As we say hello to April, Global Service Corps staff, volunteers and community participants in Tanzania welcome in the beloved rains. Historically, Tanzania’s rainy season was more predictable and transformed arid fields into lush, productive farms. However, lack of rain and water is a growing problem. With the global climate becoming increasingly inconsistent, Tanzanian families are even more vulnerable to food scarcity, malnutrition, poverty and disease, making our community development programs in Sustainable Agriculture and HIV/ AIDS Prevention Education more important than ever.
Since 2001, GSC has been working in Tanzania to empower vulnerable communities to improve their livelihoods through sustainable agriculture and health education using local and international resources. International volunteer participants and study abroad students partake in life changing service-learning experiences where they work alongside local experts and professionals on grant supported international development programs. We are thrilled to have received recognition and funding from Partners for Development/USDA, Mennonite Central Committee/Canadian Foodgrains Bank, and Fintrac to continue strengthening our relationships with communities in Tanzania. Since the birth of our Tanzania program, Global Service Corps’ projects have evolved and adapted to create a sustainable model for change. And today, we are excited about the projects in place. So what are our amazing volunteer participants, study abroad students and staff members up to these days?
In the arena of sustainable agriculture, we have been leading community workshops in the construction and maintenance of household Keyhole Gardens, nurseries and rainwater catchment systems called hafirs. Keyhole Garden technology taught by GSC offers an incredible and accessible method for Tanzanian families to grow organic vegetables at home. The structures are built using existing resources making them available to communities at little or no cost. Keyhole Gardens enable people to sustain a garden in otherwise unfavorable conditions by:
• Maximizing water retention
• Recycling grey water & food scraps in a compost center core
• Using organic and Bio-Intensive Agriculture techniques to restore soil fertility
Hafirs are low-cost, household rainwater catchment systems that help to alleviate some of the profound repercussions of drought. By taking advantage of the heavy rains during the wet seasons, one hafir can collect up to 2,770 gallons (10,500 liters) of rainwater runoff. By teaching and assisting in the construction of this simple technology, GSC is helping families to create at home water sources. Hafirs can then be used to water crops between rains instead of women and children having to trek long distances to reach the vital resource.
When it comes to combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Tanzania, we believe education, awareness and empowerment are the most effective tools for lowering the rate of infection. This is why GSC staff and volunteer participants provide HIV/AIDS prevention and nutrition trainings to students and community members. HIV/AIDS is often considered a culturally taboo subject, which results in high levels of misinformation and misconceptions that increases individual risk of infection. GSC trainings seek to:
• Provide comprehensive HIV/AIDS education
• Decrease the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS
• Create an environment where people are comfortable discussing sensitive topics
• Empower individuals to make healthy lifestyle choices
Participants in our 9 week or more Integrated Service Learning Programs and 15 week Semester Program have the opportunity to concentrate in one of these two service areas or combine both service areas in their program.
Our individual actions are becoming increasingly interconnected and we have the opportunity to build mutually supportive relationships that strive to bring about positive change. Join GSC staff, community members we serve, and other service-learning volunteer and student participants to help bring about these changes.
Rebuilding Civil Society in Cambodia
As a volunteer in Cambodia, you’ll be met with unending warmth, generosity and kindness – a national character that has endured through decades of brutal civil war and genocide. From 1975-1979, the Khmer Rouge genocide purged the country of intellectuals and leaders from all sectors of civil society, causing severe damage to Cambodian governance. In recent years, Cambodia has experienced relative stability, yet a slow recovery from its marred history. By participating on a GSC service-learning volunteer or semester program, you will be part of this movement toward advancing health, prosperity and growth for the people of Cambodia. Central to Cambodia’s national culture is its deep-rooted belief in Buddhism, which colors all aspects of Khmer life.
GSC’s Buddhist Immersion Program gives participants the opportunity to experience this rich culture firsthand by learning and living alongside the monks at our host wats (monasteries). In addition, participants will provide much-needed English training at local schools and to monks when available. While the quality of health is rising in Cambodia, the general public still remains largely uninformed about sanitation, nutrition and basic healthcare principles. Participants in the International Health Program will lead public health workshops on subjects ranging from hygiene to domestic violence. Volunteers will assist in fostering a healthy, informed and empowered generation by acting as educators and role models to slum populations around Phnom Penh.
GSC’s Orphanage Care Program allows volunteers to work with a rural Phnom Penh children’s center to provide care and support to HIV+ youth, as well as young people who have lost their parents to AIDS. As a participant, you will have the flexibility to organize a variety of youth activities according to your passions and talents. In the past, volunteers have taught basketball, art, dance and other subjects to the excited, curious kids at the children’s center. Through this program, volunteers will serve as role models and teachers for Khmer young people, working to ensure brighter and better futures for their generation. The HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Program includes providing HIV/AIDS prevention workshops in the International Health Program and service in the Orphanage Care Program.
For many people in developing countries, learning English opens up a world of opportunity. However, Cambodia remains as having the worst English literacy rate in Southeast Asia, with little infrastructure to provide this much-needed education. Volunteering with the Teach English Abroad Program allows participants to teach basic and conversational English, while taking part in improving the life outcomes of needy young people. GSC is also developing Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Workshops. Volunteers with an interest in this subject may have the opportunity to foster the growth of promising, ethical Khmer leaders by training young people to develop their EQ. Through this growth, Khmer youth will be better equipped to serve as self-aware leaders with strong conflict resolution abilities. Volunteer Participants in programs of at least three weeks have the opportunity to combine two or more of these programs into the Cambodia Integrated Service Program.
Join GSC staff, community members we serve, and other service-learning volunteer and semester students to help advance the health, prosperity and growth of the Cambodia people.
Join GSC in Cambodia or Tanzania for your Service-Learning Semester Program of a Lifetime
Embark on a unique educational opportunity with Global Service Corps! Built on 20 years of experience providing service-learning programs in Africa and Asia, GSC offers 15-week, 15 credit semester study abroad programs in Cambodia and Tanzania. Nine credit summer sessions are also available.
In collaboration with the State University of New York (SUNY) and Pāññāsastra University of Cambodia (PUC), GSC’s 15-credit Cambodia Semester Program focuses on social development in post-conflict societies, Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Buddhism, and supporting the Cambodian NGO and civil society. This program combines an intensive three-week foundations course, nine weeks of field work, and a final three-week Capstone project.
Also in collaboration with SUNY, GSC’s 15-credit Tanzania Semester Program, students will receive orientation and classroom training, providing a foundation in African Culture, Food Security, Nutrition, Service-Learning, HIV/AIDS and Community Development. Students will then complete nine weeks of field work, followed by the final three weeks working on the Service-Learning Capstone Course.
Start planning now for YOUR experience of a lifetime while serving and earning credit while studying abroad!
Here’s what some of our returned students have to say:
Pat L--It’s hard to believe that this time last year I was getting ready to leave for Tanzania, and I find myself wishing I was able to do it all over again this spring… I really cannot say enough about how amazing this experience was. From my host family, to the staff, to the opportunities to work with Tanzanians in rural and urban communities everything about my 15 weeks was amazing. Tanzania has become one of my favorite places on Earth, and will hold a special place in my heart from here on out. I loved my trip to Tanzania, and without a doubt would do it again in a heartbeat.
Francine W--My overall experience in Cambodia was life-changing to say the least. Most importantly, I learned a lot about myself and I think that was mostly due to the cultural immersion. I admire so many parts of the culture and try to use what I have learned in my daily life.
Kathryn P--My most memorable experience in Cambodia was not one moment but made up from many small moments, riding in a tuk tuk through Phnom Penh at night and seeing all the city lights, the first time you see eight pigs and four people on one moto, someone’s smile when you can order an iced coffee in Khmer, when a monk makes a joke that is funny across languages, cultures, and religions, your house-mom remembering that you like mangos and cutting one up for you – the list could go on and on.
Interested in joining Global Service Corps as an international service-learning volunteer or study abroad student? Check out our website and apply today!
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