AMERICAN MOSAIC #810 - GeekCorps

By Nancy Steinbach


A volunteer is a person who provides services without being paid.People volunteer as a way to help others. A new American volunteer organization is sending information technology experts to share their skills with people in developing countries. The group calls itself "GeekCorps."


"Geek" is an American slang word. It describes someone who is an expert in computers and technology. GeekCorps says it is giving such people a chance to help change the world. GeekCorps is based on a forty-year-old American government program called the Peace Corps.The Peace Corps sends volunteers to help people in developing countries.

Ethan Zuckerman is the chief official of GeekCorps. Mr. Zuckerman says the organization wants to teach the world about the Internet World Wide Web and how to use it. He says GeekCorps is looking for people who have experience with information technology and want to spend three months working with small businesses in developing countries.

These volunteers are trained at the GeekCorps headquarters in North Adams, Massachusetts. The ten-day training teaches volunteers about understanding people in another culture. The volunteers learn how to teach their skills to other people. They also learn about the country they will be working in.

Eight volunteers went to Ghana in January. Three are Americans.Two are Dutch, one is Canadian, one is Danish and one is French.It is the second group to volunteer in Ghana. The volunteers teach people in Ghana how to use computers and the World Wide Web to improve their businesses.

GeekCorps wants to expand its activities in Ghana and in other African countries. Ethan Zuckerman says he would like to have twenty volunteers working in Ghana at the same time. He says GeekCorps also has plans to send volunteers to Latin America later this year.

To learn more about GeekCorps, use a computer to visit its web site.The address is www.geekcorps.org.

Voice of America Special English