|By Tyson Neukirch (126.96.36.199) on Monday, July 09, 2007 - 8:35 am: Edit Post
Hello. My name is Tyson Neukirch and I am the Program Development Director for Volunteer Adventure Corps (www.vacorps.com), a South African company that works with university students from all over the world who are looking to further develop their professional experience through internship opportunities in Cape Town. We work to place interns in both for profit and not for profit corporations and some of our current partners include The Cape Town Refugee Center, Economists Allied for Arms Reduction (ECAAR), and the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. The guiding principal behind our work to connect highly talented and motivated students with positions that offer professional and personal growth through meaningful work that also benefits the company or organization in which they are placed; simply we aim to promote mutually beneficial experiential learning.
I am writing you because we are in the process of developing a sister program in Mozambique. Our primary objective is to develop partnerships with NGOs and CBOs that are working to effect meaningful and sustainable change in the communities wherein they operate. As is all too often the case, international exchange programs, whether short or long term, volunteer or paid, fail to connect qualified individuals with the types of organizations that are truly engaged in meaningful work. The result is an experience that, while often advantageous to the personal and professional development of the volunteer, can have a negative aggregate impact on the organization and its stakeholders. Conversely, there are those individuals and organizations whose symbiotic relationship acts as a catalyst for profound growth and development at the individual, organizational, and community level. In my many years of service in the non-profit sector in Mozambique, Angola, South Africa, Guatemala, and the USA, I have witnessed and personally experienced these two extremes. As such, it is my most sincere intention to develop a program that is able to facilitate the later and avoid the former.
We are in currently in the preliminary stages of this endeavor and I am simply trying to gain as much insight and information as possible regarding potential project partners and contacts. My NGO experience in Mozambique is limited to Chimoio and Lamego, where in 2005 I worked to facilitate the implementation of a grant from the Gaia Foundation and the UNDP to develop a series of community development and education initiatives that incorporated Jatropha production, sustainable agriculture and water systems, and primary school gardens and medicinal plant nurseries. As a returned Peace Corps Volunteer I am sure that the breadth and depth of your Mozambique experience is far greater than mine. I would be deeply appreciative of any contact information, organization names, or ideas you would be willing to send my way.
To give you a better idea of the basic elements of the program we are looking to develop, it would include the following: 6 week internship, individual placement based on organizational needs and the individual skill sets of the intern, lodging and meals, on-site support from VACorps field staff, ground transportation to and from capetown, and orientation programming. As with all of our programs, the interns would have to complete a rigorous application process followed by an extended series of interviews to create to best match organization and intern. Given the relatively short time duration of the program, there would be a Portuguese language prerequisite equivalent to two years of university study. Furthermore, I will be working actively with the partner organizations to elucidate the skill sets and areas of expertise that would be most advantageous to promoting organizational growth and development.
As someone whose life was forever changed by my experience living and working in Mozambique, I hope to develop a program that can stimulate similar processes of growth and development for others. That said, my greatest commitment is to ensure that the partnerships created through the program honestly benefit the partner NGOs, CBOs, and their stakeholders. The beauty of this project is that if the conditions are right for such a program to take root, then we will go ahead in bringing it to fruition. If not, then we will wait until the soil is fertile with solid partnerships and a viable programmatic infrastructure.
I would like to thank you sincerely for your time. I hope to hear from you and, in all honesty, I welcome any input, ideas and criticisms that you are willing to share. I will be in Mozambique during the later part of July and the entirety of August, investigating potential project partners. As of now, I will be focusing my efforts in Inhambane, Chimoio, and the Beira corridor, but will be adapting these arrangements as I continue to hear back from my ever-expanding contacts both within and outside of the country.
Program Development Director
Volunteer Adventure Corps
1st Floor, Building 20
Waverley Business Park
Kotzee Rd., Mowbray 7700
Cape Town, South Africa
|By Rui Jorge Fernando Santos (cdc-25-242.cdcmz.org - 188.8.131.52) on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 - 10:20 am: Edit Post
My name is Rui Jorge Fernando Santos, actually i don't have a University degree i am looking to finish the high school (Adult learning) and then enter to the university. I would like to work as a volunteer in your organization. No matter what is the position, i like to help those in need. If you have a place for me please email me back.