Welcome to Volunteer Action for Peace!
Volunteer Action for Peace (VAP) is a UK based charity organisation which works towards creating and preserving international peace, justice and human solidarity for people and their communities. Through a range of working projects both in the United Kingdom and around the world, VAP provides volunteers with opportunities to work together with people from around the globe and in partnership with local groups to enhance and empower communities.
VAP currently operates through a network of partner organisations in more than 80 countries worldwide, meaning that you can combine taking part in a rewarding voluntary project and an exciting cultural exchange with your travel experience of a lifetime!
You can select a project from our range of short term Workcamp opportunities (2-4 weeks), Medium Term Volunteering (2-6 months) and Long Term Volunteering (6+ months) or as an EVS volunteer on a fully funded scheme.
So, if you’re looking for a life-changing experience; are interested in volunteering; are taking a gap year or would like to learn new skills then look no further!
Photo : Helen Bull / KVDA Kenya
All the fun of a volunteer workcamp – with extra Brownie points!
Volunteer Action for Peace is currently offering three camp coordinator positions for short-term volunteer projects in the UK coming up this spring and early summer. This is a great way to get involved in international voluntary work and meet people from all over the world without even leaving the country. That can make it cheaper for you (in fact, all travel costs are paid by VAP) and require less of a time commitment – but still means you can take part in meaningful voluntary work in an exciting international environment.
You’ll get to participate in all the activities that the camp involves, including the work and the social side – meanwhile, you’ll also be the team’s central point of contact, contribute as much as possible to making sure the group is getting on okay, and take a leading role in any decisions. It’s a workcamp adventure without the participation fee, and at the end you are sure to have gained new skills and can always use the experience for bonus points on your CV and for those tricky “responsibility” and “problem-solving” questions in job interviews! Read on to find out which projects we are now recruiting for:
The first is at the Quadrangle Trust in Shoreham, Kent from 29 April to 8 May. Housed in a farm built in 1870, The Quadrangle Trust is a non-profit enterprise that runs art, wellbeing, ecology and sustainability education programmes and workshops. The VAP workcamp will bring 7 international volunteers to work on clearing a small area of woodland to create an extra space for camping and to protect the trees. As well as this task, there will be a programme including documentary films and discussions, swimming in the river, Scottish dancing, and a one-day visit to London.
Next up is the Green Earth Awakening festival camp, which will be held from 14 to 29 May. This Buddhist festival for up to 2,000 people is focused on environmental and sustainability issues, while the camp itself also includes setting up the festival and disassembling when it’s over. There will be plenty of organised activities here too, including green crafts, yoga, dance and discussion on social change. The VAP team will consist of 12 international volunteers.
A further upcoming project is at “Taraloka” Buddhist women retreat in Shropshire from 19 June to 3 July. This is an all-women retreat and the workcamp will involve learning about Buddhism and meditation as well as taking part in daily life and maintenance at the retreat centre. The international volunteer team will be made up of 12 participants from all over the world. Not to be missed!
To find out more or to sign up for experiencing international workcamp volunteering in the UK as a camp coordinator for VAP, please contact Nuno at action[at]vap.org.uk!
posted on: 12 February 2015
UK projects – ideas welcome!
VAP is always on the lookout for new ideas to expand our programme of workcamps in the UK. This is your chance to shape the work that VAP does – and all you need is to give us your ideas!
If you are a UK-based VAP member who has participated in a project abroad or are applying to do so in the future, the chances are that you are also interested in projects on similar themes in the UK as well. So here is our question for you – do you know of any organisations in the UK that would benefit from the support of a group of international volunteers for a week or more? It might be an organisation you are already involved with yourself, or one that you have simply heard about and think might fit the bill. The only important thing at this stage is the idea! We’ll then get in touch with the organisation you suggest and see if we can develop a project there.
For inspiration, you can have a look at the organisations we organised workcamps with this year, such as the environmental conservation foundation London Wildlife Trust: http://www.wildlondon.org.uk/volunteer and the Othona peace and sustainability community: http://www.othona-bradwell.org.uk/Home. Or you could refresh your memory of VAP’s mission statement to see which issues we focus on: http://www.vap.org.uk/about-vap/. From supporting refugees to environmental work and projects with disabled people – we just want to make the world a better place!
Let us know your ideas on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Volunteer-Action-for-Peace/193838147321030?fref=ts. This is an exciting and easy way to get involved in where VAP concentrates its work and resources and could really help important UK charities and other organisations – don’t miss this opportunity!
posted on: 21 October 2014
VAP in Seoul with CCIVS
Volunteer Action for Peace is currently represented at the 33rd General Assembly and General Conference of CCIVS, the Coordination Committee for International Voluntary Service, which is taking place in South Korea. Paul Winter, our former chairman and current member of VAP’s International Working Group is our man in Seoul!
posted on: 16 October 2014
A move in the right direction
At September’s executive committee meeting, an important decision about VAP’s volunteer exchanges was made: we will no longer be treating “standard” volunteer programmes (in Europe, North America and other so-called “developed” areas) differently from what we used to call “North-South” programmes (in “developing” countries). All projects will now be presented in the same category.
This is a significant step for a whole host of reasons. For one thing, it addresses a long-standing inaccuracy in terminology that can simply cause confusion – it clearly isn’t even the case that all developed countries are in the “North” while all developing countries, still recovering from centuries of colonisation and exploitation, are in the “South”. But more importantly, the change shows that we at VAP want to move away from the idea that our projects should be divided in such a binary way between “poor” and “rich” locations at all. Of course, we are well aware that it is a fact that the situation in terms of poverty, health, education and oppression is better in some parts of the world than others. However, the committee’s discussion on this topic concluded that, as there is progress to be made all over the planet, it is better to consider these issues as being on an equal footing, rather than to perpetuate the assumption that the “North” and “South” are fundamentally different.
The other exciting effect of this decision is that volunteers placed on all projects will now be able to take part in the training that VAP offers. This opportunity was initially only available to North-South volunteers and those placed on longer-term projects. Extending training to all volunteers is another demonstration of the fact that it is just as important to prepare for a volunteer project in Iceland or Spain as it is to prepare for one in Kenya or Peru.
So there you have it: VAP has made a crucial, progressive change in its attitude towards categorising its global volunteer work. Let us know what you think about this decision on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Volunteer-Action-for-Peace/193838147321030?fref=ts
In any case, this certainly shows that committee meetings don’t have to just be about boring facts and figures!
posted on: 9 October 2014