Our Responsible Volunteering Approach
At EDGE of AFRICA we are proud of our motto: Volunteering, done right!
We are committed to providing responsible volunteer projects which have been developed alongside the local community. Our aim is not to provide programs for volunteers, but to use the many skills our volunteers have, to better our programs. We constantly evaluate our projects, to make sure that we have a continuing positive impact and are meeting our goals.
What we do
- Focus on empowerment of local communities through education and support – we do not simply hand-out funds and goods, as we do not believe this is a sustainable approach
- Encourage and assist locals to become self-sufficient through skills transfer and business empowerment opportunities
- Work alongside specialists and local leaders to develop meaningful projects that truly benefit the local community
- Keep detailed records of our achievements and continually assess our impact to ensure that we are keeping in line with the our goals
- Provide thorough training and resources for our volunteers to give you the tools you need to help us meet our project goals
- Work with valid conservation and research institutions to develop meaningful environmental projects
- Encourage respect for the natural world through education and by providing opportunities for locals to experience first hand the wonders of nature
- Encourage cultural exchange and ensure that our volunteers gain an understanding of local culture and traditions
What we DON'T do
- Support captive breeding projects, such as lion breeding projects that have no genuine conservation value and breed animals simply for tourism purposes
- Create meaningless projects simply to attract volunteers. – All of our projects are ethical and sustainable and you can rest assured that your contribution will make a tangible difference to our communities and wildlife
- Drop you off and leave you on a project with no direction. – You will always have the support of our permanent team members who will ensure that you have a clear understanding of our project goals.
- Take advantage of poverty or local communities for profit. – the financial contributions of volunteers directly benefit the local community by funding our ongoing projects; and our volunteers work hand in hand with locals to achieve our project goals.
- Establish projects where the short-term presence of volunteers could be damaging, for example we do not work with vulnerable children (in orphanages or similar situations.)
- Take away jobs from locals. – Our volunteers are not filling paid employment opportunities, they are working alongside local people to provide additional support; and by supporting our organisation you are also enabling us to provide paid employment for local people as part of our core team (e.g. project co-ordinators, accommodation managers etc.)
Our community projects aim to empower local children and adults through education, food security, sports coaching and support workshops. We aspire to make a difference to the lives we touch and provide opportunities that are otherwise not available.
With a global decrease of biodiversity, we are passionate about preserving Africa’s natural habitat. Our conservation projects aim to restore the biodiversity of ecosystems and monitor terrestrial and marine habitats.
Why Should I Volunteer?
Volunteering is not for everyone, but it should be! It is one of the best ways to see a country’s true culture and experience the lifestyle first hand.
- Responsible Volunteering will also give you a great sense of personal gain. Many people can only dream of working in underprivileged communities and inspiring young children, or trekking for gorillas through thick jungle and much more!
- You can always give a donation or support an organisation from afar, but the sense of getting first hand experience of where your donation is going, and being part of the organisation’s development is priceless!
- Volunteering also does wonders for your resume and life experience! Employers are beginning to look at experience and motivation more and more, and not everyone chooses to volunteer abroad, so you will already be a step ahead of your peers!
Responsible volunteering: How we operate
It is very important to us that when we have no volunteers, our projects are still ticking over. Obviously we don’t get nearly as much done, but we do try to stick to our objectives.
Each project from simply planting and maintaining vegetable gardens, conducting ongoing research or as big as building a school, has to adhere to the EDGE of AFRICA project ethos of empowerment and restoration.
At any time you can see how well we are doing with a project you have contributed towards and of course you will be part of a legacy, which will have a lasting impact on the wildlife and communities of Africa.