Global Volunteers Partners in Development

Global Volunteers

About

Global Volunteers, an international NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations, has mobilized short-term volunteers on long-term development programs worldwide since 1984 - and is trusted by 37,000+ volunteers, college and corporate organizers and faith-based organizations. Groups, families and individuals serve for one to three weeks under the direction of local leaders, applying their unique skills and interests on a broad variety of projects to help children and families reach their full potential.

Global Volunteers is a long-standing safety leader abroad and in the USA. Discounts are extended to groups, students, families, companions, and returning volunteers. The tax-deductible fixed program contribution ranges from $1,045 to 2,995 and includes orientation, all meals, accommodations, ground transportation, project materials, medical emergency evacuation insurance, a trained team leader, administrative expenses, and 24-hour staff contact.

Reviews

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Donna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience for a family

My daughter and I participated in Global Volunteers' trip to the Blackfeet Nation last summer. It was amazing. Our guide, Karen, got to know all of the participants and tried to match them up with things they were interested in or skills they had. My daughter is an equestrian and Karen connected us with a local rancher and pastor who trains green horses. He works with at-risk youth to give them meaningful work while teaching them important values and building trust. Every evening we had a chance to learn more about the Blackfeet culture. We went on a horseback ride into the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen. Although the accommodations were not great, the trip was perfect in its imperfection.

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Leslie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Reaching Children's Potential Tanzania

I have volunteered as part of the Reach the Children’s’ Potential Program in 2018 and 2021. I really like the philosophy of Global Volunteers: the community decides on the projects and the families from the RCP program and community are actively engaged in the volunteer projects and programs. In addition, the program is committed to use local materials, resources, and tools readily available in the community which fosters the ability for self-sufficiency and sustainable long-term change.

RCP program has a lot of depth and there are numerous opportunities for volunteers to contribute. Some examples of activities that the team participated this year are the following: Home visits with caregivers, building chick coops, working in the local primary school teaching English, working and supporting the local women’s co-ops, facilitating workshops at the center and in the community, building earth boxes, working in the green house, working on computer related project that relate to the collection of data for the program, assisting a local pastor with harvesting his wheat field and participate in community building activities with local leaders, hospital and Iringa University. This program has so many different types of opportunities for volunteers to contribute!

It is great to be on the ground again and see the progress made in the region over the past two and half years since I was here back in November 2018. I truly saw the impact the RCP program is making in the region and how this demonstration program is working. Some areas that I can see change.
1. Having a health center on the mountain that mothers can now have a safe place to birth their children
2. The RCP center has a small guest house for some of the expecting mothers to stay at the RCP center when they are near their due dates. This ensure that mothers that live far away from the center do not need to make the trip in labor up the steep mountain roads.
3. The schools are more well attended and reported by the teachers that the children are more attentive/progressing further in school since the program now provides for 2 healthy meals for the children each day.
4. Nursing mothers have healthier supplemented meals, plus many families now have earth boxes where they can grow their own food rich in micronutrients. This directly impacts the health and growth of the nursing children. The children in the program for the past few years you can see as growing faster and are healthier. This can be backed by the measurements that are taken as part of the program.
5. Many of the staff at the RCP program have been here for many years. Many I worked with back in 2018. With stable staff it fosters the ability to build long term relationships with the families and community leaders. The staff and volunteers are looked as trusted advisors with the RCP families and many of the local community leaders. This helps support sustainable change in the region.
6. The community is now ready to deal with mental health related issue in the villages with more of the community getting basic needs such as healthy food met. Mental Health back in 2018 was an aspirational goal for the village community leaders to be addressed.

Pros
  • Well run program - Volunteers are well taken care of.
  • Lots of opportunites to make a difference
  • Guest house is modern and food is healthy and prepared from local foods
Cons
  • Remote location - over 2 hours from nearest city
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Susan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Everything I had hoped for and more

After many months of planning, I finally arrived in Ipalamwa for my first service trip with Global Volunteers. My stay was everything I had hoped for and more. During my 2 week stay, I was able to do home visits with local Care Givers, build hand-washing stations in village homes, teach English lessons in the nearby school classrooms, and play games on the playground with the children. The added bonus were the other volunteers who served alongside me. Wonderful people who had similar values and reasons for being there. Global Volunteers staff is highly trained and take very good care of their volunteers. Room and board were extremely comfortable; as a single woman traveling alone I never once felt at risk.

Pros
  • Very organized, assignments for every day, never felt there was wasted time.
  • Lodging was extremely comfortable; I paid the extra fee for a single room and it was well worth it. Momma Tony takes care of all the meals, outstanding!
  • Some might consider it a Con, but I loved being able to disconnect and not have access to internet.
Cons
  • Some of our conversations with the mothers in the village may not have translated as well as I'd hoped; not sure everything we were trying to say came across as intended.
  • Wished I'd stayed longer
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Laurie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Working at the respite center and painting a house in S. TX

This was my first "domestic" volunteer trip, and one of my most impactful. I felt like I was getting to pull back the curtain and see the reality of the refugees who came in - learning about their stories and the long road they still had to travel. There is so much misinformation regarding this issue and although I know it's a political hot button, I got to experience the humanitarian side of it it - putting faces to the numbers. Barbara Bicknell was an excellent leader and I credit her for the way our group of 11 became fast friends and worked so well together. Painting the house with 4 other women, under the guidance of Projecto Azteca, was no easy feat, especially given the heat and the conditions of the space, but it was rewarding and we were able to make it a fun project.

Pros
  • The organization as put forth by our leader, Barbara. We brainstormed, wrote down goals, checked back with those goals and ended every day with a wrap up session.
Cons
  • No cons, but it was hot. Then again, it was South TX, so that was expected!
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Natalie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a lifetime...

My daughter (15 years old at the time) and I spent two weeks volunteering in Calderon. This was truly a experience of a lifetime. The center were we volunteered was in a vibrant area bustling with everyday life where we got to experience the food and culture first hand. We were immersed everyday with our interactions with the beautiful children, teachers, parents and the women of FUNDAC walking way from the experience with a greater sense of our world, differences and how small gestures can help in so many ways. This experience has lead my daughter to continue on in studying International relations and development next year. Our Global Volunteer leader Maggie was amazing, guided us in every way and there to help us with anything that we needed. Ecuador is one of the most beautiful countries and has so much to offer. I hope to make it back there again.

Pros
  • Real immersion in the culture
  • Gratitude and appreciation from kids, parents and organization
  • Global Volunteers had everything we needed pre and during trip. Well organized and executed

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

Poland is a country that I had very little knowledge about. I knew very little of it historically. After doing some investigation, the history of Poland seemed like something I could enjoy learning about.

I had previously volunteered in China as an English facilitator and thought that there might be a similar opportunity in Poland. Working with students has helped me broaden my horizons as well as given me an opportunity to give back on a personal level.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I volunteered through Global Volunteers. I want to emphasize how helpful they were. From my perspective, they laid out the “game plan” of what we were trying to accomplish on this assignment. They also provided the support I needed, being relatively new at overseas volunteering. In-country support and guidance were very helpful.

Through Global Volunteers, I was able to customize my individual teaching days to different schools.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I would say that going in with a Flexible, Positive and Enthusiastic attitude is the best way to approach this or any program.

Be Flexible on any change in plans that occur, because sometimes that can happen.

Be Positive even when your lesson plan does not “land” as well as you would like. Learn from it and adjust as needed.

Be Enthusiastic about teaching the students, and about Learning the culture yourself. Your Enthusiasm has a tendency to be contagious and is a great way to introduce yourself to others.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

We had an outlined “ game plan”.

I worked with an experienced group and they gave great guidance.

A) The evening before: We prepared our lesson plan. Usually “English Exercises or Lessons”.

B) Next morning around breakfast time, we fine-tuned our “lesson plan” and discussed it with other members. We would also give “thought of the day” and read the “Daily minutes” from the previous day. Afterward, we were on our way to the schools.

C) Did our introductions to the classes and interacted with students in a way that would support the learning objectives. (Speaking, listening or writing in English).

D) After classes, we would have a “regroup” with fellow volunteers and talk through “what went well and what could be improved“. This was a great time for others in our group to give suggestions.

E) In the afternoon, we had about an hour and 30 minutes to tutor about 4-6 young kids who were wanting to learn English. Usually playing cards or memory games.

F) After dinner, we would start on our next day's learning plan and discussion.

This process was repeated every day except weekends.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

Going to a new or different place can be a source of anxiety. I arrived in the country about a week early and traveled around to learn some of the cultures. For me, this was a good way to transition into the assignment and relieve some of the anxiety that could arise. Interactions with the local folks served as a great way to “fit in” and feel more comfortable.

What is my greatest “take away “ thoughts from Volunteering, especially overseas?

I think there are a couple of points.

1) People are more similar than different. I felt extremely welcome when I was in Poland. I was included and welcomed in many cultural activities. Just as we have busy lives and are focused on our families, so are they.

2) People seem to have a curiosity about others who are not from their direct culture. I wanted to learn as much about them as they wanted to learn about me. To me, the key is to learn it as a student, the same way they learned from me.

3) “Seek to understand first”. Understanding a different culture first can help in the teaching/ learning process. Do not assume that other cultures are the same as yours.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Chemida Popo-Cox

Job Title
St. Lucia Country Manager
Chemida handles the day-to-day logistics and volunteer management of the St. Lucia service program. Formerly teacher and acting principal at Anse la Raye Primary School, Chemida has lent support to volunteer teams since Global Volunteers’ partnership in Anse la Raye began in 2012. Born and raised in St. Lucia, Chemida has dedicated over 20 years to educating the children of Anse la Raye. She received her associate degree in Teacher Education and Education Administration from Sir Arthur Lewis Community College in St. Lucia. In 2011, she graduated magna cum laude from New York City College of Technology, with a Bachelor’s degree in Teachers Technology Education.
Chemida gives a lecture

What is your favorite travel memory?

Natural scenery has always fascinated me so when I had to obtain a visa to gain entry into the U.S., I knew that my visit to Barbados, a sister island lying southeast of St. Lucia, would not be complete without visiting Harrison’s Cave. The wonderment of that placed totally enthralled me as I gazed upon the beauty of its various mineral formations.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have become a more rounded individual. I am now more knowledgeable in many areas in which I previously had no or little experience, such as the importance of early childhood education, project management, growing vegetables, and interacting with people form diverse backgrounds. These experiences have made me more tolerant and understanding of others.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Annually one of my volunteers returns to the St. Lucia service program to find her “happy place”. The environment enables her to practice self-care while volunteering. The scenery and people are her therapy; it is her solace. It helps her unwind from the reality of her world and in her own words, “reenergizes and prepares me to reconnect with life at home."

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Tanzania would be my first choice because of my ancestral ties to Africa and because of the Serengeti. I want to experience life firsthand there. It would be a wonderful thing to see the animals roaming freely on the vast grasslands. Additionally, the Tanzania service program epitomizes Global Volunteers' Philosophy of Service -- every step involved in empowering local people is in action there, so it would be the ideal place for me to experience.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We allow local people to drive their own development; we never tell them what is needed or how things should be done. That is, we work under the direction of, and along with, local people on projects of their own choosing. So, we support the local communities where we serve to help them improve.
I am happiest when my team is able to help at least one local person accomplish a goal. When life has become better for a person, that spells success for me.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

With good leadership everyone involved will have clear lines of communication and responsibility. Staff members will know that their cases are heard. They will feel that they are not alone when challenges arise in both their professional and personal life; they are cared for holistically. This will motive and enable them to go above and beyond the call of duty. Happy staff, leads to an effective workforce and increased productivity.