Before we send people to volunteer in Africa I make sure I personally visit each project, and meet the people who run it day to day. Our project manager James also checks in regularly to make sure our volunteers will have an incredible experience and really connect with the community.
On my most recent trip to Uganda in April I noticed a lot of innovation happening outside the scope of what we’re asking volunteers to do on an African volunteer vacation.
We were having problems with one of our programs in West Uganda because it’s on the border of a national park, and wildlife such as elephants and giraffes would come into the program and is destroy a lot of the agriculture projects that volunteers had been building in the area.
Volunteers in Africa Think Outside the Box
One of the volunteers had the idea to set up beehives as the sounds the bees make deter the elephants and other wildlife from coming onto the grounds.
This initiative was a great success, and now not only do we have this culture program running really well, the hives have also generated another means of income for the local community!
Not long before the addition of beehives was implemented the local community were telling us they weren’t wanting volunteers in this area anymore due to the fact their presence was encouraging the wildlife to come closer and destroy all the produce they were selling at the markets.
Now we’ve got the local community on our side, and they’re really benefiting from the fact the volunteers are in the area and making massive contributions to their way of life.
By one volunteer thinking outside the box they are appreciating everyone’s efforts again, and also have a second source of income which is fantastic for breaking the poverty cycle.
Volunteer in Africa; Make a Difference
Many volunteers love that the difference between African Volunteer Aid and others as the fact that we work with the local community to ensure that they are benefiting from our efforts, as many other organisations are just placing volunteers in projects with no means to improve or create sustainable long-term programs for the local community.
As more and more people participate in volunteer vacations and witness first-hand the difference they are making, I have noticed they are becoming a big part of the communities they work in, and are creating lifelong bonds with the people they help. Now, they go home knowing that they’ve made a sustainable impact in the community and many end up going back to visit and see how the project is continuing on from where they left off.
I think the biggest difference I noticed on this trip is the fact that we are now making such massive contributions to the communities that we work in, and projects are starting to get finished and bring tangible benefits to the people who can now access new facilities such as hospitals and schools.
It’s really exciting to see that our volunteers have been part of that, and all the staff are working together so well to ensure something sustainable is happening for the future of Uganda.
If you want to help shape communities and volunteer in Africa please submit your application now, and we’ll have a chat about which projects will best suit your skills and interests.