Volunteer Capital Centre (VCC)

Welcome to the Volunteer Capital Centre

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Volunteering Abroad and Your Information

There is a lot about volunteering people don’t know or rather assume they know. For anyone who is interested in participating and helping people who are abroad there are a couple of titbits that they should know. Many volunteers would like to go abroad and when they start planning they find themselves hugely disappointed. As they assumed or had different views to what volunteering abroad really entails. This article is to shed a little light about volunteering abroad and some information that you should know before embarking to do it. Although, there is a lot that one should know; here are the most important things to know:

What every volunteer would like to know is the cost of volunteering. There are certain things that are fixed while others vary depending on the options that you have. The costs that you can’t avoid as you are volunteering abroad are Visa fees, airplane tickets; and vaccination. Other costs vary as it depends how you are volunteering abroad i.e. either through an organization or you are doing it independently. If you decide to go to through an organization the fees are also divided into two, as there are some that cater for all your upkeep abroad and you won't pay anything extra; while there are others that would require you to pay them to volunteer abroad. The things that you pay for are accommodation; meals; transportation to and fro the volunteer project. If you are going through an organization it’s important to know what you are paying for.

Your safety comes on top of the list. Many people think that going to a third world country is not safe. There are certain dispositions that make people think of how unsafe a certain country is due to the news they have watched. Most countries are very safe and if one is involved in a volunteer program their safety is doubly ensured as the volunteers are normally placed in safe environments. If the volunteer is going to work in poorer parts of the city, most programs have measures in place to make sure the volunteer is safe while they work. In most cases there is usually a member of staff assigned to the volunteer to ensure safety and general wellbeing of the volunteers. In addition, you as a volunteer should try to keep yourself safe by: avoiding risky situations; not carrying expensive jewellery; avoid walking alone in the night; and following your instincts.

Another thing that a first time volunteer should consider is the vaccinations that they would require for the trip. Some countries do not allow visitors in if they don’t have proof of vaccination. When choosing which vaccination to get one should consider the following: the country(s) you are visiting; date of travel; where you will be staying; what you will be doing during your stay; length of visit; and prevalence of certain diseases. All this information can be gotten by a visit to your general practitioner or nurse and they will tell what you should take before you leave for the desired country. There are common diseases in which you should be vaccinated against i.e. Hepatitis, tetanus, yellow fever, typhoid and cholera. One should also be aware of certain epidemics like flus and try to avoid them.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Volunteering Abroad And Your Career

Volunteering essential is an altruistic endeavour where by you as the volunteer help out people by giving out your time as well as your skills towards a common goal. This works well as that is the main purpose of volunteering. Although there are also hidden benefits where by you will benefit from volunteering, especially if you choose to go abroad and do it there. There are advantages of volunteering abroad are exploring new places, learning new cultures, travel; and many others. In addition to these there are benefits that help you and your career, these are:

If you are in high school or you an undergraduate volunteering abroad gives a better chance to getting into colleges, universities and graduate schools. Many universities and colleges get many applicants who would like to enrol in their institutions. With all the applications that are sent to them, they are usually swamped with too many of them. This makes choosing students to enrol in their school to be difficult. As such they look for something extra the applicants have or have done to make them a worthy candidate. The students who have volunteered abroad are usually picked over those ones who haven’t, having one foot inside the door. This also applies to guys who are looking for a job. Many multinationals and fortune 5000 companies prefer hiring someone who has worldwide experience.

Volunteering abroad gives you as the volunteer actual working experience that could be applied in your job. Volunteering sometimes involves working in an office or in certain fields that the volunteer is able to learn and apply practical experience they had learned either in class or in lecture halls. Volunteer work prepares you for life in the corporate world. It also provides you with extensive training in a certain field. This work experience is rewarded by some universities by them giving academic credits to volunteers.

In addition, volunteering abroad can provide a job to you. There have situations where volunteers have gone abroad to work in various charities and they have proved to be such a great asset that they are hired to be part of the permanent staff. Many not for profit organizations are looking for people who could work for them and provide great service to them. When you volunteer for them they see you as someone of value and since you already know how they work they can choose to hire you. They would avoid the extra expense of advertising and holding interviews if they have people who are already working for them on a voluntary basis.

Networking is an added benefit to volunteering abroad. The volunteer would be able to form friendships from different parts of the world and this can be a useful asset. These friends are a great resource especially when they are recommending them for you for a job position available in their home countries. Friendships formed while abroad are great as they could be used on a professional basis and they help especially in making business deals and agreements.

There are other more benefits out there for volunteering abroad, while it helps people it can also used as a means of improving the volunteers’ personal and professional lives.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Vervet monkey

 The term "Vervet" is also used to refer to all the members of the genus Chlorocebus. The five distinct subspecies can be found mostly throughout Southern Africa, as well as some of the eastern countries. Vervets were transported to the islands of Barbados, Saint Kitts, and Nevis in conjunction with the African slave trade. These mostly vegetarian monkeys have black faces and grey body hair colour, ranging in length from about 19 in (50 cm) for males to about 16 in (40 cm) for females.
In addition to very interesting behavioural research on natural populations, Vervet monkeys serve as a nonhuman primate model for understanding genetic and social behaviours of humans. They have been noted for having human-like characteristics, such as hypertension, anxiety, and social and dependent alcohol use. Vervets live in social groups ranging from 10–50 individuals, with males changing groups at the time of sexual maturity. The most significant studies done on Vervet monkeys involve their communication and alarm calls, specifically in regard to kin and group recognition and particular predator sightings.

Physical description 
The Vervet monkey has a black face with a white fringe of hair, while the overall hair colour is mostly grizzled-grey. The adult male of all species has a pale blue scrotum and a red penis. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism; the males are larger in weight and body length. Adult males weigh between 3.9 and 8.0 kg (8.6 and 18 lb.), averaging 5.5 kg (12 lb.), and have a body length between 420 and 600 mm (17 and 24 in), averaging 490 mm (19 in) from the top of the head to the base of the tail. Adult females weigh between 3.4 and 5.3 kg (7.5 and 12 lb.) and average 4.1 kg (9.0 lb.), and measure between 300 and 495 mm (12 and 19.5 in), averaging 426 mm (16.8 in)

When males reach sexual maturity, they move to a neighbouring group. Often, males will move with a brother or peer, presumably for protection against aggression by males and females of the resident group. Groups that had previously transferred males show significantly less aggression upon the arrival of another male. In almost every case, males migrate to adjacent groups. This obviously increases benefits in regard to distance travelled, but also reduces the amount of genetic variance, increasing the likelihood of inbreeding.
Females remain in their groups throughout life. Separate dominance hierarchies are found for each sex. Male hierarchies are determined by age, tenure in the group, fighting abilities, and allies, while female hierarchies are dependent on maternal social status. A large proportion of interactions occur between individuals which are similarly ranked and closely related. Between unrelated individuals, there is female competition for grooming members of high-ranking families, presumably to gain more access to resources. These observations suggest individual recognition is possible and enables discrimination of genetic relatedness and social status. Interactions between different groups are variable, ranging from highly aggressive to friendly. Furthermore, individuals seem to be able to recognize cross-group vocalizations, and identify from and to which monkey each call is intended, even if the call is made by a sub adult male which is likely to transfer groups. This suggests the members within a group are actively monitoring the activity of other groups, including the movement of individuals within a group.
Within groups, aggression is directed primarily at individuals that are lower on the hierarchy. Once an individual is three years or older, it is considerably more likely to be involved in conflict. Conflict often arises when one group member shows aggression toward a close relative of another. Further, both males and females may redirect aggression towards individuals in which both had close relatives that were previously involved in a conflict. This suggests complex recognition not only of individuals, but also of associations between individuals. This does not suggest recognition of other's individual kinship bonds is possible, but rather that discrimination of social relationships does occur.

 Alarm Calls
Vervet monkeys have four confirmed predators: leopards, eagles, pythons, and baboons. The sighting of each predator elicits an acoustically distinct alarm call. In experimentation with unreliable signallers, individuals became habituated to incorrect calls from a specific individual. Though the response was lessened for a specific predator, if an unreliable individual gives an alarm call for a different predator, group members respond as if the alarm caller is, in fact, reliable. This suggests Vervet monkeys are able to recognize and to respond to not only the individual calling, but also to the semantics of what the individual is communicating.
Mothers can recognize their offspring by a scream alone. A juvenile scream will elicit a reaction from all mothers, yet the juvenile's own mother had a shorter latency in looking in the direction of the scream, as well as an increased duration in her look. Further, mothers have been observed to help their offspring in conflict, yet rarely aided other juveniles. Other mothers evidently can determine to which mother the offspring belongs. Individuals have been observed to look towards the mother whose offspring is creating the scream.

Kin Relationships
Siblings likely provide the prevailing social relationships during development. Within social groups, mother-offspring and sibling interactive units are distinct groups. The sibling interaction are heavily supportive and friendly, but do have some competition. Contests primarily involve post weaning resource allocation by the common mother. For example, siblings have conflict over grooming time allocated by their mother. Offspring are usually not born in extremely close proximity due to the interbirth period of the mother. This time can be reduced by use of an allomother. The clarity of the familial and sibships within a group may act as a form of alliance, which would come at relatively

Monday, April 15, 2013

Deciding to volunteer abroad

Volunteering abroad is an amazing thing to do. Many people want to get up from their home countries to volunteer abroad, not ignoring the people who need help at home but to extend the reach of their services. It’s really an exciting experience for those who to do it as the rewards are amazing. Like everything else in life it is not easy to volunteer abroad because as soon as you decide to do it there is a barrage of information that you are supposed to go through. Also there are pitfalls that one tries to avoid in order to have a pleasurable experience. There are a couple of things that one should look into before they volunteer abroad:

Location is really important as it determines many other factors about volunteering abroad. Picking the right location is also the most difficult as it seems everywhere in the world needs help and the volunteers don’t have enough money to go to all the locations. As such one should look into places where they need most help as well as somewhere they have always wanted to visit. This way apart from helping out they can also fulfil their desire to travel.

There are many volunteers who are touched by a certain cause and would like to be a part of the change while there are others who are not sure where to put their efforts in. the volunteer should soul search in the case they don’t know what they want to do. Also the volunteer project matters a lot as you would want to make sure the program that you are involved in makes a difference in the lives of the local community. Many volunteers sometimes feel that they didn’t put their best effort and time into the program.  In the end they regret why they went abroad. Deciding on what to do should complement the volunteers’ skills or add to it.

When to go abroad is also a deciding factor, many volunteers who are in school, college or University choose to go in the summer as they have 3 months free. There are some who opt for the shorter periods during winter and summer break to travel abroad. Choosing the best time depends on the volunteers’ free time, although one should also consider the time at the volunteer location. The volunteer wouldn’t want to leave home when its summer to find themselves freezing in the winter in places like South Africa. In addition they should try and avoid months when it is heavily raining, monsoon seasons and lastly hurricane seasons. It is sometimes overlooked but in the end it’s a big factor when volunteering abroad.

Lastly choosing a volunteer abroad organization to go with. They are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of volunteer programs which are all over the world and they all provide volunteer abroad programs. When choosing a volunteer organization there are many factors that should be considered, e.g. services offered, costs and the work they do. There are many mainstream organizations that can be found easily on page one of google but they are the ones which are usually the priciest. If the volunteer is on a limited budget they should avoid these ones and take time to research for other affordable organizations which provide the same services.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Convincing Parents to Volunteer Abroad

Volunteering abroad is a full adventure by itself, there is a lot to do and see while abroad. Many teenagers and young adults are the ones who form the bulk of the proportion of people who would like to volunteer abroad. Unfortunately most of them are dependent on their parents for not only financial situations as well morale support. As such when they would like to take a trip abroad they have to get their parents’ permission to do it. Sadly to say many of the potential volunteers do not go abroad because they fail to convince their parents to let them go. Their parents are justified to say no for a number of reasons like safety, price and stability. However, the potential volunteers can change their parents’ minds to let them go by presenting a well formed argument with facts. Parents are genuinely concerned about their children and want the best for them. If they are shown the potential benefits of volunteering abroad outweighs the problems then they will allow it. Here are some reasons potential volunteers could use to convince their parents.
Involving parents from the beginning of the planning process helps a lot as they will feel as they have more control and knowledge of what is going on. In the planning process they will find out about the risks involved, the amount of money that would be needed as well as the benefits of the program. Planning from day one helps because they will not act surprised on the request and will prevent them from giving weak excuses as to why it’s not possible for a volunteer abroad trip. Planning in advance with them also helps to put them in the psychological frame of mind knowing that after a certain period their child would be travelling abroad.
Another way of changing their parent’s minds is through showing an appropriate budget. One of the concerns for parents is that are they able to afford a volunteer abroad trip. As money is need for flight fare, volunteer fees, vaccinations, insurance as well as other items. When the parents see how much is needed they are able to see whether the volunteer program is feasible or not. If it’s too expensive it’s not possible and if it’s too cheap then questions are asked. Also to help in the budget the volunteers can fundraise or get jobs to help pay for the trip. This also eases the burden of the whole program on the parents. If the volunteer has some money the parents will see that he or she is committed to the program and wants to make it happen.
Lastly explaining the importance of volunteering abroad will help change their parent’s minds. There are so many benefits to volunteering abroad other than touring, and helping to the volunteer. One of them are the volunteers matures as they get to see how people in the world are living and become a better person; another advantage is that it looks really good on resume when applying for jobs or schools. This sets them apart from other job seekers who are already out there. Many parents may seem obstinate in the beginning but explaining to them on how volunteering abroad is possible and the benefits that arises from it will help change their minds.

Paying to Volunteer Abroad

Many volunteers grapple with paying to volunteer abroad. They find it hard to understand “if am giving up my time and my energy they should be able to volunteer for free.” The feeling is more aggravated when some volunteer give up their time to make money at work while at the same time they have to folk out more money. Volunteering in essence should be free on such a basis, as the skills the volunteer provide are a great asset to the organization in which they are working in. This should be true more so for people who are volunteering locally. This is mainly because most of the costs involved in international volunteering are covered in advertently by the volunteers themselves e.g. accommodation, food, and support. When one wants to volunteer overseas the dynamics change as there are some costs that volunteer didn’t think of that have to be covered. Unfortunately the organizations in which the volunteers should be working are not able to cover these costs because they don’t have the resources to do so. If they had the resources, they would use the resources to hire local staff to do the work. In order to get volunteers many small organizations partner with multinationals organizations to provide them with volunteers. These multinational volunteer abroad organisations normally charge fees not as commission but to ensure the volunteers are well taken care of during the duration of their stay. As a volunteer who is going abroad these are the things one would be paying for when they leave:
Accommodation and food comes on the list first as this is the most important. A good place to stay puts the volunteers mind at peace as they would they know they will be a foreigner and they would be safe. Many of the volunteer homes are situated in a safe and secure home where there are no threats to the safety of the volunteers. In most cases the money paid goes to covering meals as well although one would not get a five star meal but the volunteer would get food that is suitable for him or her. Most volunteer programs provide 2 or 3 meals for the day and they consider the volunteers dietary concerns.
The biggest chunk of the fees paid is hardly ever seen by the volunteer. This is great because the money goes to emergency procedures. Most volunteers want to have a stress free program while they are working. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen all the time and there are some rare cases where they might be some issues. Issues like the volunteer falling sick, or violence might erupt due to political violence or a natural disaster leading to the volunteer to be evacuated from the host country immediately. The main reason to pay for volunteering is to make sure the volunteer’s wellbeing is taken care of during the program.
One other thing that many volunteers who are reluctant to pay is the amount of research that goes into volunteering. There are many organizations that run programs in the world but many of them are ill equipped and are not efficient, the volunteer might go to a country and find that there is no need for the work that she or he is doing. They might find that they are wasting their time there and being involved in programs that have little impact on the society they are working in.

For more information visit http://www.volunteercapitalcentre.org 

Volunteering Abroad And Airports

Travelling is a lot of fun especially for people who are really into it. There is so much out there that we should see and the thought is exciting. One could choose to visit the Terracotta in Asia, the pyramids in Egypt and a whole lot more. Some travellers combine volunteering with their touring to make more meaning of their journey to see the sites and experience life as a local. With all the travelling that needs to be done, there are certain aspects of it that are not positive. One of the negative aspects are losing your stuff, being lost and waiting at airports. When of the downsides of travelling is queuing at the airports. After a long international flight one thing that many people do not look forward to is waiting in line to be processed. Although there are proactive ways to make to avid the long queues at the airport, here are some of them,
One useful trick is to sit on near the front of the plane. This also includes when one is departing they should be at the airport early in order to get the seats that are nearest to the door. Some people pick different sits for different purposes but choosing a sit at the front means you get to leave the plane first and also be the first one on the immigration queue. The other benefits means collecting luggage is much easier with far less confusion. As one is planning to volunteer abroad for a few weeks or days, one should try to just have hand luggage. The benefits to this is one would have all their possessions with him or her at all times. Meaning one doesn’t have to wait for their luggage to come by at the and also if immigration wants to search your luggage it’s easier for both parties.
One of the ways to avoid long queues is choosing to land at a less busy airport. Airports like Heathrow airport or John F Kennedy airport have many visitors through them and they are bound to have long queues as soon as you arrival. To avoid wasting time on the lines, or cutting your time in half is by choosing to land in an airport that is less buy while at the same time not too far away from your destination. All this can be done before leaving home while you are choosing where you are going to fly to. The smaller airports come in handy as it is much more convenient and there is a less likelihood of losing your luggage due to fewer travellers. Smaller airports come in handy especially when one has to connect with another plane because there won't be another long queue. The only drawback is that they are not as lavish as the larger compatriots.
Lastly dealing with immigration is much easier if one is cooperative. If one is asked any questions they should answer calmly and truthfully. There are some countries that require the travellers to fill out a form, like I-94 for the USA, they should have it done by the time they are at the immigration offices. Also while at the airport, the travellers should look at the signs or ask for directions to know where they are meant to be. There is nothing as bad as queuing in the wrong lines. Lastly, if the travellers should confirm everything that they are told by the immigration officers or the details that they are provided to prevent any problems when they are leaving the country.

For more information on volunteering abroad visit http://www.voluntercapitalcentre.org