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