Global Volunteers’ leadership has approved a “careful and conscientious” resumption of some service programs in countries that have resumed tourism, and where local pandemic precautions can optimize health and safety. After a very difficult year without volunteer assistance, our community partners are eager to welcome Global Volunteers teams. Register now to join our historic return to grateful communities in the USA and abroad.
As summer blooms, volunteers are invited to return to the Blackfeet Reservation of Montana and the Appalachian communities of Fayette County, West Virginia as well as to Siedlce, Poland, Ventanilla, Peru and the Ukwega Ward of Tanzania. Greece and Italy Programs are expected to resume in the fall as other programs will roll out by the end of the year. Many spots are still open on programs in July, August and September.
Global Volunteers CEO Bud Philbrook called a return to serving children and families as soon as possible “a moral and fiscal imperative.” Because Global Volunteers works primarily in communities with limited or no outside assistance, the essential services volunteers provide greatly enhance local people’s lives.
As the impact of the COVID-19 crisis is assessed around the world, it’s clear the damage is unique in every community, and the suffering is greatest in the most vulnerable societies. The public health needs have devastated economies already strained by deteriorating livelihoods and natural and political crisis. In those communities, children’s and families’ recovery are the slowest, so our earliest return can have the greatest impact.
Had the pandemic not convulsed the globe, the worldwide poverty rate would likely have dropped to 7.9% in 2020, according to the World Bank. But now, extreme poverty is on the rise for the first time in two decades. In early 2020, one in every 45 people around the world was in need of humanitarian assistance. In 2021, that figure is one in every 33, an increase of 40%. Governments alone cannot pull these communities out of distress and away from disaster.
Over time, short-term volunteers can be critical resources in helping bolster local communities’ resilience prior to the inevitable crises, and in helping recovery efforts afterwards. Throughout the world, Global Volunteers strives to build close working relationships with long-term partners to enhance our development impact. Every volunteer builds on this network of service and confidence.
The World Bank further reports that four out of five people below the international poverty line live in rural areas. Half of them are children, and a majority are women. Further, Tanzania is one of the five countries housing nearly half Sub-Saharan Africa’s poor. That’s why since 2018, Global Volunteers’ fastest expanding program has been the Reaching Children’s Potential Program (RCP) in Tanzania. Because of the vast need in these villages, a large percentage of our annual volunteer effort is committed to the RCP Program, and we aim to send six teams in 2021.
The volunteer response to opened programs was swift, and has exceeded expectations. “These are very special volunteers in Global Volunteers’ history – the pioneers who will help us resume and re-establish our broad community relationships after an unprecedented absence,” CEO Philbrook said.
The World Bank research suggests that “the effects of the pandemic will almost certainly be felt in most countries through 2030.” The shock waves will most certainly be felt in “middle income” countries and congested urban settings most affected by lockdowns and mobility restrictions, the site reports. “Without an adequate global response, the cumulative effects of the pandemic and its economic fallout, armed conflict, and climate change will exact high human and economic costs well into the future. History shows that urgent and collective action can help us tackle this crisis.”