How Our Partners are Dealing with the Global Covid 19 Pandemic –
As the world continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic the global community is feeling as vulnerable as ever. Many of us are facing various challenges due to the pandemic’s far-reaching implications. At Development Together we think it is important to stay in touch with one another, spread positivity and check in on those you care about; especially during this time of social distancing.
Given our current inability to directly serve our not-for-profit partners in the developing world, we thought we’d get in touch with them to extend our thoughts and let them know we are thinking of them. Our partners were really happy to hear from us and most have provided an update on how they are dealing with the Global Pandemic.
The Cambodian community development organisation, Empowering Cambodia, spent the month of March conducting a series of training sessions in accordance with Cambodian social distancing and public gathering rules and regulations. Their Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) training was adapted to introduce Covid-19 prevention training as a priority.
As the poor seem to be some of the most hard hit during this time with limited access to personal protective wear, Cambodians have been encouraged to wear the traditional Kroma scarf as a form of protection. To ensure the safety and health of local families Empowering Cambodia have also distributed soaps and pictorial brochures to assist in good hygiene practices.
Cambodian Wear Kroma as They are Taught Good Health Practices in Small Groups
(Source: Empowering Cambodia Facebook)
Stitches of Hope
On a positive note the Cambodian people within the Stitches of Hope Community seem to be in good spirits. The organisation that aims to bring hope and aid to the poor in Cambodia reports that for children being supported in group homes, their teachers, carers and students are continuing with school studies at a reasonable distance from one another, with some even having the opportunity to learn how to cook.
Learning how to make mango jam and preserves.
(Source: Stitches of Hope Facebook)
The Perth based Director of Stitches of Hope also informs us that she was able to deliver sleeping bags, made by local Cambodian women, for the homeless in Western Australia. Local women in Cambodia are employed to sew sleeping bags, they are then shipped to Australia where each sleeping bag is paid for by a donor and distributed to the homeless. Stitches of Hope are trusting that the generosity of those who are able will keep this program going during these uncertain times.
The Director of Stitches of Hope, Ms Kay Eva, delivering sleeping bags to the homeless in Perth, WA
(Source: Kay Eva Facebook)
Foxglove Project is an Australian charity working to eradicate poverty in the developing world by empowering women and girls to change their own lives. Kelly Chisholm, the founder, has been encouraging her social media audiences to “Support a Woman”. The proceeds raised from this campaign will help support women in India and Rwanda who already have established micro-financing businesses in place.
In Rwanda, fundraising from this appeal will help local woman to come through this period with their homes and micro businesses intact and to utilise their networks via the Self Help groups they are involved with to quickly disseminate health, hygiene and safe family practice training to local women. In India funds will go towards providing families in lock down in the slums with dry food and basic necessities.
Foxglove Project Covid 19 Fundraising Appeal
(Source: Foxglove Project Facebook)
Shanghai Gold Apple Bilingual School
Our partners in Shanghai, China at the Gold Apple Bilingual School have had a difficult time over the last few months. From early in January they established an Epidemic Prevention and Control Team to protect the students and teachers. Very quickly the Chinese government closed all schools and restricted travel and school pupils had their classes delivered online. For both students and teachers this has been a steep learning curve.
The school has provided students with learning materials and learning suggestions, is conducting mental health counselling, and is encouraging students to engage in appropriate sports and housework, whilst also completing their daily school work. As things begin to return to normal in Shanghai both staff and pupils are looking forward to getting back into their usual school routines once more.
Students Getting Back to Learning
Childlife Preserve Shishur Sevay
India has entered a period of strict lock down. For the staff and residents at Childlife Preserve Shishur Sevay this has meant staying at home at all times, cancelling all extra-curricular activities and a restriction on their teachers coming into the home to work with them. Many of their plans have been brought to a halt, some teachers are giving classes online while non-essential staff work from home where they can. Dr. Harrison and a few other essential staff are currently living with the residents of the organisation and overseeing daily duties and tasks.
School Lesson via WhatsApp for Girls Living with Cerebral Palsy
(Image Courtesy Shisur Sevay March 2020)
The model inclusive home for orphan girls, both abled and with disabilities, share their view on how they are coping during lock down:
“India is on total lock down until 15 April…I am amazed at how the girls have risen to the challenge of this pandemic. They continue to be independent, cheerful, competent, and funny as they take incredible care of themselves and each other.” – Dr. Michelle Harrison
Online Communication Session for Girls Living with Cerebral Palsy
(Image Courtesy Shisur Sevay March 2020)
Although they face their own challenges, the organisation has shown selfless love and care for others with their recent decision to donate half of their food budget to feed the poor.
“ Our girls’ origins are among the extremely underprivileged. We taught them that these were the foundations on which to gain strength and grow. Today they asked how we can help the poor and hungry during lock down. We all decided to cut our food budget while still staying healthy. The money saved goes to a program feeding the hungry.” – Dr. Michelle Harrison
Bali Appropriate Technology Institute
Despite the Corona virus disruptions in the country our partner organisation, Bali Appropriate Technology Institute in Indonesia are continuing their sustainable engineering projects via video chat with the Director Mr Rus Alit who is currently based in Perth Australia. Rus shares his thoughts on their current situation:
“The project to build a water tank in the village of Kendampal in Datah continues. A 20,000 litre water tank is in the making. Under BATI’s direction by video call, the water tank is well underway toward completion.” – Rus Alit
An update from BATI regarding the water filter’s that our Engineering interns helped to design and construct in January 2020 was provided and it was found that they are functioning well and much appreciated by the locals. With the ability to store and provide clean water, the village is able to utilise the water filter’s to sustain a basic standard of hygiene during this tough time. BATI staff look forward to when they’ll be able to visit the site to conduct further work in the area.
BATI Working on Underground Water Tank in Datah Village
(Image Courtesy Rus Alit March 2020)
Seeds of Hope Integrated Ministries
On January 28th the Mother Care Academy, a brand new Junior school in Busia Uganda, was opened by our partners Seeds of Hope Integrated Ministries, Uganda (SHIMU). The students were only just beginning to adjust to a normal schooling routine and enjoying being able to attend a school that was conducted indoors, with tables and some stationery supplies available to them. As the impact of Covid 19 heightens in Uganda these students have now all been asked to stay at home and their lessons have been discontinued. Very few families have access to the internet or even own a computer so the idea of online class delivery will not be happening. Most children will not be receiving any schooling during this stage and will be helping their parents in the fields to make ends meet.
Given the current circumstances SHIMU still continues to give a voice to the hopeless urging those to support the vulnerable during this difficult time.
“A lot is still needed at this new school ranging from cementing the floors of the classrooms, buying chairs and tables for teachers, buying ridges for the roofs, fencing the school to buying uniforms for children. We can’t give up on supporting these vulnerable.” – SHIMU
In addition to this the impact of the pandemic on SHIM is immense as 65% of the organisation’s income source from selling vegetables, bananas and pigs has been slashed due to market shutdowns in the area. This is especially devastating on the work they do, as their farm income was used to fund their new school, run Micro-Economic Development Activities, and conduct Sexual Health and Reproduction Education for local villagers.
As the virus reaches into rural Uganda prices for basic goods, sanitary items and building materials have risen rapidly. This poses a risk to the livelihoods of many living in the area as food and essential items become harder to obtain. In SHIM’s most recent Facebook post the organisation expresses their commitment to sustaining their children and staff’s basic needs for as long as possible.
“We’re committed to keeping the children fed, and safe. We are also at pains to keep supporting our incredible SHIM UGANDA workforce – nearly 10 teachers, 5 project managers and other support staff. With no safety net for them, we are fighting to secure their futures, as well as the welfare of our kids.” – SHIMU
Mother of Care Academy Students on the 4th day of Term 1
(Image Courtesy SHIMU January 31st 2020)
Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre
Our partners at the Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre in Lviv Ukraine are being especially vigilant about preventing the spread of Covid 19. Many of the children and adults who utilise this facility are at high risk of becoming critically ill if they catch this disease due to their physical disabilities.
Under the direction of the local government, the centre will remain closed until April 24th, so staff have been providing tips and advice via their social media channels to local families looking after their children at home. Tips include advice on Covid 19 symptoms, along with advice on regular hand washing, disinfecting surfaces and spending time outside to get fresh air.
Covid 19 Symptoms Poster
(Source: Dzherelo Facebook)
Staff from Dzherelo have also been encouraging families of clients to seek out alternate ways to communicate with their loved ones whilst under lock down at home. Families have been encouraged to help their child at home by accessing specific therapy websites, online stories, reading together, looking at photos together and reinforcing positive behaviors. In this way, families are now able to assist in the delivery of therapy sessions which are being conducted on-line if the family has a computer and internet access at home.
Alternate Communication Tools
Centre for Sustainable Development Studies
The Vietnamese government has enforced very strict restrictions to control the spread of Covid 19 which have led to the suspension of all of the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies activities. The staff at CSDS are working hard in the office and at home to take the time to prepare for further activities when the work is back to normal. One area they are working on is through their social media posts aimed at encouraging local people to hand wash.
CSDS Hand Washing Poster
(Source: CSDS VN Facebook)
They have also been conducting a survey on the impact and needs of children and teens affected by Covid 19 with the survey results being used to inform the Government and UN agencies on how to best support children and teens during this time. Hopefully with this understanding CSDS will be able to create effective activities in the future that enhance children and teens outcomes.
CSDS Staff working on activities from home
(Source: CSDS VN Facebook)
How You Can Get Involved
We hope that you have enjoyed catching up on the latest news from our partners. At this stage we are planning to run our end of year placements, but of course we will continue to be guided by advice from the WHO, CDC, DAFT and the Australian Government and we will closely follow their lead on the safety of overseas travel to the regions we operate in. We can’t wait to return to our partner sites and look forward to being able to work with our participants soon!
If you’d like to get in touch with, or support the initiatives of any of our partners mentioned in our blog, follow the links listed below:
Bali Appropriate Technology Institute:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/BATI-Bali-Appropriate-Technology-Institute
Website – n/a
Centre for Sustainable Development Studies
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/CSDS.VN/
Website – n/a
Childlife Preserve Shishur Sevay
Facebook – www.facebook.com/ShishurSevay
Website – https://www.shishursevay.org
Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Dzherelo/
Website – https://dzherelocentre.org.ua/en/
Facebook – www.facebook.com/EmpoweringCambodia
Website – www.empoweringcambodia.org
Facebook – www.facebook.com/FoxgloveProject
Website – www.foxgloveproject.com
DONATE TO: COVID-19 Rwanda Appeal http://grassroots-rwanda-gdg-j778.raisely.com/covid19-rwanda-appeal
DONATE TO: COVID-19 Chennai Appeal https://birdsnest365-gdg-j925n.raisely.com/covid19-chennai-appeal
Shanghai Gold Apple Bilingual School
Facebook – n/a
Website – http://www.jinpingguo.com.cn/
Seeds of Hope Integrated Ministries Uganda
Facebook – www.facebook.com/shimuganda
Website – n/a
Stitches of Hope
Facebook – www.facebook.com/stitchesofhope
Website – www.stitchesofhope.org.au
DONATE TO: Sleeping Bag Project – https://startsomegood.com/rotary-sleeping-bag-project
If you would like to get involved in one of our projects in the developing world check out our website at: https://developmenttogether.com or https://developmenttogether.com/contact/
The capital city of Uganda is Kampala and has a population of 42.86 million (as of 2017). Uganda is best known for it’s beautiful wildlife. It is home to 50% of the world’s population of Mountain Gorillas, 11% of the worlds bird population, and has 6.8% of the world’s butterfly species. Not only that, the cuisine there is incredible! Each tribe has it’s own staple food, making the experience as unique and diverse as their culture.
There are over 50 languages spoken in Uganda but the two official languages are English and Swahili – This means interacting with the locals will be a breeze. Ugandans’ are extremely welcoming and are interested in getting to know tourists and volunteers. The weather in Uganda is lovely and warm most of the year, reaching an average max of 29 degrees Celsius. The wet seasons run from March to May and October to November.
When travelling around towns, the most common form of transport is bicycle, but be careful when riding through the more built up parts of Uganda as road rules aren’t strictly followed. If bike riding isn’t your thing, there are local buses that move between major attractions and cars available for hire.
Uganda has a wide range of culturally engaging activities that are perfect for first time visitors. Here are our top three recommendations for an exciting and eye-opening experience.
1) Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to over half of the Mountain Gorillas in Africa, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Not only can you book to visit the Mountain Gorillas, but you can also hike within the forest and stay in a local village for a cultural experience. It is also one of Uganda’s best places to see many different bird species.
2) Murchison Falls
Check out the world’s most powerful waterfall on a wildlife-watching trip up the Victoria Nile. Murchison Falls National Park is one of Uganda’s best National Parks with the historic River Nile flowing through it. You will also experience some of the largest Nile Crocodiles, pods of Hippos and many species of water birds. Nearby on the open Savannah you will be able to see the endangered Rothschild Giraffes, Elephants, Antelopes, Lions and with a bit of luck the elusive Leopards.
3) Ndere Cultural Centre, Kampala
The Ndere Cultural Centre is home to Uganda’s best cultural dance group the Ndere Troupe. Enjoy dinner and a drink and watch the sun set as you enjoy the dance, singing and music presented by the Ndere Troupe as the celebrate the commonalities and rich differences of the many different tribal groups in Uganda.
Development Together currently offers internships and volunteer placements in rural Busia, near the Kenya border just 4 hours east of Kampala (the capital of Uganda). For the last two years we have been partnering with a local Not For Profit group called Seeds of Hope Integrated Ministries who run Micro Economic Development Activities focusing on improving female economic independence, run a small Primary School for children in poverty, run a Re-usable Sanitary Napkin Project and provide education on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Family Planning.
Our Inter-Professional teams volunteer with out partner on local projects. These placements are suitable for Agriculture, Agri-Business, Architecture, Child Development, Commerce, Computing/IT, Education/Teaching, Engineering, Environment, Health (Nursing, Medicine, Physiotherapy, Public Health, Sexology), Social Work and Urban Planning university/college students OR professionals within these fields who are looking to give back to local communities and enhance their technical skills volunteering on sustainable community development projects.
For our upcoming 2020 internship programs, participants will spend 3, 4 or 8 weeks in Uganda, in small groups of 4-12 individuals, working collaboratively within your team and alongside local staff. Develop your skills in a supported environment with an Australian Facilitator alongside you to offer guidance and mentoring as:
- Engineering/Environment/Architecture/Urban Planning volunteers will review locals existing access to water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and facilities, followed by upgrading or constructing new infrastructure and facilities that may better suit locals needs.
- Agricultural volunteers will assess existing farming and animal husbandry techniques, including: crop rotation, pest management, co-planting, food security and production.
- Health/Child Development/Social Work volunteers share knowledge, deliver training and development, and up-skill locals on topics such as: menstruation, sexual and reproductive health, family planning, infant and child nutrition, positive parenting practices and child protection issues.
- Education volunteers work alongside local teachers to deliver material and develop curriculum, whilst contributing to capacity development of local staff.
- Commerce/Computer/IT volunteers spend time with local staff, micro-economic self help groups, and secondary high school children to enhance their education and technical office skills.
Community members are consulted and get involved with and contribute towards the physical labor and design process. All participants will be expected to spend time sharing knowledge and education with locals to ensure the sustainability of our projects. Development Together assists by providing most of the necessary financial funding required to complete these projects.
During the internship, participants are supported by the Development Together Australian team and our local partners in Uganda who provide introductions to local people and facilitate community engagement, along with the necessary technical support.
If you would like to get involved in one of our projects in Uganda, visit our website at: https://developmenttogether.com/location/uganda/ or email us at https://developmenttogether.com/contact/
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.