In November, Development Together Staff Members, Natasha and Lachlan were on vacation in Bali, Indonesia and they took a day out of their holiday to see what a day in the life of a Development Volunteer might be like. They also got to assess the impact that past volunteers have had on our partner site, the Bali Appropriate Technology Institute (BATI) and the surrounding community in Kelecung.
BATI is a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) based in the Tabanan Regency in Bali. Founded by Mr Rus Alit, they seek to create innovative, accessible and cost-effective water collection, filtration and storage systems for drinking, sanitation and irrigation purposes. They have also developed examples of hydro and solar power stations, simple hydraulic ram pumps to move water, generation of bio-fuel from coconut waste and other simple technologies. Examples of these solutions can be found on the grounds of the BATI training facility where people from all over the world, come to participate in a week long Sustainable and Renewable Energies Workshop which Rus runs on a regular basis.
The day started early, when we met our driver and translator, Nathan. Getting to BATI is about a 2 hour drive from Denpasar. On a map, it might not look that far, however Bali traffic is always gridlocked until after you get out of the urban centres. When we arrived at BATI, we were given a tour of the various technologies that they have developed. First off, we were shown the ‘Rus pump’, named after its inventor Rus Alit, which uses water pressure to pump water. Rainwater is collected from the gutters of the buildings on site, is passed through a series of filters and is deposited into the water tanks. These tanks make it easier for communities to collect safe drinking water, and the ‘Rus pump’ makes it a lot easier to access.
We were able to have a look at a number of other projects that BATI has worked on, including sand water filters, recycled water showers and pressurised water pumps. We were also shown what looked like a large swimming pool, but it was actually a pool of recycled water that is used to irrigate the entire BATI grounds and keep them looking lush and green all year round!
Running through BATI is a stream which was turned into a small-scale dam. This dam was created in order to produce hydro-electricity to surrounding villages, but also acts as an irrigation system for the surrounding rice fields, which has allowed the rice crops to flourish and provides not only food to the local villagers, and but also a source of income.
After this, we had a traditional Balinese lunch, consisting of local fruits and vegetables, ayam goreng (fried chicken) and a spicy kepapa (coconut) salad. Indonesia is definitely a great place to visit for a food lover. The local cuisine is diverse, cheap and always tasty! Some other Indonesian dishes to try include nasi goreng (fried rice), mie goreng (fried noodles), babi guling, rendang and nasi lemak.
After lunch, we visited the Puspaya Homestay, where we got to meet members of the local community, including the namesake – Mr Puspaya! Development Together Volunteers have stayed here in the past while they assisted with constructing an underground water storage tank for a local school. We were lucky enough to visit this school to learn firsthand what the impact of this water tank has had on the students and teachers. Previously, the bathrooms were unsanitary, as there was not sufficient water in the dry season to flush the toilets, or for students to wash their hands. However, the new water tank designed and constructed by Development Together Volunteers allows toilets to be flushed after each use, as well as providing water for them to wash their hands, and this has benefited the entire school community.
Finally, we were able to visit an animal sanctuary run by local resident, Bunda. She takes in unwanted and unwell animals to care for, including over 60 dogs! This sanctuary also doubles as an extracurricular centre where local students can spend some time to help with their schooling.
After this day was over, we were sad to be leaving, as we had both developed a much greater appreciation for the work that not only Development Together and their volunteers undertake, but also the work undertaken by BATI, and the contribution made by local community members when we are partnering with them. However, we are happy to know that next week Development Together will be sending another team of volunteers to Bali, and they will continue to do so in the years to come. We know that this will contribute to positive community development in the Kelecung Region.
If you would like to get involved in one of our projects in Indonesia, check out our website at: https://developmenttogether.com/location/indonesia/ or https://developmenttogether.com/contact/
Participating in an internship abroad will be filled with adventure and the chance to experience all that your chosen destination has to offer. Visiting a country which is foreign to you, will encourage you to move outside of what you are familiar with and immerse yourself in a different cultural experience. Whilst this is great opportunity to grow as an individual, the team at Development Together recognizes that often our participants can encounter feelings of homesickness or loneliness. Committed to ensuring all of our trips are safe and secure, the health and mental wellness of our volunteers is our utmost concern.
So read on for our guide to how to look after your physical and mental wellness whilst volunteering abroad!
Before Leaving For Your Trip
Attend Two Briefing Sessions
Committed to ensuring each participant understands what to expect and is well prepared for their journey abroad, Development Together hosts two pre-departure briefing sessions. Attendance is essential and volunteers are given the opportunity to meet their supervisor and fellow participants, understand the project details, logistics of the trip and learn about relevant health and safety precautions. During these sessions, volunteers are encouraged to present any queries or concerns they may have before travelling.
During Your Trip
Have a Plan to Tackle Homesickness
Being away from your family and friends and experiencing unfamiliar customs and cuisines can be difficult, therefore it is common to face homesickness during your placement abroad. If you are missing home, there are a range of approaches we recommend to tackle it;
1. Pack your favourite snacks/treats from home; unfamiliar foods can be hard to adjust too when abroad, so we recommend all volunteers pack their favourite snacks to enjoy during your trip to make you feel more at home.
2. Follow your usual routine; during a busy day volunteering, it is important for our volunteers to make time for their regular routine. This could include a morning walk, yoga session, or talking to family on FaceTime. These activities will make you feel more at home in an unfamiliar destination.
3. Remind yourself why you chose to volunteer; homesickness can make it difficult to remain present and enjoy your time abroad, therefore we recommend writing in a daily journal about what you achieved and what was challenging, and remind yourself why you are volunteering for those in need.
Stay Hydrated and Prevent Illness
Many of the destinations that Development Together volunteer’s travel to include an extremely humid and hot climate, that your body may not be used too. Dehydration can cause serious harm to the body, and volunteers may be more receptive to becoming sick, making it challenging for you to carry out your volunteer work. The Development Together team provides all participants with 1 litre of clean drinking water, and provides guidance on how to look after your body should you become dehydrated, or suffer from “gastro” or “Bali belly”!
When You Return From Your Trip
Attend Debrief Session
Upon your return, all volunteers are encouraged to attend Development Together’s post-trip debrief session. During this session, you will be given the opportunity to openly express any concerns or feedback regarding your experience with the Development Together team and your time abroad. This allows volunteer’s a chance to provide valuable feedback that we can communicate with our in country partner’s to contribute to improving our internships and placements for future participants.
Contact The Development Together Team
Development Together is committed to ensuring the health and mental well-being of their participants, even after the completion of the trip. Upon your return, if you are still feeling unwell or low, it is important that you contact our team, we are able to recommend a counsellor for any ongoing concerns you may have.
For any other questions regarding our placements abroad, please contact us
#bethechange & #makeadifference
A breathtaking Island country located in South East Asia, Indonesia is best known for its beaches, volcanoes, Komodo dragons and jungles. As the country’s capital and largest city, Jakarta is an ever-growing metropolis. Home to over 255 million people, Bahasa Indonesia is the official language and has been adapted from Malay. If you’re travelling to Indonesia, expect a tropical, warm and humid temperature all year round as the country only experiences two distinct climates; dry season from April to October and the rainy season from November to March.
Wondering how to get around? We encourage you to use “Blue Bird Taxis”, they’re inexpensive and easily available, but remember to always ask the driver to use the meter. We also recommend trying the amazing food! Indonesia’s national dish is Nasi Goreng, which translates to rice fried. The dish is made using sweet thick soy sauce called kecap and garnished with pickled cucumbers and carrots. And don’t forget to try the satay chicken skewers!
Indonesia is home to a range of popular tourist experiences, great restaurants, and natural attractions, providing visitors with massive potential for adventure. When interning or volunteering with Development Together, the team is able to provide an extra week at the beginning or end of your placement if you wish to explore the country.
Below are our top 3 recommendations for your Indonesian adventure:
1. Gili Islands
If you’re looking to lay on sugar-white sand and swim in crystal clear water then hop on a fast boat from Bali and arrive at one of the Gili Islands. Experience the night-life and superior accommodation on Gili T, tradition and local character on Gili Meno, or a mix of both on Gili Air. Pick any of the three islands and enjoy swimming with the turtles, snorkeling or watching the sunset over the beach.
2. Tegallalang Rice Fields
Take a short 20-minute car ride from Ubud and experience one of Indonesia’s most popular rice fields. Take a walk through the cascading emerald-green pastures and watch local rice farmers, hop on their Instagram famous Tegallalang swing overlooking the fields, or enjoy a bite to eat at the restaurant.
3. Food Safari
Treat yourself at the end of your volunteer trip and experience a high-end dining tour with Bali Food Safari. From Seminyak delights to traditional Indonesian street food, the tour will serve up the best dishes and cocktails from a range of popular locales in Bali for you to enjoy.
Development Together currently offers internships and volunteer placements in rural Bali near the town of Amed, just 2 hours north of Kuta. Placements are suitable for Engineering, Environment, Urban Planning and Architecture university/college students OR professionals within these fields who are looking to give back to local communities and enhance their technical skills volunteering on a sustainable community development project.
Participants spend 3 or 4 weeks in Bali, in small groups of 5-10 individuals, working collaboratively within a team, alongside local staff, to review existing access to water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and facilities. Depending on personal preference, Development Together currently offers an All Female Group, led by an Australian Female Engineer, or volunteers can join our Mixed Group, also led by an Australian Engineer.
For our upcoming January 2020 internship, participants will partner with locals on the construction of water filtration systems for families in a village near Amed. We will also review current water access issues and potentially creating pipelines to move excess water from one village to another. To ensure the sustainability of the project, volunteers will develop and deliver the education and training on basic principles of water hygiene to local villagers.
Community members are consulted and get involved with and contribute towards the physical labor and design process. Development Together assists by providing most of the necessary financial funding required to complete this project.
During the internship, participants are supported by the Development Together Australian team and our local partners in Indonesia who provide interpreting and community facilitation guidance, along with the necessary technical support.
If you would like to get involved in one of our projects in Indonesia, check out our website at: https://developmenttogether.com/location/indonesia/ or https://developmenttogether.com/contact/
1. Meeting new people
Going overseas by yourself allows you the opportunity to meet other like-minded travellers and locals. Travelling by yourself make it easier for others to approach you and for you to approach others. It is also a great opportunity to chat to locals and immerse yourself in the local culture, which is harder to do in a group setting.
2. You can go where you want, when you want
When travelling in a group, you are constrained as the group may want to undertake activities that you aren’t interested in and vice versa. When you’re by yourself, you are able to make your own plans that suit you. It also gives you the opportunity to meet new companions and form new groups
3. Your self-confidence will improve
Solo travel throws you into the deep end, and while it can seem quite daunting, travelling alone can help you become a more confident person. Eventually it becomes more natural to talk to others and this self confidence is a worthy skill, long after your holiday has concluded.
4. You’ll feel an immense sense of achievement!
Travelling alone requires a lot of courage, it can be hard to take the leap, but once you do, you’ll realise just how rewarding the experience is. Especially if you are volunteering overseas, you’ll be able to see the difference that you’re making in others lives by giving back to those less fortunate.
5. You’ll learn more about yourself
Travelling solo allows you a lot of time for thinking and reflection, giving you the chance to experience a degree of new experiences. This often gives us a chance to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses, and discover new interests that you didn’t even know you had!
Development Together Placements provide a fantastic opportunity for solo travellers to travel abroad and meet like-minded volunteers from all over the world. Our placements allow you to use your expertise to develop solutions for issues facing local communities in need, while giving you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and have an unforgettable experience. To find out more, visit www.developmenttogether.com or email email@example.com.
Vietnam is one of South East Asia’s most beautiful countries. The capital city of Vietnam is Hanoi. Whilst it isn’t the largest city in Vietnam, it is the most populated. Hanoi is located approximately 1,760 km north of Ho Chi Minh City, which is the largest city in Vietnam. Vietnamese is the main language spoken by the majority of the population. The current population of Vietnam is around 90.5 million people and it is the 8th most populated country in Asia. In regards to climate, Vietnam is very tropical, experiencing heavy rains, warm temperatures, light winds and high humidity throughout the year. The winter dry season lasts from November through to April, whilst summer lasts from May to October bringing substantial rainfall.
The main form of transportation in Vietnam is motorcycle. Whilst motorcycles are cheaper to run it is also a more convenient way of travelling through the chaotic and busy streets. There is said to be approximately 45 million motorbikes registered in the country. The national dish in Vietnam is ‘Pho.’ It is a noodle soup that can be found everywhere! This dish can be found in small markets on the streets or at fine dining restaurants. Vietnam is also known for being the second largest coffee producing nation in the world, so if you love coffee then Vietnam is the place to visit! Vietnam tourism is growing every year and more people are discovering the unique beauty of this country and being introduced to the culture, food and architecture.
Vietnam has many popular tourist spots that have a lot to offer with many attractions and activities to undertake. When Development Together interns and volunteers apply for their visa’s with us we are able to ensure they have an extra week at the beginning or end of their placement if they wish to explore the country.
Below are our top 3 things for you to do on your Vietnamese adventure:
- Guided Street Food Tour
If you want to get a real taste for the Vietnamese culture then we would recommend going on a street food tour in Hanoi! On such tours you are given the opportunity to try many authentic dishes including the most popular and traditional “Pho.” Whilst on this tour you are given the chance to learn about Vietnam’s culture and history along the way. It is great to indulge and immerse yourself in other countries culture to make the most out of your trip.
2. War Remnants Museum
If you’re into history then this could be the place for you! Vietnam is known for its history and the impact that the war between the Vietnamese and countries such as the US, Canada and Australia had during the late 1960’s early 1970’s . The War Remnants Museum is supposedly the most popular museum in Vietnam and has approximately 500,000 visitors each year. This museum conveys the saddening effects of war on local citizens. It is extremely eye-opening but said to be a great experience! The War Remnants Museum is situated in Ho Chi Minh City.
3. Day Trips Visiting Islands off Vietnam
Vietnam has a great range of Islands to explore throughout the day and there’s no better way to see them then on a day cruise. These islands are know for their unique beauty surrounded by great swimming and kayaking spots. Many companies offer a wide range of day trips to take a traditional cruise with a professional tour guide and trained boat crew. The trips can also allow you to visit local fishing villages or pearl farms where you’re able to get a true taste of how some locals live.
Development Together currently offers internships and volunteering placements in the rural region of Da Bac, west of Hanoi. This is a mountainous agricultural region where there is still a lot of poverty, and access to sanitation and clean water is limited. Our placements are open to Engineering, Environment, Urban Planning and Architecture university/college students (who have completed at least the first year of their studies by the time the program starts), OR professionals with experience in these fields. Participants spend 1 month in Vietnam, in a small inter-professional group of 6-12 participants.
We partner with a local not-for-profit organisation and village chiefs/elders with a focus on bringing clean water and sanitation to local families. We partner with locals to develop and implement access to clean water for personal use via water filtration systems, improved methods of irrigation for crops and animals, along with the installation of safe hygiene facilities such as toilets and hand washing stations.
Participants use a Human Centered Design approach to identify the main issues in the village, liaising and discussing with local community members, and then working on a design solution together that will meet their needs. Participants are also responsible for identifying what materials will be required, the timeline and budget, construction and evaluation of the project. Participants are supported by Development Together staff, and our local partners in Vietnam who assist with interpreting and community facilitation, along with a local Vietnamese Engineer who provides technical support and guidance. Community members get involved and contribute towards the physical labour and design process. Development Together assists by providing all the necessary financial funding required to complete this project.
One of the questions we get asked most often is, “Who will support me on my Development Together placement?” This question comes from all our participants – both student and professional volunteers considering a placement with us.
When Development Together was still just a thought bubble, our management team did extensive research into what level of support other organisations give to their volunteer both before they leave, once they are in their host country and after they return. We found that:
a) Support provided before you leave is often done on-line, requiring the volunteer to read a lot of documents and/or complete online modules.
b) Once you arrive in your host country support is usually provided by local staff. Sometimes they may have trained in their own country and have professional qualifications that are similar to the volunteer’s backgrounds, or they may simply have a background in tourism and be able to speak English well.
c) On your return to your home country support provided may be limited.
At Development Together we reviewed the literature to identify what volunteers want from support staff and what best practice recommends. We found the following:
1. Volunteers want to feel welcomed. Our support staff at DT meet you on your first day in country, take you out for dinner, show you around the town where you will be staying and introduce you to your partner site. You will be staying at the same accommodation as your support staff and they can be contacted 24/7 and will happily answer all of your questions.
2. Volunteers want organised and considerate support staff. Volunteers understand that not everything will always go to plan. At DT our staff are able to manage any changes or difficult situations easily, without major concerns for the group, and will communicate this to you as soon as they can.
3. Volunteers want support staff who understand the issues affecting the country where they are volunteering. At DT our staff have an intimate knowledge about the country they are working in and can share specific details and knowledge about the social, technological, economic, political and environmental issues affecting the country you are traveling in and how it impacts on local peoples lives.
4. Volunteers want culturally aware support staff. Our DT staff have all been to the host country at least once before, if not many times before and understand the cultural nuances that can affect you, the partner site and how things operate.
5. Volunteers want knowledgeable support staff. Our DT staff are suitably qualified to provide expert advice and support. All of them are degree qualified, with many having done additional studies in development and aid.
6. Volunteers want support staff with an appropriate level of specific knowledge and expertise. DT staff have worked at our partner sites before and know the locals, clients and specific area. This enables them to assist volunteers to feel safe and supported when trying new things at the partner site.
7. Volunteers want open lines of communication with support staff. When you need someone to go to for answers to technical/clinical questions, your DT support staff will be there for you. They are also the person who you can touch base with if you are feeling homesick or worried.
8. Volunteers want to learn from support staff. Volunteers expect our DT staff to provide them with training and development as well as capacity building into local staff through the delivery of relevant professional development or on-site training. All of our DT staff are briefed on how and when to seize training opportunities and spend time teaching with volunteers as required.
9. Volunteers expect support staff to be competent and follow procedures and guidelines. Our DT staff are trained and highly capable to manage an Emergency/Incident. They are all Police Cleared, have training on appropriate ways to work with vulnerable adults and children, are First Aid trained and can competently run a partner site induction program.
10. Volunteers want to enjoy their time with support staff. Building rapport and developing relationships is all part of ensuring volunteers get the most our of their placement, after all, it is not all about the work! Having fun and exploring the country with your DT staff member helps to solidify the trust relationship and also creates great networking opportunities.
At Development Together we take pride in understanding the needs of our volunteers and ensuring the support staff that work with us are qualified, trained, competent and personable! We feel that our point of difference is in the way that we prepare volunteers before they leave and provide support in-country via our Australian Clinical or Technical Facilitator’s who accompany our small groups* and provide on-going remote support and follow up on the participants’ return.
Our pre-departure team consists of our MD, Accountant, Administration Officer and Marketing Officer. Each of these staff members works with the participant to make sure you understand the placement and what to expect. We regularly communicate with participants, process your paperwork, provide visa, health and immunisation advice, answer any of your questions. liaise with universities, and run face to face briefing sessions (compulsory for each participant to attend) to ensure your placement runs smoothly.
Development Together staff members provide in-country Clinical/Technical Facilitator support for all of our group placements. Our staff are qualified with at least a Bachelor Degree and have relevant work experience in the area where you will be volunteering. For example, on our Health Placements our current Clinical Facilitators qualified Australian Speech Pathologists, Physiotherapists and a Registered Nurse. All of them have extensive experience working in clinical settings, as well as supervising inter-professional teams. On our Humanitarian Engineering/Environment placements our Technical Facilitators have a Bachelor in Engineering with relevant work experience in industry, and have also supervised volunteer groups in the past. All of our Facilitators have been facilitators in-country at least once, if not numerous times in the past (some as many as 14 times!). They have an intimate knowledge of the country, its history and specific concerns relevant to your placement.
On your return to Australia our Clinical/Technical Facilitator follows up with each participant and runs face to face group or individual de-briefing sessions. We encourage participants to give us feedback about their internship/placement and make suggestions to enhance future participants experiences. We can also provide guidance and referrals if you have any ongoing medical concerns or would like to speak with a counsellor about your experiences. we also run annual Alumni events where you can reconnect with your group, and we communicate regularly with our past participants and encourage them to act as Student Ambassador’s , helping us to spread the word about the good work that Development Together is doing in the developing world.
If knowing how Development Together staff will support you on your clinical placement/internship then why not consider joining us and having the experience of a lifetime?
*Please note that our Vietnam Engineering/Environment groups are facilitated by a Vietnamese Engineer.
When you participate in a Development Together placement we advise and assist you to get the appropriate visa. Often this visa will allow you some additional travel days either before or after the placement dates. Something you may be wondering about it is how you will spend your time overseas and what you can do on a budget to make the most of this opportunity.
On our Bali placement you will have the chance to enjoy affordable shopping, day trips and tours that can be experienced on a budget! Some of these activities include:
Visiting the markets: The markets in Bali are renown for their cheap prices. Most markets offer products of relatively good value at an affordable cost. This can include; shoes, clothes, artwork, leather goods, sunglasses and homewares etc. Markets can be found almost anywhere, just make sure your bartering skills are up to scratch in order to pay what you consider fair! When contemplating which markets to buy from, it is important to think about who you are actually purchasing from. We recommend making the conscious effort to buy from female vendors. This will allow Balinese women to support and be able to provide for their families.
Boat Trip to Nusa Lembongan Island: Nusa Lembongan is a beautiful island surrounded by clear turquoise water and an impressive display of reef. Many activities can be undertaken on this island such as snorkelling, bike riding, eating with the locals and exploring some of Bali’s most picturesque beaches. *Prices for travelling return from Nusa Lembongan can be estimated at $50 AUD. Currently, Bali is trialling solar panelled boats to reduce the impact that fuel powered engines has on this pristine environment. Once these boats become available we would recommend you choose this option of eco-friendly transportation. If you’re planning on snorkelling at this picturesque island it would be advised to look into reef-friendly sunscreen. This is due to some sunscreens containing chemicals that are harmful to coral reefs, so choose “reef safe or “water safe” sunscreens with fewer or no chemical additives to protect the reefs.
Guided Cycling Tour: Bike tours take place through the rice fields, temples and traditional villages in Ubud, Bali. Whilst enjoying the stunning scenery away from the touristy streets of Bali, you are given the opportunity to learn about the Balinese culture. Your guide leads the tour explaining every encounter along the way. Some companies offer a great range of deals and packages that can include meeting locals, seeing how rice farming is conducted and eating at a local restaurant. *The bike tours start from only $55 AUD. We highly encourage you to think about which company you chose to economically benefit the local communities that you ride through. Whilst on this tour we recommend taking plastic free water bottles and snacks such as fruit so you aren’t required to find a bin for any plastic wrappers. It is important to remain environmentally conscious wherever you are. (And don’t forget to wear your bike helmet!)
Spa Day: Maybe you’re someone who loves to relax and enjoy a spa day every once in a while? Spa Salons are located almost everywhere in Bali and can range in pricing. There are many massage salons on the side of the streets that are extremely cheap. Whilst they’re not your typical five-star salon, they are still very good and very affordable. *Prices can start from $5 AUD depending on how long and what you would like done. If massages aren’t for you, then treatments such as manicures, pedicures and hair treatments/styling are also offered. We recommend getting massages from ladies on the beach or small salons on the side of the streets rather than visiting bigger salons. It is important to support local businesses to encourage financial independence and security.
Surfing Lessons: Whilst Bali is renown for their great surf breaks, the beach is also a great place for beginners. Even if you’ve never attempted to surf, the Balinese offer a great range of classes for people at all levels. They teach the key basics and focus on surf safety. It is most popular to hire boards along Kuta and Legian beach. *Prices can start from $10 AUD for only 1 hour! Make sure to rent a board from a reputable company that includes a life jacket. It would also be wise to consider what company you choose to hire from. We suggest hiring from locals that are set up on the beach as this supports local employment and creates jobs for the future.
Whatever you choose to do in your downtime in Bali, be sure to research, and consider the safety and health implications before undertaking any of these activities. Bali is an amazing place to experience a different culture, with hospitable and friendly locals. Being able to give back as you enjoy yourself makes a trip like this even more worthwhile and rewarding.
For more information about our Bali placements go to: https://developmenttogether.com/location/indonesia/
*Prices correct at time of publication but may vary depending on season and locations.
Today is the International Day of Charity! What better way to be charitable than volunteering in the developing world. Together we can make a difference in society by helping to eradicate different forms of poverty and partner together to build sustainable futures.
Making a decision to volunteer overseas can be difficult and daunting. We all lead such busy lives, and sometimes the thought of volunteering is not a priority. So we push those thoughts aside and focus only on what is directly in front of us.
However, if you take the time to stop and think about the benefits that you and the people you will be volunteering with will experience, you may find a reason to step outside of your comfort zone and become the deliverer of significant change!
Here are 8 reasons we think may convince you to get involved in volunteering:
1. Immerse yourself in another culture
Volunteering is a great opportunity to experience a different culture and walk of life. You can immerse yourself in the food, arts, history, and culture and have a truly authentic experience.
2. Get to know the locals
Spending time with locals will help enrich your experience as you get their perspective and meet people from different backgrounds and walks of life. The hospitality and generosity of the local people will touch your heart and be an experience you will never forget. This will help broaden your understanding of their culture as well as other cultures.
3. Help a local community
The value you add to the community and the local people is so fulfilling. You can return home knowing that you have contributed towards significant change which may lead to enhanced health, economic, social and environmental outcomes. This experience is bound to change the community you volunteer with.
4. Enhance your technical skills and gain relevant work experience
You will gain practical work experience as you participate in a community development project under the supervision of a qualified professional who will guide and assist you. If you are studying at university you can also use most volunteer experiences to add to your work experience hours and put it on your resume! This experience may not only benefit your career prospects, but will provide you with skills and memories that last a lifetime.
5. Create amazing memories and friends
By travelling and sharing experiences with other people you are likely to form a bond with each other. Through this you make memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. The like-minded people you meet while travelling, and those who you work on projects with, you will likely build good relationships with. They may also provide good contacts in the workforce in the future.
6. Build your confidence
When you volunteer you will work on community development projects that will help you to gain skills and knowledge that will build your confidence in your field. Volunteering provides you with a platform to help practice and develop your skills, with the support from local partners.
7. Exposure to a wide variety of tasks
Most of our volunteers work on a project from start to finish, so you will be involved in the different stages and aspects of project management, and this will provide you with a wide range of knowledge and skills. This will come in handy not only in your everyday life, but also the workforce.
8. Practice teamwork
By working with partners and teams, you will learn how to be flexible, compromise and voice your opinions appropriately. This will help to strengthen your future team work and help you to communicate with colleagues better.
These are only a few reasons why we would encourage you to volunteer on a community development placement. Our past volunteers tell us that the time they have spent volunteering overseas was an experience of a life-time, and the impact they have on local community outcomes is second to none. At Development Together, we are so grateful to be able to provide these services to encourage sustainable community development globally while enhancing our volunteers skills and knowledge.
According to the World Health Organisation, each person needs 20-50 litres of water per day for their hygiene and hydration needs. Most of us make no more effort than walking to our tap in our kitchen, turning it on and filling up a glass of water. However according to UN Human Rights, women and girls in the developing world walk an average of 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) every day to collect water for their daily needs. Apart from taking on average 2-3 hours per day, it also has an enormous physical impact on them. Additionally, it creates many issues that you may not think about at first. For instance, women and girls often have to walk alone to get to a water source and this puts them at risk of sexual assault or robbery. It also means that for many girls, they are unable to attend school as collecting water takes priority for their them and their families.
You may sympathise with them, but think that there is not much that you can do. However, you can get involved by joining us here at Development Together as we partner with local communities in the developing world on sustainable community development projects. We specifically work with partners who aim to increase ease of access to water sources and develop clean water filtration systems that can easily be used in local homes and villages with the result being more girls can stay in school and risks to women and young girls are decreased.
For example, in December 2018 a team of Development Together Engineering interns designed and built an 18,000-litre underground water tank in Uganda to help improve access to water for a local farm. Our interns also assisted with constructing a new water well on the farm to provide easier and closer access to water for the local villagers. This farm is run as a Not-For-Profit entity, with all income being returned to local community development projects focused on Keeping Girls in School, encouraging micro-economic development projects for local women, providing education about sexual health, reproduction and family planning and encouraging good farming practices to enhance agricultural outcomes. These two projects significantly decreased the need for women and girls to walk long distances and spend time collecting water, substantially lowering the risk of being alone, decreasing their heavy physical workload and giving girls back precious time to spend on their education.
In addition to the water projects our team of Engineering interns constructed a new piggery, refurbished an already existing chicken house and proposed a design of water filter that could be easily replicated by locals to assure they have access to clean drinking water. This was all done in an 8-week time frame.
These projects were really quite simple, but will bring about significant environmental, economic and social change, not only in the lives of those working on the farm, but also for the locals in the nearby villages. We have supported small group Engineering, Environment, Urban Planning and Architecture internships running to Cambodia, Indonesia, Uganda and Vietnam this coming December 2020 and January and February 2020 for between 4 and 8 weeks. If you feel like you would want to be a part of such a life-changing project contact us today at www.developmenttogether.com/contact/
In 1992, the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), better known as the Earth Summit, was held in Rio de Janeiro. This is where Agenda 21 – The Action Plan for Sustainable Development was created. Sustainable Development aims at meeting the needs of this generation without harming the needs of future generations.
Globally, individuals, organizations, businesses and governments aim to achieve these goals. These goals are crucial to maintaining safe, healthy and quality conditions for our future generations. Reviewing these goals encourages us to monitor and stay on track regarding sustainability. These goals show us that the small changes we make in our everyday lives, like turning the tap off, and using public transport, can and does help better the world for our future generations.
Each of us can implement certain habits and practices in our daily life to assure we contribute to the achievement of these goals. We do not have to completely change our daily routine, but even a few small steps will make a great difference. For example – we can stop using plastic straws. To be perfectly honest we don’t really need them, and by discontinuing our use of straws we are contributing to Goal #14 – Life Below Water: Focus and determine sustainable solutions for our oceans, as we have helped to improve the conditions of our oceans and potentially we have prevented harming an animal that may have died because of that plastic straw. Yes, it is as simple as that. Imagine how much we could do if we all implemented a few small changes in our lives. Amazing isn’t it?
Here, we list all of the UN Sustainable Development Goals with our suggestions about what we can do to make the world a better place for ourselves and future generations. Goal 1 – No Poverty: Promoting sustainable jobs and equality through inclusion
What we can do: Purchase items created by sustainable and Fair Trade organisation, with a focus on gender equality
Goal 2 – Zero Hunger: Aimed at trying to eradicate hunger and poverty
What we can do: Try not to waste or throw away food and only purchase what you intend to use. Over 1/3 of the world’s food is wasted!
Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-Being: Healthy living and well-being for all
What we can do: Vaccinate your family to protect them and others in our communities and improve public health
Goal 4 – Quality Education: Gaining an education is crucial to improving people’s lives
What we can do: Volunteer in a school and help children in your community to read
Goal 5 – Gender Equality: It is a human right and important for sustainable development
What we can do: Speak out against inappropriate behaviour and support those who are marginalized
Goal 6 – Clean water and sanitation: Clean accessible water for all is essential
What we can do: Turn off your taps properly and take shorter showers
Goal 7 – Affordable and clean energy: Energy is crucial to all our development endeavors
What we can do: Only use energy efficient appliances and reduce your reliance on petrol/gasoline
Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth: Sustainable economic growth will promote appropriate conditions for people to work in
What we can do: Support companies that promote equal opportunity employment and provide appropriate work conditions for their staff
Goal 9 – Industry, Innovation and infrastructure: Investments in infrastructure and innovation must work simultaneously to achieve this goal
What we can do: Come up with innovative ways to re-purpose material
Goal 10 – Reduced inequalities: Policies must be non-bias and take into consideration marginalized communities
What we can do: Speak out against inequalities and biases
Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities: Create a future where everyone in the community is provided with basic needs and services
What we can do: Partner with a local not-for-profit to enhance people’s access to appropriate housing and food
Goal 12 – Responsible Production and Consumption: Promote resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, basic services and decent jobs
What we can do: Encourage your local government to consider how they allocate resources in your local area
Goal 13 – Climate Action: Our climate has been heating up in the past decades, we need to come up with sustainable solutions to stop this
What we can do: Educate people on climate change and recycle paper, plastic, glass and aluminium
Goal 14 – Life Below Water: Focus and determine sustainable solutions for our oceans
What we can do: Avoid plastic bags and straws to keep the oceans safe and clean
Goal 15 – Life on Land: Manage and prevent threats to our land such as desertification and land degradation
What we can do: Plant a tree and help protect the environment
Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and strong Institutions: Access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels
What we can do: Use your right to elect the leaders in your county and local community
Goal 17–Partnerships for the Goals: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
What we can do: Get the SD’s in Action app to learn about the Goals and ways to achieve them
Lastly, if you feel like you could do even more than that, this is what Development Together is here for. Volunteering is the next step you can take in order to help people all over the world to improve their lives. This will also have a positive impact on your own well being as volunteering has known psychological, physical and emotional benefits – see our previous post www.developmenttogether.com/benefits-of-volunteering-and-international-internships/
Read Further: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals along with the description, advice and icons has been taken from the official UN website. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/