country in the world, on average. Its lowest point of 1400 meters (5,906 feet) is the highest in the world. This means almost the entire country is a mile above sea level!
- According to the International Monetary Fund, Lesotho's average GDP per capita is ~$1,218 per person, per year. This puts Lesotho at 159th out of 181 countries. The two poorest countries in the world (according to IMF) are Zimbabwe and Congo. The average American makes 38 times the yearly salary of a Lesotho citizen, at $46,381 per person, per year.
- Lesotho is a country devastated by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. According to the CIA World Factbook, 23.2% of adults (15-49) in Lesotho live with HIV/AIDS. This extremely high prevalence is third in the world, behind only Swaziland (26.1%) and Botswana (23.9%).
- Lesotho's crude death rate (22.2 deaths/1000 population) is second worst in the world, behind only Angola.
- Consistent with the previous statistic, the average life span in Lesotho is 40.38 years, third worst in the world, behind only Zambia and Angola.
- The median age in Lesotho is 22.6 years, compared to 36.8 years in the U.S.
- Only 25% of the population in Lesotho is urban. In the U.S., 82% of the population is urban.
- Interestingly, Lesotho spends a large percentage of its GDP on Education. In fact, with 13.0% of GDP being spent on education, this is second highest in the world. As a comparison, Congo only spends 1.90% of its GDP on education and Angola only 2.40%.
- Consistent with the expenditure on education, Lesotho has one of the highest literacy rates in all of Africa, with 84.8% of population being able to read and write. The female literacy rate is even higher, at 94.5%, with male literacy rate coming in at 74.5%.
- Only about 3.4% of the population uses the internet (73,300 total), compared to about 75% in the U.S. (231 million total).
- Lesotho is a very small country, with an area similar to the state of Maryland.
- The total population is only around 2 million and the capital city, Maseru (pronounced "muh-SAY-roo"), holds around 230,000.
- According to go2africa.com, "Lesotho's rugged landscape is one of the most beautiful and austere on the African continent" and "the dramatic mountain nation of the Basotho people has an inimitable rural African atmosphere that is both proud and warmly welcoming."
NOTE: Source for banner image here and map here.
...some information about the Peace Corps:
- Founded March 1, 1961 by president John F. Kennedy
- Since its founding, over 200,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, serving in 139 countries.
- Female PC volunteers have consistently outnumbered males for more than 20 years. Currently, 60 percent of the 7,876 Peace Corps volunteers serving are women.
- Currently, 37% of PCVs serve in Africa, 24% in Latin America, and 20% in Eastern Europe/Central Asia.
- Education is the biggest work area for PCVs, at 35%. Health & HIV/AIDS is number two, at 22%, and Business Development is third, at 15%.
- There are currently 77 countries being served.
- Historically, since 1961, the top five universities with the most Peace Corps volunteers are: (#1) University of California - Berkeley (3,412 volunteers), (#2) University of Wisconsin - Madison (2,906 volunteers), (#3) University of Washington (2,614 volunteers), (#4) University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (2,331 volunteers), and (#5) University of Colorado at Boulder (2,206 volunteers).
- PC is ranked as the 3rd overall "Top Employers Among Female Undergrads", behind Google, and Walt Disney Company, and 8th overall.
Peace Corps' Mission:
- Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
- Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
- Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
...Some information about Peace Corps Lesotho:
- Satisfaction for PCV's in Lesotho is among the highest of any country, ranked #4, #2, and #5 for the questions, "How personally rewarding is your overall PC service?", "Today would you make the same decision to join the PC?", and "Would you recommend PC service to others you think are qualified?", respectively (2008 Biennial Volunteer Survey). Other countries with extremely high satisfaction scores are Cambodia (#1 in three categories), Cape Verde, Kenya, Belize, and Peru.
- The specifics of the 2008 Biennial Volunteer Survey for Lesotho PCV's can be seen here.
- All education volunteers in Lesotho work to enhance reading, establish functional libraries, and do HIV/AIDS education.
- There are an estimated 81 PCVs currently in Lesotho.