volunteers – variety is the spice of life

By Kate Stefanko. Filed in project background, project news, volunteer stories  |  
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Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavour”, William Cowper variety

For each newsletter, I (Kate) usually focus on one volunteer’s story of their placement experience …

This time, my post includes extracts from the reports of two volunteers – Annie and Nigel – who brought varied skills and experiences to their equally varied projects.

Each of their placements demonstrates the ‘win-win’ situation and real benefits when volunteers and projects are well-matched.

The Gambia – Annie is a freelance photographer and writer – skills and experience which were particularly needed in The Gambia. This was Annie’s first volunteer experience and she certainly put her skills to good use, working with ASSET member businesses.

“My volunteering  brief was to help with the promotion of sustainable/responsible tourism for ASSET (the Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism), my in-country partner, gathering material for a possible booklet and for the web site.

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Women at an ASSET seminar with their babies sleeping at their feet

“I spent four weeks interviewing and photographing people connected with various initiatives set up by ASSET. This included small businesses, community projects and groups of trainees, for example, tour guides recruited from local communities. The ASSET training supports them to become officially employed by the national tourist authority, helping them and their extended families to escape the severe poverty which is a commonplace part of many people’s lives.

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Women learning how to recycle plastic shopping bags, bike tyres and videotape into purses and jewellery – additional income !

“The end result of my efforts was dozens of interview transcripts which became fifteen pieces of completed writing, and more than 1100 pictures which became a final 250 edited, processed and captioned images.”

 

 

Peru – our volunteer newsletter editor, Nigel, has previously worked in South Africa and The Gambia. This year he took his immensely useful practical skills – and previous experience as a volunteer – into the Amazonian rainforest of Peru. Nigel’s placement involved supporting the local community where families are creating bio gardens – fresh produce for themselves and for additional income.

“The experience of being in a rainforest was amazing and something I will never forget! To me the highlight`s were the boat trips down Madre de Dios river as you could see the jungle in all of its glory. 

“We visited the bio gardens for the first time today, we were introduced to Reynaldo and had a look around his house, he has a garden and a huge fish pond and we asked about two of the large fish in there, I thought he said they weigh 2 kilos but it turned out he meant 12 kilos!

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Nigel – with hammer in-hand !

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a good day’s work – well done team !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the last few months, volunteers have also worked in Morocco, South Africa and Cambodia … and in 2015 variety continues to be the ‘name of the game’ as we match future volunteers to projects abroad where their skills are needed … we’re looking forward to next year already !

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