I chose Village Volunteers (VV) because they are unlike most international volunteer organizations. They have a true concern for sustainable development on the ground and in reducing the impact of the volunteer program on local families, the local economy and the culture.
I am a professional business women who had just finished a secondary degree in Business in Developing Countries. I travelled to Kenya for some hands-on experience. What I got was much more.
VV arranged all of my ground travel, food, and accommodations. I was able to explore the programs of my host organization in three separate and very different villages. The independent nature of the program allowed me to contribute my skills where the villages needed. For a week, I learned about the local water filter plant and used my skills to map out the workflow that the employees used to gain added efficiencies. In another week, I developed a curriculum for teaching women's microfinance groups how to do basic bookkeeping. I led several seminars in multiple villages.
My hope is that what I shared made an impact. My visit certainly impacted me. The slower daily life, setting my own path, managing the daily struggles with a locals, living with the natural cycle - the day is over when the sun goes down and the day starts when the rooster crows. Because I created my own agenda at my own pace, I really felt like I was able to fully immerse in the local way of life. I'm not sure I could have gotten that from another organization.