Unreliable organizations

Impact: 1
Support: 3
Fun: 1
Value: 4
Safety: 6

The program is enjoyable for youth who wish to get in contact with the local population. The staff is generally nice and between 20 and 30 years of age. They are helpful as long as you don't question the planning or the project in general. The project is based on teaching English and strengthen the grammar skills of the local students. That is a good thought, but unfortunately you teach something else than the project organisation claims. I asked in advance for a work plan since I did not feel very confident when it comes to English grammar and the staff replied that I shouldn't worry and that we would plan upon arrival. One week before the project start date I got an unegotiable schedule stating that I was going to paint walls, pick litter on the beach and teach English 1,5 hours a day, (since it was Ramadan. Normally it is 3 hours. Some of the activities are the same even when it’s not Ramadan), I was also informed that I would take part in weekly lesson planning together with other volunteers.

Once on site it turned out that the planning was a mere half hour together with a coordinator without teaching experience or even teacher education. To get more support they suggested I would accompany a volunteer who had been at the project for a longer period of time, but it turned out that the teaching experience of that volunteer only consisted of three weeks being at the site and Ramadan started. I have been working as a support teacher and have some experience of how to help young people with difficulties. I was shocked when I noticed how the volunteer who was supposed to be experienced and a support for me was teaching. A week before exams used’s most of the lesson to tell jokes and teach the students another language than English.

Some other volunteers knew even less grammar than the students and yet when the day of exams had passed, no student had passed the exam. You cannot teach English on that low level, which I discussed with the staff. They stressed that the program gives the locals a chance to learn English when they cannot afford formal education. However, the level of the program was so low that it would not make any considerable difference. And if it will be, it will not be about teaching English its more about to get contact with local people and practicing everyday English. Impact only seemed to fool the locals into thinking that we knew what we were doing. There were two staff members with an 'English as a foreign language' education, but none of them took part in the actual activities. Instead the activities are run by unexperienced and uneducated staff. Nobody I worked with knew how to teach or to solve problems associated with teaching. Many students knew how to take part in simple conversations, but I believe they had learned that from talking to the islands numerous tourists rather than from African Impact's teaching program.

During community project we were painting a school, but the paint started to come of before we had even finished. We cannot have used the best method, so apparently none within the group had the know how. I do not know why a local specialist weren't employed to help us out with this.

When I tried to discuss all these issues with the local staff, they said that there was nothing they could do. But when I discussed with the head office later on, they said the issues would have been solved if I had discussed with the local staff instead. I even asked about how they use my money (since its very expansive and we did not got enough of food every meal and some of teenager had to put back of his food so that would be enough for all), I got a general information as answer. The local staff also pointed out that being there during Ramadan means less teaching and fewer tasks, but other volunteers who had stayed for longer said it was the same before Ramadan had started.

In total, the whole experience seemed to be like youth camp not serious teaching volunteer organisation. My advice check carefully all information you receive. You do not know who really are working in the organisation since there is no site which presents the stuff

Would you recommend this program?
No, I would not
Year Completed