We, at people and places highly value recognition from such prestigious awards as the WTM World Responsible Tourism Award. This year the judges decided to commend organisations and destinations which are taking responsibility and addressing the many challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are particularly proud to have won The Innovation Award because people and places was conceived to innovate for better practice in the volunteer travel.
We won the award for the work we are doing to develop support and encourage e-volunteering – a way for you to volunteer from home – it will suit volunteers who want to use their skills and experiences to support a project abroad but are not able or do not wish to travel. We can arrange an e-volunteer placement for you in a number of different ways – take a look here .
The initiative has taken real strides forward since we were nominated for the award back in August – then we were working with 3 countries, reading story videos, providing English conversation lessons to local staff and developing manuals – now we are working in 4 countries and have introduced business support, IT support and education, translations, podcasts and classroom support – with more developments every week.
We could not have achieved any of this without the tireless work of local project leaders and our volunteers.
Now we want to say thankyou to three project leaders – without whom we would not have a achieved what we have achieved.
Dara Moeun Head Teacher – Treak Community Centre Cambodia
Dara is a tireless, inspirational, can do, enthusiast. Whilst ensuring that as many children as possible have had access to online learning during school closures and mentoring and managing his teachers and doing a 350km bike ride to raise funds for the centre he has worked with Dianne on designing and implementing study sessions for teachers and children with the support of our volunteers. There is nothing this man does not know about how to communicate online with weak internet and no money! Thankyou Dara – for all you have taught us.
Lisong Bah – School Principal Mary’s Little Lambs and Director of Futures Foundation – The Gambia
When volunteer Joanne suggested that she work remotely with Lisong to deliver the early childhood education manual – we all took a very deep breath – Lisong had little experience working on line and even less in producing a power point presentation and a dreadful internet connection made all the worse by repeated power cuts. What she does know about are the varied training needs of educators and the varied learning needs of children in The Gambia. Working with Lisong has helped us to understand that learning about local needs is more demanding but just as important when volunteering remotely. Thankyou Lisong for this critical insight.
Karima Targaoui – Volunteer Coordinator – Education for All – Morocco
Our very first e-volunteer initiative was facilitated by Karima. Working with Dianne and three volunteers Karima organised English conversation sessions with the house mothers who care for the girls supported by Education for All. Her fluency in Berber (the house mothers first language), Arabic, French and English and her ability to communicate with the house mothers in lockdown in the remotest villages in the Atlas Mountains were invaluable. Now she is working hard with us to develop English sessions for the girls – “the women who will change Morocco” as she says
….all innovators – we are sure you will agree – this award is as much theirs as ours.
Whilst Covid 19 was the catalyst for our e-volunteer initiative we believe that this model can and will be sustainable in the days when we can all travel again.