I am grateful to have have had the opportunity to meet such a wonderful group of people. The staff and volunteers at Lion House were all unbelievably kind hearted and were the main reason for why my time in South Africa was one to remember. It was fantastic having the opportunity to work with different communities in South Africa and getting an insight into the wonderful initiatives set up by the locals.
Although I had a lovely experience living amongst other volunteers, exploring South Africa and working alongside the locals, I'd say that most of the work I contributed was not very impactful at all. The Girl Impact project is not yet very established in South Africa, and I spent most of my time sitting around or partaking in activities that I felt were not a good value for time (e.g. sitting and watching a girls football team play football and call this 'supporting' the girls). Not only did I have an issue with my project but also felt that other projects were overstaffed (picture a class of approximately 15-25 with 6 volunteers and a teacher). The main issue I had with African impact was that for a lot of the projects I did not understand the need for volunteers. For example, we would volunteer and deliver a lesson to a class of young kids, however the teacher of the class (a South African local) was more than capable of delivering that same session (in fact the teachers were so great, that they could probably deliver a lesson better than all the volunteers combined) so I did not understand why we went in and were doing that teachers job whom could do a much better job than us. Even with the Girl Impact Project, African Impact hired a local to coordinate and deliver the project. She was great at doing her job and did not need our support in delivering the programme at all, in fact I think it would have been more impactful if she had delivered on her own since she could speak the language of the beneficiaries.
Although, I enjoyed my time in South Africa, I do not believe that some of African Impact's projects were impactful or sustainable. The staff are all clearly well intentioned and highly motivated individuals, I do believe that with continued efforts, African Impact in SA could do a much better job in aiding those most impoverished. They just need to figure out where volunteers could be used to have the most impact and re-evaluate some of their partnerships so that they are being as helpful as possible (e.g. instead of going in to do the teachers job, simply provide resources the school does not have access to).