Global Volunteers


Global Volunteers, a private, non-profit, non-sectarian, non-governmental organization, has been giving short-term volunteers the chance to provide essential services to local people on service programs since 1984. Volunteering under the direction of local leaders, team members form groundwork for international peace via common, global understanding. Our goal is to sustain authentic development projects with the host community and give volunteers wide opportunities to help.

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Programs from Global Volunteers

Program Reviews

  • Meghan
    Age: 19-24
    United States
    Georgia Institute of Technology
    Pommerini, Tanzania

    I'm an 18-year-old girl who is currently taking a "Service Gap Year," volunteering in impoverished countries around the world between high school and college. My first experience was six weeks in Tanzania with Global Volunteers (I combined two three-week sessions). It was beyond incredible. I taught English and chemistry classes at the Secondary School, helped to repair the secondary school library, tutored chemistry, English, geography, math, and history. All the classes at the secondary school are taught in English, so many of the students want to practice their conversational English with the volunteers!

    I also worked at the village clinic, attended mass, went on a short hike to the stream and waterfall in the village, and much much more! It's a great community to be a part of, and I always felt safe. I have a blog about my different service experiences during my gap year (including GV Tanzania) at .

    I would definitely recommend this service experience to anyone looking to experience the "real" Africa and to make a difference. It's not a luxurious experience, but the volunteer accommodations are incredible and Mama Toni's food is fantastic. Edward, Mohammed, and Mama Toni take wonderful care of all of the volunteers, and provide a great connection between the volunteers and community members.

    I was so inspired by my experience in Pommern that I launched a project to send solar lights to the students at Pommern Secondary School. If you are interested in the project, you can visit my page at

    I highly recommend this program, and am already looking at planning the next time I will volunteer!

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  • Sherry Staub
    Age: 51 or older
    Davenport, IA
    Blackfeet Wisdom

    Our family visited the Blackfeet Reservation with GV in 2010. The beauty and wisdom of that culture has remained with us ever since. I have often still referred to things I learned and experienced there.

    Our appreciation for creation grew from witnessing the respect and honor demonstrated by the BF People. It was an honor to be permitted to experience their world first hand.

    This experience also shattered many stereotypes that we have been exposed to living in a white dominated society.
    We are so grateful to have participated in this volunteer experience and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to gain an appreciation for another culture. The direct participation in and with BF People's daily lives and practices was a unique opportunity.

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  • Saint-Louis Collège, Liège, Belgium
    Age: 31-50
    Liège, Belgium
    St Louis Collège Experience

    This volunteering experience was of significant mutual benefit for the Liati community and the 8 final year secondary school students from St Louis College, Belgium. David Atieku, ARUDMO, in consultation with us, organised all the logistics to ensure that our time in Liati passed smoothly; transfers (Accra-Liati-Accra), meals and accomodation, local transportation, weekend and evening entertainment and last but not least, all our introductions to the community leaders, school director and the local authorities.

    We spent our weekday mornings teaching English, French, Social Stuies, Maths and Science in partnership with the teachers from the Liati Junior High School. The teachers prepared their classes well and gave our students clear tasks to do and a framework in which to do it. The Liati students clearly enjoyed these lessons and were very participative in a constructive manner. Amongst the St Louis students we discovered a natural teacher who is now planning on tertiary studies with the aim of a career in teaching. Super.

    We spent our afternoons either planting mango trees (partly funded by our students activities in Belgium), playing football with the local kids as well as talking with people of all ages and backgrounds in the community. We felt welcome and safe at all times.

    On the weekend we went to the nearby Wli Waterfall. This is a 'must see'. After a short hot walk through the forest you arrive in a natural amphitheatre. The dense forest surrounds you as you face the stunning scene of a 40m high (guesstimate) waterfall dropping into a large sandy bottomed pool where you can safely swim. To enter the pool you walk across a small grassy area covered with butterflies of all shapes and colours. Hundreds of fruitbats can be seen hanging about on the cliffs. Don't forget your swimwear!

    There are many opportunities to help this community. There are the schools, the hospital ... I would recommend partnering with ARUDMO and discussing your interests and limitations. We found their assistance invaluable. We will continue to work closely with ARUDMO when we plan future volunteering experiences.

    As always there were minor insignificant problems. However, a significant problem was transportation. We didn't organise our transportation well. We relied on Accra based 'companies' who have local 'representatives' but they are not under the influence or authority of either the community leaders or ARUDMO. I will never do that again. All agreements reached were broken, the drivers constantly hassled the students for money and we were always arguing. Fortunately, we have considerable travel experience and I don't think we were ripped off too badly but these situations often leave a bad taste in your mouth and can sour relations between those affected. Inrespective of the size of your group, I would recommend hiring a vehicle(s) and a driver(s) for the duration of your stay and ensuring that you have a written contract with the driver's boss or the owner of the vehicle that covers transport being available to go wherever whenever for the duration.

    To finish on a happy note... The food was absolutely superb! We arrived tired and hungry, the students looked at the unfamiliar food, we heard mutterings of distress ... and then the first bite was taken. Delicious. We ate extemely well. We asked for and received fresh loaves of bread with every meal. We bought condiments with us. Cheese and fresh milk is unavailable. Tinned condensed milk makes a lovely cup of tea. We safely ate a wide variety of very well prepared seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables with every meal. Twice a day we had either fish or chicken. Bottled water was always available.

    The accomodation was perfectly suited to our needs. We stayed together as a group in a house provided by ARUDMO. Individual bedrooms for the accompanying teacher and a room for the girls and one for the boys. There was electricity for the refrigerator, fans, phone and laptop rechargers... We slept in sleeping bag liners under mosquito nets. Beds were available. Toilets and baths had been placed but were without running water - work in progress. So bathing and flushing were easily achieved with buckets. Large water storage drums were provided.

    We were in the middle of the community and once we had been introduced to the community by the community leaders, we had a constant flow of guests, mostly children coming to play but also curious adults.

    When I think about our time in Liati, I remember laughter, beautiful views, good food, hard work, valuable work and new friends for all of us. For my students, I have seen them grow as individuals with their achievements large and small. Merci, ARUDMO.

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  • Mary
    Age: 51 or older
    Macomb, Illinois
    Western Illinois University
    Fantastic experience!

    I loved teaching in Crete! The students are enthusiastic (and very cute little kids) and their families are so grateful. The country is absolutely beautiful and you have plenty of time to see the sites. The family run hotel we stayed at was welcoming and the homemade food was delicious every day. I enjoyed this volunteer trip so much I went back again the next summer to do it again.

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  • PamelaGriffin
    Age: 31-50
    Originally from Glen Ellyn, IL near Chicago, but now reside near Tampa, FL
    I Cherish my 3 Trips to Ipalamwa Tanzania

    Each day starts with the Roosters crowing and the school bell for the students to get up and fetch water from the river...well, we sleep a little longer. Momma Tony has breakfast ready by 7am and we are ready to learn of the days projects: teaching in the class rooms and what ever the local school/village needs for construction (i.e. collecting large rocks, digging sand, carrying bricks, building door frames, painting, and so on.) The projects start about 8am...Tanzania time is not the same as Western Time. They don't wear watches, so everything starts when everyone is gathered and ready to start. One of the many reasons I love to get away from home & work for 3 weeks and disconnect from laptops, blackberry, iPad, schedules, etc.
    Lunch break is mid-day and then there is a few hours to walk around the village to meet and share thoughts with students and villagers or do what you want. Work starts up late afternoon for a few hours, usually the carrying of bricks and having supplies at site for work the next day; it just all depends on the local project.
    Once we're done with the project and awaiting dinner to be ready, we all gather around "the benches" to watch Students, Teachers and/or villagers play football (soccer) in the field, as well as play Draft, which is similar to checkers, and scrabble. The students LOVE to win at scrabble, which is always in English.
    During dinner we talk of the accomplishments for the day and many times have guests (teachers, villagers, students) to share their life with us and for us to share with them.
    I've loved each experience I've had in Ipalamwa, Tanzania (Nov 2008, Oct 2009, Sept 2010). The Global Volunteer Staff is now family to me. I look forward to returning in December 2012

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