All posts by Genevieve Brown
The IVPA Global Volunteering Fair in Washington, DC is tomorrow! The event will be held at the George Washington University – Continental Ballroom in the Marvin Center, 6:00PM-9:00PM
Come check out these great programs with projects all over the world:
|Amigos de las Américas||Amigos de las Américas inspires and builds young leaders through collaborative community development and immersion in cross-cultural experiences. Amigos de las Américas believe in a world where each young person becomes a life-long catalyst for social change.|
|Armenian Volunteer Corps||The Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) is Armenia’s premier volunteer placement organization. AVC has helped over 500 volunteers from around the world, 21 years of age and older, to find fulfilling service opportunities for terms of one month up to one year, in Yerevan and throughout Armenia. AVC Professional Corps is open to professionals over age 32 who can commit to a minimum of two weeks of service|
|Atlas Corps||Atlas Corps seeks nonprofit professionals from around the world to apply for Fellowships in the U.S. and Colombia. Atlas Corps engages leaders committed to the nonprofit sector in 12-18 month, professional fellowships at organizations to learn best practices, build organizational capacity, and return home to create a network of global leaders. Fellows serve at Host Organizations working on issues that complement their expertise.|
|AYUDA||AYUDA is a volunteer-based non-profit organization that empowers youth to serve as agents for change and implement sustainable diabetes programs throughout the world. AYUDA’s innovative peer learning model uses international volunteers as a catalyst to empower local youth living with diabetes to form healthy habits and better manage their diabetes. AYUDA has established an international volunteer program that mobilizes individuals – ranging from high school students to world-class medical professionals – to support educational and leadership programs around the globe.|
|Child Family Health International (CFHI)||CFHI places participants on 1-4 month internship-style experiences alongside local healthcare professionals in underserved communities in Latin America, Africa, and India. Participants rotate through clinics and public health sites, attend health information lectures, and become immersed in the healthcare system of the community. CFHI programs showcase local experts and support underserved communities abroad.|
|Creative Learning||Through its three divisions, Creative Learning works in overlooked areas to support locally-led initiatives. We exchange knowledge through people-to-people partnerships and sustainably improve lives and livelihoods.|
|Cross-Cultural Solutions||Cross-Cultural Solutions is a nonprofit working to address critical global issues by providing meaningful volunteer service to communities abroad, and contributing responsibly to local economies. We provide volunteer abroad opportunities, international internships, and gap year programs for individuals and/or groups in 10 countries around the world (Guatemala, Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa, Morocco, India, and Thailand). The CCS experience offers a genuine volunteer experience with opportunities to connect with, and learn from local people in those communities.|
|Cuso International||Cuso International is an international development organization that works through volunteers. Cuso International recruits skilled professionals from a variety of professional backgrounds to work in partnership with local or national organizations around the world.|
|GapFORCE||Gapforce is a leading provider of volunteer, internships, Gap Year and summer programs abroad. We offer over 40 programs in 15 countries including Marine Conservation, Wildlife protection, community development, expeditions, Leadership and training courses, internships and paid working holidays.|
|Global Citizens Network||Global Citizens Network works to promote peace, justice and respect through cross-cultural understanding and global cooperation. We are committed to enhancing quality of life around the world while preserving indigenous cultures, traditions and ecologies. Each team partners with a host developing community engaged in grassroots initiatives that meet local needs. Participants and community members work and learn side-by-side on projects pioneered and directed locally.|
|Manna Project International||Manna Project International (MPI) connects college students, recent graduates and young professionals with international service opportunities to apply their passions and education collectively through service to communities in need. With the vision of communities serving communities, MPI’s model is a collaborative community-based approach to development stressing three organizational pillars: holistic approach, community focus and leadership development. At our sites in Guatemala, Ecuador, and Nicaragua, groups of year-long volunteers live and work together implementing a range of education, health and livelihood community development programs.|
|Operation Groundswell||Operation Groundswell is a non-profit organization that offers travel and service learning experiences around the world. We aim to build a community of “backpacktivists” that are socially, environmentally and politically aware of their impact in the communities they travel to and live in.|
|Partners of the Americas||Partners of the Americas connects people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships that create opportunity, foster understanding, and solve real-life problems. For 50 years, Partners has carried out our mission through a variety of programs, local chapter organizations, and inter-institutional partnerships between higher education institutions, development agencies, and civic organizations.|
|Peace Corps||The Peace Corps is a volunteer program run by the United States government. Over 210,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 139 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education to information technology and environmental preservation. The mission of the Peace Corps includes three goals: providing technical assistance; helping people outside the United States to understand American culture; and helping Americans to understand the cultures of other countries.|
|Projects Abroad||Projects Abroad sends volunteers to 28 developing countries to do internships and service projects. Since being founded in 1992, we have grown to a team of over 500 staff members around the world that send over 10,000 volunteers annually. Volunteers get to choose their start dates and can go for as long as they wish. Our most popular programs include: childcare work, medical placements, teaching programs, law and human rights internships, environmental conservation, and building projects.|
|The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic||The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic provides life-changing, low cost, and essential healthcare to the impoverished people in a remote area of southern Nicaragua. The clinic helps over 12,000 patients per year by providing general and emergency medical care, dental care, ambulatory surgery, lab work, and preventative health education. Our volunteer program combines international travel with benevolence and hands-on medical training.|
|SIT Graduate Institute||SIT Graduate Institute equips students with theoretical knowledge, field experience, and professional skills. Programs are based on an experiential learning model and a commitment to social justice and intercultural communication. SIT Graduate Institute prepares students to be interculturally effective leaders, professionals, and citizens. In so doing, SIT fosters a worldwide network of individuals and organizations committed to responsible global citizenship.|
|Volunteers in Asia||VIA (formerly Volunteers in Asia) is a private, non-profit, non-religious organization dedicated to increasing understanding between the United States and Asia through service and education. Since 1963, our Asia Programs have provided U.S. Residents with an opportunity to work and live within an Asian culture while meeting the needs of Asian host institutions. We currently offer one-year and summer programs in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.|
|2Seeds Network||The 2Seeds Network, recognizing abundant human capital around the globe, is building a network of community-based agricultural development projects in East Africa. 2Seeds recruits and trains young people to live in rural Tanzania for one year and develop projects in partnership with subsistence farmers. Our goal is to incubate the region’s human capital so that local farmers create more food to eat and capture more profit from the produce they sell.|
Traveling and volunteering abroad is unfortunately not without some risks. One of the biggest risks to a volunteer or tourist is simply traveling on the road in another country. USA Today reported that “1,820 Americans have been reported killed in road accidents in foreign countries from Jan. 1, 2003, through June 2010. On average, one American traveler dies on a foreign road every 36 hours.”
Some tips when traveling abroad include:
- Wear a seat belt whenever possible
- Avoid open-back trucks or mini buses
- Don’t ride a motorcycle without a helmet
- Select a taxi driver or personal driver carefully and don’t be afraid to ask the driver to slow down
- Have Travel Medical Insurance in case of emergencies
National Service is still in the headlines and getting lots of coverage, which is great. Time magazine’s cover story is “How Service Can Save Us” and just a couple of days ago Michael Gerson, opinion writer for the WSJ, published this piece ,”National service can heal a divided nation”.
The Times piece highlights a great organization called Mission Continues that offers service fellowships to returned veterans to work on service projects. Service can actually help returning veterans who suffer from ptsd, depression or are struggling with adjustments from amputations or other wounds. Studies have shown that service positively impacts heath and psychology, lowers depression and gives people a sense of purpose.
Michael Gerson in his opinion piece speaks to the divided political climate the country is currently facing. Gerson writes,
“How then does a democracy cultivate civic responsibility and shared identity? …A rite of passage in which young people — rich and poor, liberal and conservative, of every racial background — work side by side to address public problems would create, at least, a vivid, lifelong memory of shared national purpose.”
It is exciting to see so many people rally behind the idea of national service. There is certainly the demand with Peace Corps, Americorps, Teach for America, all receiving record number of applicants. Realistically, it is an uphill battle to legislate anything on the scale of universal service but it is a great idea, one that would benefit the participants and the country.
Yesterday, General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, wrote in the Wall Street Journal about the lack of civic engagement among Americans.
“the duties of citizenship have fallen from the national agenda. Talk of service is largely confined to buoyant commencement ceremonies. And too often it is just that: talk.”
He reflected on Lincoln’s call durring the Gettysburg Address for citizens to carry forth the work on the country and called for universal national service. A national service that would be at least a year, non-military and though socially but not legally mandatory.
I think his idea is intriguing and I am curious if other countries have tried universal national service and how was it paid for and enforced.
Interesting, the call for universal national service is coming at a time when there are talks of cutting the Corporation for National Service, despite the strong demand for such programs.
“More than most Americans realize, the demand to serve already exists. In 2011, there were nearly 600,000 applications to AmeriCorps—a program with only 80,000 positions, only half of which are full time. The Peace Corps received 150,000 requests for applications but has funding for only 4,000 new positions each year. This gap represents democratic energy wasted and a generation of patriotism needlessly squandered.”
So what would it take for such a program to work? Political will, money, social support, buy-in from the private sector and Universities? Despite the challenges that would inevitably come with trying to institute a universal mandatory program, I am glad to see coverage highlighting the importance of service.
“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.”
Linda Stuart is the Director of Global Citizens Network (GCN), which is an IVPA member. Ms Stuart was recently asked to participate as an expert on a panel in USA Today about Latin America and the Millenium Development Goals.
I love Ms Stuarts response to the question: Why are cross-sector collaborations so critical in tackling the systemic issues of poverty?
“Stuart: Through cross-cultural understanding and cooperation, GCN tackles tough social problems that achieve mutually beneficial community outcomes. Our commitment to enhancing the quality of life in Latin America includes preserving indigenous cultures, traditions and ecologies. We cannot achieve this alone and rely on multiple sectors collaborations — business, nonprofits and philanthropies, the community, and government — in partnership to deal effectively and humanely with the challenges. Cross-sector collaborations demonstrate way of being together — each appreciating our interconnectedness and improving the human condition.”
(source: European Commission)
You may have seen this Ted Talk going around on social media and thought it was worth re-posting.[ted id=1688]
After studying and working in the nonprofit I think a lot of what Dan Pallotta has to say is spot on. Overhead is a dirty word and it shouldn’t be. Nonprofits need to be transparent but frugality doesn’t equate morality.
(image source: fooyoh.com)
The adoption and use of social media platforms has become part of our daily lives. How can we use these platforms to create social change? We’ve seen the dramatic example of social media and change with the use of Twitter and other platforms during the Arab Spring.
The World Bank in a blog post cited other examples including:
“Fighting corruption: 250 young people met at the third Global Youth Anti-Corruption Forum last year to talk about how their use of social media can play a significant role in the global fight against corruption. Around the world, youth are using social media to monitor the effectiveness of public service. In countries such as Paraguay and Brazil, they are using Facebook and Twitter to make official data available publicly to inform and mobilize their peers.”
So how can you create change through social media? The Gates Blog posted these ideas:
- Gather advocates
- Allow ideas to develop
- Forge an authentic voice
- Create sustained conversations
- Be approachable
- Identify your core demographic
- Don’t equate social media with dumbed down conversation
- Be innovative in your approach
Like any worthy undertaking there needs to be a certain amount of input (time and effort) in order to have an impact but these are some great ideas.
Is there anything missing in this list?
Dreaming oftraveling abroad? Take part in an exciting volunteer abroad program and work with communities across the globe. The volunteer programs combine the overall experience of travelling abroad with volunteering and making a difference. The benefits range from learning new language skills to career advancements, see the list below.
- A Sense of Giving Back: volunteering abroad can have a truly meaningful impact on you as an individual, and on the community in eed. The projects you will work on and the citizens you will meet and work with will remind you of the value of altruism. Volunteering abroad is a way of giving back, with the understanding that you, and the community are working towards a common goal.
- Gain New Skills: while volunteering abroad, you will often be faced with challenges you had never faced before, and you must tackle them head-on. In this process, you will gradually learn new skills – learning from the community members as well as your own project experience. While working on the project and after it has been completed, you will realize a transformation in yourself – one that will continue to resonate with you for the remainder of your lifetime.
- Improve Language Skills: while volunteering abroad, you will have the opportunity to speak to locals in a foreign language – and the best part – you will come to appreciate their native tongue. You will constantly be challenged to speak the foreign language to the best of your ability, while learning new words and cultural expressions.
- Cultural Experience: as we all know, only through living as part of a community, will you be able to truly experience the culture and its value to the locals. While volunteering abroad, you will live and socialize in the community. Whether it’s a rural community in Europe or an urban community in Africa – you will get acquainted with the customs, food and activities of the community that will make your experience a rich cultural experience.
After several months of hard work, students are eager to enjoy their spring break – but when considering their options, many are enrolling as volunteers, to partake in international service trips. These service trips are about improving the lives of others, gaining first-hand experiences and having a profound effect on an international community.
Several organizations organize 1-week or 2-week long service trips that allow students to make a positive impact on a community while also sharing their skills and learning from the locals. The volunteers work with schools, local governments, community groups in rural villages or urban communities. Below are three organizations offering spring break volunteer projects:
Cross-Cultural Solutions Spring Break Service Projects – Costa Rica? India? Guatemala?
Cross-Cultural Solutions is an international nonprofit organization that operates volunteer programs around the world in partnerships with community initiatives. For Spring Break 2013, they are offering volunteer programs in Costa Rica, India and Guatemala. Click here fore more information.
Global Citizens Spring Break Service Projects – Learn, Expand and Experience
Global Citizens Network provides international and domestic short-term, service learning projects for students that allow for authentic cross-cultural immersions. The Spring Breaks Service projects allow volunteers to expand their cultural awareness by living in a village, interacting with the community members and gaining insights into the citizens’ lives. Click here for more information.
Project Abroad Spring Break Service Projects – A Week Long Cultural Exchange!
Project Abroad works with local colleagues at all levels, with an extensive network of local knowledge that enables all volunteers to truly experience a cultural exchange. The 1-week long spring break service projects range from building homes or working in orphanages in Jamaica to helping protect endangered species in Mexico. Click here for more information.