If a Peace Corps volunteer chooses to resign from their position (as opposed to ending their service due to a medical condition or regional political situation), an assessment of the reason for this resignation is made by a supervising staff officer and collected via Form MS-284 Attachment D (“Resignation Form”).
Our FOIA request sought all database records collected through that form. At first, the Peace Corps sent a document with few details and all of the numbers redacted. The Data Liberation Project and co-requestor Corin Faife successfully appealed that initial response; upon granting the appeal, the agency provided a spreadsheet listing the number of resigned Peace Corps volunteers by post and resignation reasons through July 2023.
Each row in the spreadsheet indicates:
- The Peace Corps post — generally a single country but with some exceptions, such as “ALBANIA/MONTENEGRO” and “EASTERN CARIBBEAN”
- The primary reason listed for resignation (if any), from a set of possible categories — e.g., “Personal/Family,” “other career opportunity,” or “Peace Corps policies”
- The secondary reason listed (if any), from the same set of categories
- The number of volunteers corresponding to that post/primary-reason/secondary-reason through July 2023
⚠️ Note: The Peace Corps says it cannot vouch for the accuracy of the data. Footnotes in the initial document provided by the agency say:
• Data on resignation reason is best guess from Peace Corps overseas staff.
• Data is not used for agency analysis, as it is deemed not trustworthy.
• Data is collected through “Attachment D” – which is currently being removed from Volunteer exit interview.
• Data collected from “Attachment D”(data that was requested) is currently in the process of being removed from database.
• Any analysis done on this data is not an accurate reflection of Volunteer resignation reasons.
And the appeal-granting letter notes, “I reiterate that Peace Corps has not confirmed the accuracy of the data in the database as described in the Footnotes of the original document.”