While volunteers from outside our community and overseas have played an important role, our aim is to help build an empowered local community, transformed by the people who live here. Local people have the most at stake and the most to contribute in bringing about social change in their communities. They live and cope with the challenges, and have the time and relationships that are essential to true development.
Real transformation is a long-term process of empowering leaders. Local people, equipped to be leaders, use their knowledge and relationships to positively affect their communities in ways that outsiders could not. We don’t want to weaken local initiative and create dependency on outsiders, or have visitors do for people what they can do themselves.
Community development is hard work that requires cultural insight, resilience and flexibility, along with some helpful skills. It’s not easy to affect deep-rooted local issues as a short-term volunteer. It takes time to develop an understanding and relevant skills to make a difference.
Our goal is for volunteers to serve the vision of Seed of Hope: Working Together to Build Thriving Communities. To maximize the benefits for both short-term volunteers and locals, we’ve put careful thought into the way visitors engage with our work. Volunteer visitors assist us in 3 ways:
1. Training and Equipping Seed of Hope Staff
Individuals or groups of 1-4 people (usually 1-3 weeks) who are invited by SOH to assist with staff training and development, or helping develop other resources (grief/abuse counsellor training, video production, etc.). Because our programs are locally-led, the key contribution of these volunteers is equipping the organization with skills and tools to be more effective. We consider applicants who are experienced trainers or who bring unique technical skills and resources to meet strategic needs in the organization.
2. Intern for 3-12 months
Individuals or couples who help with a specific task or function within SOH that requires specialized skills (curriculum development, social work, proposal-writing, marketing, project management, etc.). These volunteers help grow our organisational capacity and function, and are the unsung heroes supporting the work of local staff. Due to limited volunteer management time, they must be able to work semi- independently to contribute to SOH’s goals. Minimum requirements are an undergraduate degree or equivalent training, previous/ongoing relevant volunteer experience, an interview process to determine suitability and financial means to support themselves while in South Africa. A South African visa may be required.
3. Learn and Financially Support
Groups of 4-8 short-term visitors (typically 2 weeks) seeking a better understanding of holistic community development and poverty alleviation. SOH seeks long-term partnerships with individuals, churches and organizations who share our vision of impacting communities through raising up local leaders. As such, we give priority to groups that make an on-going financial or material commitment to our programs. Learning through exposure to SOH’s staff and ministries, readings, discussion and other activities is a major component of the group’s time on the ground with us.
Our prayer is that after reviewing the options available through Seed of Hope and prayerfully considering whether God is stirring you to get involved, we can work together to discover how He is leading you, or your church/organization. We also trust that your time with us will spark growth and transformation in the vision you have for your own community, wherever that may be!
Please contact us at email@example.com if we can be of assistance in applying to serve at Seed of Hope and preparing for your visit.