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 Beyond the basics of traditional education

Education can take many forms. Limiting ourselves to the one we receive in the traditional school system would also restrain our progress and development capabilities. We have much more to learn and understand to become responsible and prolific citizens of the world.

 

 

Education and training in regards to volunteering are often underestimated yet crucial elements for the success of the projects. At the Take 10 Volunteer programme we take learning as a priority and our Development Instructors in training undergo a process of learning by doing in many areas that boost their confidence, abilities, and help them understand the world better.

Learning for People · Planet · Prosperity · Peace

During the preparation period of the Take 10 Volunteer programme, we aim to complement and build-up on the education of traditional schools and provide something valuable that is missing. Paying attention to important topics such as global affairs, political science, economic development, planet protection amongst others is of fundamental importance to make sure our society is moving in the right direction and getting the necessary knowledge to protect the planet and understand the roots of modern world issues.

In this blog post we will focus on how the training of volunteers at the Take 10 Volunteer programme is related to the topic of 2020’s International Day of Education – “Learning for People, Planet, Prosperity & Peace”.

 

People: Who am I exactly?

A lot has been said about understanding yourself in recent years – self-development, strengths, weaknesses, etc. – important qualities for individuals without a doubt.

It is unavoidable that participants in the Take 10 Volunteer programme undergo a self-reflective period where they learn more about their true selves and often discover the capacity of their own potential, passion, as well as weak points and vulnerabilities. This is an amazing process with an even better result, however, during the training period of our programme, a lot of focus is put around people on a different aspect and context.

 

People: Leaving our ego behind

The most important thing that participants understand during this time is the volunteering is not about them – the projects are community-lead and aim to bring value to those involved. This means the work will be focused on the biggest and most urgent needs. No matter how knowledgeable and skilled volunteers believe they are, the community’s population knows best what to prioritize.

Anna Gudarowska, an ex-volunteer who spent six months on a project in Belize, shares her own experience in the book The Law of The Jungle. She tells an illustrative story of a volunteer team that immediately assumed they know what needs to be done and started doing the tasks they saw as beneficial. Furthermore, they were not trained or prepared to do the type of work they undertook – construction. After they “did the job” people from the community had to go redo it the right way.

There are several important factors worth mentioning (and remembering) here. Firsts of all, the volunteers did not consult the community about the jobs they need the most help with and acted on their own. Apart from that, they decided to do something which they were not qualified for – this in itself brings more harm than it does good and creates even more work for the people at the project.

People: Acknowledge and respect differences

A good start is to remember that cultural difference is a real thing and it can severely affect communication and cooperation. Not everyone around the world shares the same traditions and habits as you – having this in mind and respecting it is essential.

However, it is not enough to be aware of this phenomenon. It is crucial to make an effort to understand the culture and mindset of people in the country you are visiting. Especially if the purpose is to work with those people and achieve positive development together. Acknowledging and respecting differences (of any kind) can reduce unnecessary tension and ease the process in a great way.

People: Potential and true power

There is also the very important aspect of people’s power. Volunteers learn what they are capable of achieving and how much potential they actually have. This goes not only for them but for everyone involved in the project – the most important learning is that each and every person is able to accomplish big things and has a voice to express views and believes.

People often underestimate their own abilities and capacities. They live oppressed without the chance to explore their true potential and believe they cannot do something just because they never had the chance to try and learn how to do it.

Planet: Beyond the obvious facts

The effects of pollution and climate change are obvious to everyone. However, we believe education in regards to a sustainable lifestyle and development is a key factor in improving the situation. Being aware of what is happening is the first step, however, the decisive element is taking action against it and doing it consistently.

We try to implement an eco-friendly approach in all areas of community life. Apart from the obvious recycling, minimum use of plastic, and overconsumption we have several other methods we encourage our community to follow. Teachers and staff at the training centers put a lot of effort into reducing food waste as much as possible. Organic gardens are part of each center as well and contribute to the fresh, homegrown ingredients in the menu.

The volunteers in training are also introduced ways of making safe, nature-friendly soap and cleaning materials – something our January 2020 team is very eager about.

This type of education also extends to not so known facts, for example, that the communities that contribute less to pollution and global warming suffer the biggest consequences. Mozambique and Malawi have to endure devastating floods while Zambia is tortured by draught – none of those countries are near the biggest polluters but they take the most damage.

Prosperity: Self-reliance – the key for independence  

The education in this aspect goes in-depth in historical materialism and teaches participants about it as a tool to uncover how capitalism works. Learning from the past and understanding how it has shaped the present is a process that builds-up awareness and helps tackle issues of modern society.

A part of the education during the training period is also dedicated to the comprehension of means and tools of self-reliance. Self-reliance is an important building block of prosperity – people who have the means to economically support themselves are less dependent on external factors or negative conditions. That knowledge is later solidified during the project period – volunteers are taught about the benefits of small-scale farming and income-generating activities that can support individuals and families.

Furthermore, they can see how farmers implement this knowledge and change their lives for the better. Benedito Joaquim – a member of ADPP Mozambique’s Farmers’ Club shares that the project helped him get economic independence and stability. Since he became a member in 2014 Benedito has learned how to successfully produce vegetables, use line planting, prepare composts, and collect a satisfying harvest. This provided food for him and his family as well as income generated from the excess produce.

An important take away is that the key to prosperity lies in each and every individual – everyone has the capacities to prosper and progress as well as the right mindset and tools are utilized.

Peace: Which way to go to get there?

Peace is the ultimate goal that we strive to achieve but it is not an easy one. In an attempt to at least understand how to get there eventually one very important topic we tackle is conflict resolution.

Volunteers encounter many conflicts, problems, and difficult situations and are thought how to address them and improve their decision-making in practical action. They are encouraged to leave their assumptions behind and learn how to listen and respect others successfully by putting themselves in their shoes.

The problem in our world is not the existence of conflicts and disagreements, it is the lack of will and effort to work towards a way to solve them in a satisfying manner for all sides.

Another aspect of the education connected to peace is the understanding of the effects of colonialism in the present. Examples include the current situation in Mozambique – colonialism effects have not entirely shaken off and the Civil War (1977-1992) consequence in the mindset and attitude of people are still strongly present. On the other hand, the lack of wars in Malawi and Zambia has led to more stable development and overall situation – those factors are critical if we want to walk towards a peaceful world.

A long road tackled with an open mind

The training prospective volunteers undertake at one of the learning centres aims at providing a solid knowledge and experience base from which the volunteers can act, together, to become respectful and useful allies of marginalised communities.

Deepening our understanding of the plight of ordinary people – anywhere in the world – is not a project we ever finish. Or at least it shouldn’t be – on the contrary, we should always seek out new learning and understanding of people and, not least, our planet.

It is one of the best ways to cope with the obvious crises our planet is facing. We need to act, in a concerted effort with others, In this process, the skills and ideas of many people are needed. Also, if you start to involve yourself in these transformative processes, you will also transform yourself. This is a most beneficial side effect. Your will become a more skilled and effective and rounded person who is ready to tackle even greater problems. An individual, capable of the collective – ready to act.

Education when Volunteering: Take 10 Volunteer

Training of Take 10 Volunteers

The training during the first period of the Take 10 Volunteer programme consists of group and individual activities – lectures, studies, discussions, investigations, and field work. The topics covered during those intensive three months of preparation aim to supplement and sometimes challenge the traditional schooling system. The modules include global affairs, political science, international and economic development, eco-literacy, volunteer ethics, event management, project skills, planet protection and more.

The training period is a training in all aspects – your mind, your skills and your personality.

~ Leyre, Take 10 September 2019 Team

This experience completely opened my eyes to how privileged we are in Europe, but also how much we can use this privilege to make an impact – as long as we work as equals, side by side.

~ Greta, Teacher at DRH Lindersvold

Farmers Clubs by ADPP Mozambique

Read more about how Farmers’ Clubs in Mozambique improve farming activities

You learn how to live with more people – make decisions, teamwork, the history of the world, colonialism, economy. It’s like I am back to university but in a community

~ Alvaro, Chile

We have learned a lot including that we are capable of learning and doing. And that’s important because now we are going to the project with the mindset that we can find out how to do things and learn properly.

~ Alazne, Take 10 Volunteer September 2019 Team

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Education when Volunteering: Take 10 Volunteer

Education can take many forms. Limiting ourselves to the one we receive in the traditional school system would also restrain our progress and development capabilities. We have much more to learn and understand to become responsible and prolific citizens of the world.

Education and training in regards to volunteering are often underestimated yet crucial elements for the success of the projects. At the Take 10 Volunteer programme we take learning as a priority and our Development Instructors in training undergo a process of learning by doing in many areas that boost their confidence, abilities, and help them understand the world better.

Education at Take 10 Volunteer

The education during the first period of the Take 10 Volunteer programme consists of group and individual activities – lectures, studies, discussions, investigations, and field work. The topics covered during those three months of preparation aim to add-up to the traditional schooling system and include global affairs, political science, international and economic development, eco-literacy, volunteer ethics, and planet protection.

Learn by doing

During the preparation period of the Take 10 Volunteer programme, we aim to complement and build-up on the education of traditional schools and provide something valuable that is missing. Paying attention to important topics such as global affairs, political science, economic development, planet protection amongst others is of fundamental importance to make sure our society is moving in the right direction and getting the necessary knowledge to protect the planet and understand the roots of modern world issues.

Here is how the training of volunteers at the Take 10 Volunteer programme is related to the topic of 2020’s International Day of Education– People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace.

 

People: Who are you exactly?

A lot has been said about understanding yourself in recent years – self-development, strengths, weaknesses, etc. – important qualities for individuals without a doubt.

It is unavoidable that participants in the Take 10 Volunteer programme undergo a self-reflective period where they learn more about their true selves and often discover the capacity of their own potential, passion, as well as weak points and vulnerabilities. This is an amazing process with an even better result, however, during the training period of our programme, a lot of focus is put around people on a different aspect and context.

 

Leyre, Take 10 Volunteer September 2019 Team

People: Leaving our ego behind

The most important thing that participants understand during this time is the volunteering is not about them – the projects are community-lead and aim to bring value to those involved. This means the work will be focused on the biggest and most urgent needs. No matter how knowledgeable and skilled volunteers believe they are, the community’s population knows best what to prioritize.

Anna Gudarowska, an ex-volunteer who spent six months on a project in Belize, shares her own experience in the book The Law of The Jungle. She tells an illustrative story of a volunteer team that immediately assumed they know what needs to be done and started doing the tasks they saw as beneficial. Furthermore, they were not trained or prepared to do the type of work they undertook – construction. After they “did the job” people from the community had to go redo it the right way.

There are several important factors worth mentioning (and remembering) here. Firsts of all, the volunteers did not consult the community about the jobs they need the most help with and acted on their own. Apart from that, they decided to do something which they were not qualified for – this in itself brings more harm than it does good and creates even more work for the people at the project.

The Law of the Jungle book by Anna Gudarowska

People: Acknowledge and respect differences

A good start is to remember that cultural difference is a real thing and it can severely affect communication and cooperation. Not everyone around the world shares the same traditions and habits as you – having this in mind and respecting it is essential.

However, it is not enough to be aware of this phenomenon. It is crucial to make an effort to understand the culture and mindset of people in the country you are visiting. Especially if the purpose is to work with those people and achieve positive development together. Acknowledging and respecting differences (of any kind) can reduce unnecessary tension and ease the process in a great way.

People: Potential and true power

There is also the very important aspect of people’s power. Volunteers learn what they are capable of achieving and how much potential they actually have. This goes not only for them but for everyone involved in the project – the most important learning is that each and every person is able to accomplish big things and has a voice to express views and believes.

People often underestimate their own abilities and capacities. They live oppressed without the chance to explore their true potential and believe they cannot do something just because they never had the chance to try and learn how to do it.

This experience completely opened my eyes to how privileged we are in Europe, but also how much we can use this privilege to make an impact – as long as we work as equals, side by side.

~ Greta, Teacher at DRH Lindersvold

Planet: Beyond the obvious facts

The effects of pollution and climate change are obvious to everyone. However, we believe education in regards to a sustainable lifestyle and development is a key factor in improving the situation. Being aware of what is happening is the first step, however, the decisive element is taking action against it and doing it consistently.

We try to implement an eco-friendly approach in all areas of community life. Apart from the obvious recycling, minimum use of plastic, and overconsumption we have several other methods we encourage our community to follow. Teachers and staff at the training centers put a lot of effort into reducing food waste as much as possible. Organic gardens are part of each center as well and contribute to the fresh, homegrown ingredients in the menu.

The volunteers in training are also introduced ways of making safe, nature-friendly soap and cleaning materials – something our January 2020 team is very eager about.

This type of education also extends to not so known facts, for example, that the communities that contribute less to pollution and global warming suffer the biggest consequences. Mozambique and Malawi have to endure devastating floods while Zambia is tortured by draught – none of those countries are near the biggest polluters but they take the most damage.

Farmers Clubs by ADPP Mozambique

Read more about how Farmers’ Clubs in Mozambique improve farming activities

Prosperity: Self-reliance – the key for independence  

The education in this aspect goes in-depth in historical materialism and teaches participants about it as a tool to uncover how capitalism works. Learning from the past and understanding how it has shaped the present is a process that builds-up awareness and helps tackle issues of modern society.

A part of the education during the training period is also dedicated to the comprehension of means and tools of self-reliance. Self-reliance is an important building block of prosperity – people who have the means to economically support themselves are less dependent on external factors or negative conditions. That knowledge is later solidified during the project period – volunteers are taught about the benefits of small-scale farming and income-generating activities that can support individuals and families.

Furthermore, they can see how farmers implement this knowledge and change their lives for the better. Benedito Joaquim – a member of ADPP Mozambique’s Farmers’ Club shares that the project helped him get economic independence and stability. Since he became a member in 2014 Benedito has learned how to successfully produce vegetables, use line planting, prepare composts, and collect a satisfying harvest. This provided food for him and his family as well as income generated from the excess produce.

An important take away is that the key to prosperity lies in each and every individual – everyone has the capacities to prosper and progress as well as the right mindset and tools are utilized.

You learn how to live with more people – make decisions, teamwork, the history of the world, colonialism, economy. It’s like I am back to university but in a community

~ Alvaro, Chile

Peace: Which way to go to get there?

Peace is the ultimate goal that we strive to achieve but it is not an easy one. In an attempt to at least understand how to get there eventually one very important topic we tackle is conflict resolution.

Volunteers encounter many conflicts, problems, and difficult situations and are thought how to address them and improve their decision-making in practical action. They are encouraged to leave their assumptions behind and learn how to listen and respect others successfully by putting themselves in their shoes.

The problem in our world is not the existence of conflicts and disagreements, it is the lack of will and effort to work towards a way to solve them in a satisfying manner for all sides.

Another aspect of the education connected to peace is the understanding of the effects of colonialism in the present. Examples include the current situation in Mozambique – colonialism effects have not entirely shaken off and the Civil War (1977-1992) consequence in the mindset and attitude of people are still strongly present. On the other hand, the lack of wars in Malawi and Zambia has led to more stable development and overall situation – those factors are critical if we want to walk towards a peaceful world.

We have learned a lot including that we are capable of learning and doing. And that’s important because now we are going to the project with the mindset that we can find out how to do things and learn properly

~ Alazne, Take 10 Volunteer September 2019 Team

A long road tackled with an open mind

The training prospective volunteers undertake at one of the learning centres aims at providing a solid knowledge and experience base from which the volunteers can act, together, to become respectful and useful allies of marginalised communities.

Deepening our understanding of the plight of ordinary people – anywhere in the world – is not a project we ever finish. Or at least it shouldn’t be – on the contrary, we should always seek out new learning and understanding of people and, not least, our planet.

It is one of the best ways to cope with the obvious crises our planet is facing. We need to act, in a concerted effort with others, In this process, the skills and ideas of many people are needed. Also, if you start to involve yourself in these transformative processes, you will also transform yourself. This is a most beneficial side effect. Your will become a more skilled and effective and rounded person who is ready to tackle even greater problems. An individual, capable of the collective – ready to act.