Volunteer Abroad > Workcamps (2 to 4 weeks) > North-South Programme
Among our most exciting, challenging and fulfilling projects are those which take place in developing countries. In our work we use the expressions “North” and “South”. The “North” represents the generally rich societies of Eurasia, North America and Australasia. The “South” refers to Africa, Latin America and Asia (with the exception of Japan, Taiwan and South Korea); the so-called “developing countries” which have suffered political, economic and cultural domination by the countries of the North in the last two centuries.
Since the 1960’s VAP and other CCIVS members have been developing the North-South Programme to exchange increasing numbers of people between the regions and also developing reverse South-North and local South-South exchanges. In VAP we have a specialist knowledge of North-South issues.
North-South projects are generally in rural areas where the infrastructure is basic and health risks are high. These projects are recommended for volunteers who have already experienced a workcamp in the “North” or that have travelled or had similar experiences in the “South”. This reduces the double-culture shock of living in a workcamp environment and classic culture shock of adaptation to a new climate and environment.
Unlike the Standard Programme these workcamps will normally be larger with a number of international volunteers from the “North” and a larger number of national volunteers from other parts of the country. Project leaders may or not have received leader training and one can expect in some cases some organisational problems which can delay or reduce the effectiveness of the potential workforce. However the presence of the volunteers is often more important than their labour, the example of solidarity, the chance for people from opposite ends of global society to learn about each other. Therefore we emphasize the importance of interpersonal contact and intercultural exchange over work results.
The projects of the North-South Programme are among the most expensive projects we offer. A budget up to £1,000 needs to be considered. Travel costs make up the majority of the costs and there are normally visa and vaccination costs and additional medical and other equipment. All the partners in the North-South Programme charge a “hosting fee” for your costs on the project and their organisational running costs. This amount can vary between $150-$300, in addition to the placement fee you pay to us. Our partners in the South do not receive any local/national financial support and do not receive outgoing volunteer fees as visa restrictions make sending their volunteers almost impossible.
All volunteers in this programme must attend a North-South Training Weekend prior to departure unless they can convince us that they have sufficient workcamp or related and travel experience. Sometimes this is provided by the hosting organisation, sometimes by us, and sometimes both.
Training is compulsory for countries in the North-South Programme. This is to ensure that you have some psychological and practical preparation for culture shock and other difficulties, and the particular differences of projects in these countries. The training includes more detail about the workcamp movement and North-South programme, development education, fears and expectations, cross cultural awareness, health and safety and travel advice, as well as details about your particular partner and country. Volunteers for this programme should have previous workcamp or other relevant experience, and need to have a high level of motivation. If you feel experienced enough not to need this, please contact us so we can discuss if you fit our exemption criteria.
VAP’s North-South Training in 2014 will happen in the weekend of 13-15 June in Norwich. Please make sure you are free on these dates before you apply. If you cannot make these dates we will try to find alternatives.