Voluntourism, a form of tourism in which travelers participate in voluntary work such as building schools, planting gardens, or visiting children at orphanages, is a booming industry. Billions of dollars are spent annually to enable millions of volunteers to travel around the world with the goal of making a difference.
Unfortunately, good intentions can lead to bad outcomes. Some organizations permit untrained and unvetted volunteers to teach children, allow fences to be left unpainted for months so that volunteers will have something to do when they arrive, or encourage unskilled volunteers to construct buildings (even if it means that local workers will have to fix the project after the volunteers leave).
While we understand that many people want to “get their hands dirty,” the principle of empowering local people to create change in their own communities is fundamental to Global Partners. Accordingly, we never take volunteers to East Africa to do work that can be done by local people.
What You Should Expect From A Trip With Global Partners
Global Partners has relentlessly pursued long-term solutions to the needs facing East African communities for 40 years. Since the beginning, we have been committed to impactful, sustainable, locally led initiatives. Our trips offer a chance to see the impact of our work and experience local people developing and managing projects first hand.
Our trips aim to educate our travelers. We hope that people who travel with us not only see how we partner with local people but have a chance to learn from them as well. Travelers may, for example, learn how to make bead jewelry or roast a goat from a member of one of our partner communities, gain consensus building skills from our facilitators, or learn about wildlife from a local expert.
We also encourage our travelers to keep a journal. Journaling enables travelers to reflect on what they see and learn in East Africa and think critically about how to translate their experience into positive action after returning home.
The Swahili word ‘safari’ means journey, and our trips offer the chance to experience nature’s ultimate journeys. Whether you set out on a trek through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, one of the richest ecosystems in Africa and home to approximately 340 mountain gorillas, search for the Big Five in the Ngorongoro Crater, the largest intact caldera in the world, or experience the stunning beauty of one of East Africa’s numerous other wildlife destinations, traveling with Global Partners is sure to offer the adventure of a lifetime.
Integrity is a key element of our work. Our policies and procedures were developed with the intention of providing scaffolding for integrity through consumer-driven projects, expert-driven methods, and a commitment to transparency among all stakeholders.
Global Partners has a very active Board of Directors that is constantly striving to deliver the most effective new services and fine tune existing initiatives. The Board of Directors, in partnership with our staff and local partners, make up a network of experts in various fields that provide timely input on research-driven project methodologies, management techniques, financial transparency, and the latest in engineering practices for the highest levels of quality and cost-effectiveness in international development work.
“I saw new teachers that were smiling and proud of what they’d accomplished and children all dressed in their uniforms. I saw a beautiful school building. I was very moved.”
I’ve been a long time advocate for Global Partners for Development. They achieved meaningful and sustainable results through their partnerships with the people of East Africa – grassroots, down-to-earth tangible results!