Posts Tagged ‘community building’

African Solutions to African Problems

One of the toughest truths about international charity work is the fact that outsiders, often necessary to get a project off the ground, infuse a community with money and energy, and bring important attention to a problem, can also be misguided even with the very best intentions. Not every community wants a school where we might see fit to build one for them. Perhaps electricity being brought into a village will damage the community infrastructure. There are too many examples of beautiful and inspired plans to help that create a whole new set of troubles for a receiving community. The only way to be effective with certainty is to have projects be generated from within the community, and then find creative ways to fulfill them. That’s one of the things I love about the mission of ASAP (African Solutions for African Problems). Their model and commitment is intuitive and sensitive to community needs, even when energized from outside. Their website states it best:

African Solutions to African Problems (ASAP)

Child with baby strapped on African Solutions to African Problems (ASAP) supports community-based organizations of women caring for orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS.

We are currently working with 6 pioneer community-based organizations made of up 585 women supporting 8500 orphans and vulnerable children in more than 112 community Drop-In and Daycare centres in impoverished communities in South Africa.

Etafeni playgroup project A key aspect of ASAP support is to provide capacity-building interventions that help the groups to develop their organisations, improve their services and attain their own development goals.

ASAP has demonstrated that grassroots organizations and their social networks of women are capable of scaling up and replicating effective models of care for orphans and vulnerable children.

Family standing outside rondavel Based on practical experience, ASAP has developed a unique 7-year Model of community-based intervention that builds the capacity of emerging groups to develop into mature organizations with a community network to care for the majority of orphans and vulnerable in their community.

ASAP is expanding our model to a further 6 community-based organizations. By allowing them to develop their own models of care, in conjunction with training, gardens and regular onsite capacity building visits, these organisations and their networks of women will reach an additional 12,000.

High School Volunteer Abroad Programs

It’s prom season and closing in on summer break for the high school crowd. Sure there’ll be some well-earned downtime at the lake or beach or just in the backyard, but that’s good for an initial break… to avoid the seasonal ennui that gets teens mired in bad re-runs on TV or computer games or lost afternoons at the mall, maybe a volunteer program abroad is the answer.

I would’ve jumped through rings of fire for an opportunity like these instead of summers working the drive-thru window at Carl’s Jr.

Projects Abroad has a plethora of 2-week service trips focused specifically for high school kids.

“By participating in any of Projects Abroad’s programs, students experience the fulfillment of making a difference, while also gaining skills that will impress professors and future employers,” said Projects Abroad’s Executive Vice President Thomas Pastorius, Jr. “Our summer programs are designed to maximize a volunteer’s time in the destination, with a healthy mix of work and sightseeing excursions that give a well-rounded view of the local culture and community.”

Two-Week High School Programs

Projects Abroad’s two-week programs for high school students are designed to provide valuable work experience or help develop a particular skill. The basic program involves two weeks for work and a weekend tourism excursion. Projects are available in the areas of Care, Conservation & Environment, Community, Journalism, Law & Human Rights, Medicine & Healthcare, Sports, Teaching and Veterinary Medicine.

Spanish & Turtle Conservation in Mexico – Volunteers are located at the Campamento Tecoman biological station on the Pacific Coast where they receive up to four hours of Spanish instruction a day. In the evenings they help count, collect and bury eggs of the rare Olive Ridley turtle in a safe location, then help release the newborns into the sea. Volunteers can also look after injured adult turtles, be involved with crocodile conservation work and study wildlife in the local lagoon. Sessions are June 27-July 10, July 18-31 and August 8-21.

Care & Community Projects in Ghana – Volunteers will work at an orphanage or help renovate a local school and arrange activities for children of the community. Weekend excursions include the Kakum Rainforest Reserve and Cape Coast’s slave fort. Sessions take place June 27-July 10, July 18-31 and August 1-14.

Inca Projects & Archaeology in Peru – Volunteers begin in Cusco with an introduction to the history of the Inca Empire, then head to the small Andean village of Huyro to help uncover Inca structures with local archaeologists. During the weekend they will visit the archaeological wonders of Machu Picchu and other ruins, explore markets, and can also white water raft down the Urubamba River. Sessions are available June 27-July 10, July 18-31 and August 1-14.

Community Building in South Africa – Volunteers help members of the impoverished community of Mfuleni build better quality homes. They live with local host families, and on the weekend will visit Table Mountain and Cape Point National Park or even have an opportunity to go whale watching at Hermanus. Sessions take place July 11-July 24 and August 1-14.

For a complete list of Projects Abroad’s special two-week high-school programs and session dates go to For details on all Projects Abroad destinations and programs visit