How to be a Responsible Volunteer – Responsible volunteerism in East Africa is a great way to create positive impact through your travels. You have the privilege of building lasting relationships within the local community, and being instrumental in the mobilization of community members to be proactive and bring about lasting change. The purpose of Africa volunteer work is to create positive change with members of the local community, not to or for.
You will return home enriched, refreshed, and with a greater sense for global community. Your memories will last a lifetime.
Here are some general guidelines on responsible volunteerism:
- Research and respect the local culture and history
- Avoid over-consumption and waste
- Use local resources sustainably
- Focus on the Assets of the local community and its members first, and address Needs second
- Encourage and maintain social, economic, cultural, and natural diversity
- Empower members of the local community in all aspects of planning and decision-making
- Avoid paternalism – listen to and communicate with members of the local community on equal grounds, and focus on sustainable impact that can be continued by community members once you leave.
Responsible volunteer work in Africa and her diverse countries is paramount to creating lasting, positive change in local communities. Get to know the local culture and people, enjoy building relationships, and engage in active learning and work alongside local community members. When it’s time for you to leave, you can be confident knowing your efforts will continue after you’ve left, and you’ll have the memories of a lifetime.
Here are some comments from past volunteers:
My volunteering experience in Uganda was a beautiful gift I will cherish always. I have Cynthia to thank for guiding me on this incredible journey with grace, humour and integrity.
Volunteering at the orphanage was an amazing, rewarding experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The sisters also helped to make the experience a special one; they were so kind to me and they went out of their way to make me feel at home. I will never forget my experience. I really can’t thank you enough for all your patience, support and help regarding my visit to Uganda. It was such a comfort knowing that if I had an issue I could email or call you and receive a speedy response. You really go above and beyond!
Northridge, CA, USA
You cannot believe how happy I am for doing this, though was too short. Everything was as you had described it, even better. I am so sad of leaving and all I can think of is how to apply for a job in Uganda. The staff was very friendly and I think the charity is doing an amazing job there. I can’t wait for going back! I made tons of friends, there were plenty of volunteers there. I wish I had stayed more, but planning to come back soon.