We received many wonderful nominations and the selection committee has chosen five finalists, listed here in alphabetical order. Throughout the month of May 2013, GoAbroad will highlight the finalists in each of the GoAbroad Innovation Award categories! Winners for each category will be announced during the GoAbroad Reception during the Annual NAFSA Conference & Expo.
Congratulations to the 2013 Innovative New Program Volunteer Abroad Finalists!
Described by Jane Goodall as ‘the most wonderful place on earth’, Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage in Zambia is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world, and home to African Impact’s Chimpanzee and Wildlife Orphan Care Project.
Chimfunshi gives refuge to over 100 chimps rescued from the bush meat trade, circuses, zoos and bars (where they are chained up for entertainment and inadequately cared for). In partnership with Chimfunshi, African Impact runs a volunteer program on the banks of the Kafue River in Northern Zambia to help rehabilitate and conserve rescued chimps.
Volunteers assist in important primate research, behavioural enrichment activities for the chimps, farming, building and refurbishing enclosures and conservation education for the local community. The creation of chimp identikits has also been used for our ‘Chimp of the Week’ posts on our Facebook page where we share with followers the history and personality of one chimp every week; and the kits are essential for research and keeping visiting tourists informed.
The newest innovation to be carried out on this project is the introduction of fruit-tree farming to aid self-sufficiency and sustainability. Exotic fruits such as mangos, avocados and guavas are well loved by the chimps, and the indigenous trees such as Monkey oranges and Fig trees are propagated from bush cuttings in the vicinity. Produce is organically grown and the carbon footprint greatly reduced by green farming practices and elimination of need for transport. Fruit scraps are used to re-fertilize the soil for next planting. Fruits and vegetables not used to feed the chimps are sold to raise further funds for the sanctuary.
The volunteer program at Chimfunshi has grown steadily with over 1,300 volunteer hours accumulated in 2012 alone; and a continued focus on new innovations and ideas for long term sustainability.
Conversation Corps Argentina
Travel for less. The program is designed to provide plenty of time to experience the Argentinean culture. Do you want to learn Spanish or brush up on your language skills? If available near your placement, GeoVisions will provide assistance in identifying suitable language lessons. Language classes are optional and at your additional expense. Conversation Corps volunteers are typically placed in the Cordoba region.
This program also focuses on cultural exchange and host families are not only excited to learn English but also love to share the characteristics of their country, culture and cuisine.
International Volunteer HQ
One of IVHQ’s newest program destinations, there are a wide range of volunteering projects in Sri Lanka, including Childcare, Teaching, Elderly Care, Temple Renovation, Medical and Turtle Conservation.
The IVHQ Sri Lanka volunteer program is based in the sacred city of Kandy, with projects based in and around the city. The Turtle Conservation project is based in Ambalangoda. Through the renovation of Buddhist temples, this project offers a unique opportunity for volunteers to learn about manual Sri Lankan construction methods, without the aid of machinery.
Volunteers on the Renovation project also have the opportunity to gain a greater appreciation of the Sri Lankan culture through interacting with villagers and children, to whom the temples hold great significance. Volunteer efforts will be focused on repainting and cleaning the temples, assisting with the construction of temples and helping the temples establish community centers for the youth of the village.
Volunteers begin their trip exploring the remnants of Cambodia’s turbulent past with a trip to the S-21 Genocide Museum and the infamous Killing Fields. This interactive morning introduces participants to the country’s complex history and gives a solid cultural and historical base before journeying deep into the countryside. After lunch we’ll hop in our private vans and head north to the town of Battambang where we will depart for life on the water and family.
Hop aboard Rustic Pathways’ own Cambodian Riverboat and spend the week traveling on an amazing stretch of water that runs from the town of Battambang, along the great Tonle Sap Lake, all the way to Siem Reap. This is one wild ride through the heart of Cambodia. Prepare to witness extreme poverty and tremendous joy as our boat shows up in these rarely visited floating villages.
While the Cambodians that live on the rivers are able to catch enough food to survive, the children that grow up in these communities often have no access to toys, materials or outside stimulus. When our brightly colored boat comes through kids quickly spread the word that we’re in town. Invite them aboard and play some games, blend up some fruit shakes, get the karaoke machine going, organize art classes and English workshops, and at the end of each stop give away the pencils, pens, paper and crayons that they’ve been using.
Rabat, which means “fortified palace” in Arabic, is the capital and third largest city of Morocco. It sits on the Atlantic Ocean and Bou Regreg River, and on the opposite shore of the city of Sale. Rabat is Morocco’s Royal City – it is the seat of the Royal Family – and is known as the “Washington of North Africa”, because of its green parks, wide boulevards, monuments, embassies and government buildings. Rabat exudes the richness of Moroccan culture in a calm and refined manner. Its medina is well preserved, and its array of small businesses ranging from coffee shops to leather merchants to vegetable stands impressive. Rabat’s newer neighborhoods are also welcoming and highlight the country’s modernization.
However, Rabat is plagued by Morocco’s striking economic disparity between the poor and rich. Unemployment is an issue, especially for the dissatisfied young. Social services like education and healthcare are also lacking for the poorest, and for them there is little hope of breaking the poverty cycle. In Rabat there are numerous opportunities available to you, including working with local women, teaching and caring for children.
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