Volunteer Capital Centre (VCC)

Welcome to the Volunteer Capital Centre

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Volunteering abroad and Universities

Many students want to volunteer or intern and travel abroad. They would like to take up their sense of adventure and visit different parts of the world. The main problem is that most students are either in college, university, high school or are about to join the said institutions. Being in the higher learning institutions means they don’t have much time left to leave the country. Also during their holidays they don’t have the money to travel the world. Most students opt to take a gap year so that they have time to travel and see the world. Unfortunately not everyone has that luxury to take a year off school for adventure seeking. They are normally limited by time and if they are to take a year off this would have negative effects on their academic studies.

There are many higher learning institutions that encourage their students to travel abroad. The institutions know that learning is not only done on campus grounds and more realistic life skills are gotten outside class rooms and lecture theatres. They have setup their own abroad programs where their students have the opportunities to study with their partner universities for a semester or two. They have partnered with various institutions in different parts of the world that have the same course work with theirs to allow students to participate in study abroad programs. Although, there are some institutions that don’t have any study abroad programs and in this case students are allowed to look for abroad opportunities by themselves. One way students do this is by being a volunteer abroad and they could earn an academic credit for it. As such they can do their volunteer work, travel and continue with their education.

As stated earlier not all schools have a study abroad, or an elective abroad program and the students who are interested in doing this should contact their faculty heads to know how to go about it. If the faculty advisers are agreeable, they would want to know which organization the student is planning to volunteer with. The faculty would require to know the history, mission and objectives of the organization. More importantly they would need to know about the program the student is involving themselves in. The program should be relevant to the course requirements and it should be a service learning project that will help achieve academic and career goals. The students should also emphasize the benefits of studying abroad to ensure they are allowed to do so. When the faculty advisor agrees the student should work with him/ her to come up with learning objectives, and a course proposal; how to keep contact with the student throughout the project in order to guide and evaluate progress; finally, how to award the grade and credit for the project.

Medical students benefit tremendously from volunteer medical programs. Although there is much to be studied in books, there are some diseases that do not occur in that particular area and as such the students are better placed in learning abroad. For example medical students in temperate areas, will learn a lot if they go and volunteer in tropical areas as they will get first had experience in tropical diseases. Lastly, research students are also likely to benefit from volunteer abroad programs. As this will give them the opportunity to collect data first hand and see the results of their research. They should also confer with their faculty advisors to make sure everything is above board. Care should be taken when engaging organizations to organize volunteer work, interning abroad and research as some of them are not legitimate.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Volunteer abroad testimonials

Jeanette Weisflog USA, - Kenya

"Although my time in Nairobi was short lived in that I was only there for one week, VCC made it possible for me to have one of the most amazing, challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.
The VCC team was absolutely reliable and I was able to volunteer at a local orphanage during my week of stay. The logistics and planning was taken care of to the fullest extent and the Nairobi director Zaby and I spoke on a daily basis about how my days at the orphanage had went! I would definitely recommend this organization to others who may be searching for a volunteer experience in Kenya, but are unsure about which NGO to go through to organize it! Thank you VCC.- Jeanette"

Kelly Scottland – Kenya

"I had an absolutely fantastic time in Nairobi. It is some "unlife like" place i dream about virtually every day. It has shaped my values and beliefs and turned me into a more assertive person. I have developed stronger views on trivial everyday things that I didn’t give much thought before the trip. I also feel that, because Kenya is the furthest I’ve been on a plane, the world has opened up for me, and anywhere seems accessible in the future. "

Mike UK – Kenya

There are many things that I can take back from my experience in Kenya. I have never had a job where I felt more appreciated than while I worked. Kenyans themselves are fiercely proud of their culture and history, with their own unique language, food, calendar, time, and holidays. The people also show a great deal of respect and camaraderie with one another. It has been a pleasure immersing myself in Ethiopian culture, (especially over round after round of delicious coffee!) and I am looking forward to seeing all my new friends very soon.

Mrs Jones, Kevin Jones' mother (Kenya Volunteer)

“Many thanks for your assistance in making this a smooth process. It is always a worry …more so for us as parents than for Kevin himself!! And you have always answered our queries quickly and efficiently”.

Laura Buck (USA) Nairobi, Kenya
Laura is back from Nairobi. She had a fantastic time. This trip turned out better than I had ever hoped for. We can't thank you enough for all your help. What a great organization Volunteer Capital Centre is! The orphanage wrote a beautiful letter to Laura at the end of her stay thanking her for her contributions. We were really touched by his gratitude and sincerity. Laura plans on staying in touch with him and trying to help the kids. She belongs to a club at her high school that exists solely to raise money for charitable organizations. Laura can't wait to show them pictures of the orphanage and the awesome kids she got a chance to work with.

Sandra Rzeszutko (USA) Kenya

I thoroughly enjoyed the program and was received and taken care of with open arms and prompt contact when needed. Kenya is a wonderful country, I enjoyed the weather immensely and was impressed with the beautiful scenery and wonderful people. My host family was perfect; I grew to care for them all very deeply and hope to see them again someday. Culturally, I found the small town I lived in to be lacking in modern technology such as running water (we used a well) and that few people had refrigerators. I must confess I had doubts about being able to cope, but within 24 hours I was totally comfortable, due mostly to my host family and the town residents. Everyone was friendly and I was greeted by all. Despite originally visiting Kenya for wildlife, I must say I was most impressed with the people of Langata. They are extremely hard working, very proud and considerate of others. I was humbled by how few amenities they had yet they live contented in what I considered to be hardship. I learned to love seeing simple things like women hand washing clothes, carrying babies on their back and old men gathered for a game of checkers. My next visit will be people oriented (women’s issues, orphaned)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wild life conservation projects in Kenya

The Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization situated in Kenya’s Laikipia district adjacent to Nanyuki town. The Conservancy is East Africa’s Largest Black Rhino Sanctuary, the only place in Kenya to see chimpanzees and holds some of the highest predator densities in Kenya. It is a mosaic of grass plains, wooded grassland, Acacia woodland and evergreen thicket extending for over 350 square kilometers. It boasts an astounding variety of animals including the endangered black and white rhino, leopard, elephant, buffalo & lion. The combination of amazing wildlife and stunning views across the open plains guarantees an unforgettable volunteer experience.

Your volunteer work will include:

1. Working with Rhinos

The population of black rhino in Africa plummeted from an estimated 65,000 to around 10,000 in the early 1980s. By 2001, the total African population was estimated at 3,100. In Kenya alone, the population dropped from 20,000 to less than 300 due to illegal killing for rhino horns. At present, there are an estimated 620 black rhino in Kenya, and more than 85 of them live on the Conservancy as the flagship species. In response to the drastic reduction in rhino numbers through poaching, Kenya decided to set up specially protected and fenced sanctuaries for rhino conservation.

2. Work with Chimpanzees

The Conservancy has rescued chimpanzees from Burundi, during the civil war in the country, as well as other parts of west and central Africa, and the Middle East. During your stay on the Conservancy you will be given the opportunity to learn about chimpanzees, as well as viewing them in their vast natural enclosures. Chimpanzees living in the Sanctuary are carefully nursed back to health so they can enjoy the rest of their days in peace. The animals live in two large groups separated by the Ewaso Nyiro River.

3. Working with lions

A number of lions on The Conservancy are fitted with lion-tracking collars, which enable the researchers to keep track of their whereabouts. Visitors are given the opportunity to accompany our research teams to radio track our lion prides across the Conservancy.

4. Working with The Ecological Monitoring Department (EMD)

EMD aims to identify and monitor the key variables necessary to maintain healthy trends in both habitat and animal species. Consequently, the EMD sets appropriate threshold levels for key animal and habitat variables, changes in which act as early warning systems. Whenever threshold levels are exceeded, either management intervention is recommended or third party researchers are engaged to study the underlying reason for change.

For more information go to http://volunteercapitalcentre.org