Go Travel and Talk’s featured Organisation of the month is about connecting each other with the inspiration we need to EXPLORE, SHARE and IMPACT. The purpose of this monthly feature is to showcase organisations who are out in the world making a positive impact and to empower each other to get involved. By joining the Go Travel and Talk community and learning from one another through sharing our insights and experiences, we believe that TOGETHER we can positively shape the future of travel.
Go Travel and Talk's 'Organisation of the Month' June 2019 goes to GIVE Volunteers.
GIVE is an incredible organisation that connects volunteers with projects abroad throughout Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Tanzania, and Nicaragua. They are built on a foundation of sustainable development, social impact, and global citizenship, championing sustainable and meaningful change.
If only there were more volunteer organisations like GIVE Volunteers! Their sustainable development experiences offer something completely unique, where the impact is ongoing and long lasting; transforming not only the lives of the volunteers, but of the communities they work alongside too. Their projects drive lasting change across Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Tanzania and Nicaragua. You could get involved in:
Helping improve infrastructure
Increasing educational opportunities
Implementing fresh water systems
GIVE offer a platform and means for volunteers and communities to work together, breaking down cultural barriers through immersive experience, promoting incredible personal growth and empowering communities. But what we really love about Give is that, unlike other volunteer programs, Give actively encourage volunteers to stay involved long after the experience ends. This means that the volunteers have the opportunity and education to become lifelong global citizens and goodwill ambassadors, inspiring future generations to come on sustainable and meaningful change.
GIVE began in 2011, bringing three volunteer groups to build a vocational school out of plastic bottle bricks in a rural fishing village of Jiquilillo, Nicaragua. Our founder, Jake Allison, was a young experienced traveler who knew the personal growth opportunities that come from travel and also what positive impact it can bring to marginalized communities when done right. After several years of witnessing the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly sides of the volunteer tourism industry, he ultimately determined that there is real potential for volunteer travel to have a positive impact around the world, but it would require a fresh, focused approach to truly foster sustainable change.
This experience inspired him to establish a volunteer organization that had a foundation in sustainable development, social impact, and global citizenship.
And GIVE Volunteers was born.
Fast forward to present time, we are now partnering with communities in five countries: Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Tanzania, and Nicaragua. We've proudly grown to the point that every location has projects operated by trained local guides who work on the ground year-round, creating positive change in their own community. We've now had thousands of volunteers empowered by their GIVE experience and we're motivated to keep growing opportunities for community partnerships worldwide.
In terms of volunteer tourism, we believe positive impact will only exist long-term if local leadership is involved in the commitment of sustainable change. In order to truly inspire growth and achieve sustainable travel internationally, GIVE has adopted the asset-based community development (ABCD) model which is a set of proven best practices in sustainable development that mobilizes a community’s own assets and resources as the basis for development.
In contrast to the traditional needs-based development model which focuses on local problems and relies on outside agencies for help, asset-based community development is a principle of international sustainable travel that emphasizes existing strengths and potentials within a community and empowers its members to take action.
When identifying projects, we first assess the resources, skills, and knowledge already available in a community, unite the community around issues that inspire its members to act. Then we work alongside local leaders to form a plan of action to yield a positive impact. GIVE’s ultimate goal is:
for our host communities to take full responsibility of our international volunteer projects as soon as possible.
This is a process that we discuss and educate our volunteers on during their trip through nightly group discussions.
Through providing hands-on and eye-opening learning experiences that foster authentic connections between volunteers and host community members, we are able to empower global citizens who will continue to spread GIVE’s values and ignite sustainable change worldwide.
As valuable as GIVE’s projects on the ground may be, they are just tiny drops in a vast ocean of global inequality. GIVE has become a powerful catalyst in activating thousands of global citizens across the planet. These people will become the next generation of social entrepreneurs, parents, community leaders, educators and so much more – working together to end extreme poverty and uplift every member of the human race.
We wholeheartedly believe in the power of an immersive travel experience to break-down stereotypes and encourage a globally-minded lifestyle while returning home.
Positive impact is more than what happens on a two-week volunteer trip.
Real impact comes from the local leadership to sustain these initiatives when GIVE is not there.
And when our volunteer return home, we encourage them to continue that ripple effect of positive impact with their own personal skills in their own communities. To make sure they are equipped and confident to be global leaders, we spend a lot of time educating our volunteers throughout their journey with us.
Before they depart for their trip, their volunteer guides provide them with educational resources like videos, articles, and book recommendations so that they can arrive in their host country with foundational knowledge of sustainability practices and country history.
When the volunteers are in-country with us, their guides facilitate nightly group discussions to build context and add perspective in what projects they are participating in within their cultural setting. In order for them to go home and educate others about these sustainable practices, it's important for the volunteers to understand their own impact and how they can apply it to their daily lives moving forward.
We are big fans of what Go Travel and Talk promotes.
This platform can support GIVE's mission by continuing to educate travelers on how to be mindful tourists.
We believe very much in the influential experience of our trips, but above all, we hope everyone can take the opportunity to travel to unknown places, stretch their comfort zone, and learn through experiences outside the borders of their own country.
If we all start to recognize that we are a connected global community, we all would care a little more about how our daily actions impact the world.