ASPECT AFRICA & Voluntourism
Volunteering combined with tourism is a burgeoning market not only in southern Africa but across the globe with some amazing success and some dubious practices across the board.
ASPECT AFRICA sees voluntourism as a bridge which connects an understanding of the potential benefits tourism can bring without the need for 5-star accommodation and amenities to a wider audience in the communities.
Volunteers provide much-needed exposure to community members to the benefits tourism can bring without modern infrastructure and if done in a mutually beneficial and sustainable way it can provide much-needed employment opportunities, boost the local economy and help people visualise the potential benefits of hosting tourists in their areas.
More often than not it’s all good and well that a 5 star lodge will be built to provide employment, but that can take time, this is where community-based and owned voluntourism can open up a rural area, and bring in volunteers who can assist communities in their schools, community, sports clubs and help them develop and refine their tourism products, paving the way for forward.
We firmly believe in the practical benefits of letting people get used to seeing, working and interacting with tourist/volunteers in a rural community thereby creating a pool of potential future guides, office workers, management staff, researchers and entrepreneurs. ASPECT AFRICA understands that there has to be a fine balance between the size of the community/village and the number of volunteers there, as you do not want too many volunteers in one geographical area as people tend to gravitate to each other and so not get the in-depth experience and interaction with the community they should.
By volunteering with us and our host organisation, you will contribute to ecosystems services by supporting rural-based community organisations, by empowering people and making them more resilient. It is vital that rural communities near protected and proclaimed areas are enabled to organise and execute their vision of their futures through the use of their natural materials around them for generations to come.
Get way off the beaten track and join us in the....
Heart of the
Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area
Volunteer placements are rural, very rural, Zimbabwe being EVEN more rural, so you get to experience and feel the rhythms of authentic rural Africa up close and personal.
South Africa: Work with World Parks, World Cup on their sport for social development project and assist in primary schools across 6 villages in the Mutele Tribal Area & Makuleke Tribal Area - bordering the Kruger National Park and Makuya Nature Reserve, near to the Zimbabwe and Mozambique borders. (between 800m to 30 km from the world-famous Kruger National Park)
Zimbabwe: Work with the Malipati Development Trust in primary and secondary schools as well as a sport for social development and education outside the classroom programme whilst staying in the Malipati Communal Area - Bordering Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe’s second biggest reserve at 5,000 sq km and the Malipati Wilderness Area a buffer zone between Gonarezhou and the Malipati Community.
Volunteers can expect: an in-depth cultural experience, assisting teachers in local primary schools in South Africa and primary & secondary schools in Zimbabwe as well as working with the local WPWC’s coordinator in each country on the football for social impact programme as well as help WPWC and the MDT on improving and refining their community programmes.
What is the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area?
The transfrontier conservation area (TFCA) includes a wider area around the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, GLTP, including rural, peri-urban and urban areas in which communities live.
The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) was formally established through an International Treaty signed by the Heads of States for Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe at Xai-Xai, Mozambique in December 2002.
The Transfrontier Park comprises three national parks; Parque Nacional do Limpopo (PNL also known as Limpopo National Park or LNP) in Mozambique, the Kruger National Park (KNP) including the Makuleke Contractual Park in South Africa, and the Gonarezhou National Park (GNP) in Zimbabwe.
It also includes adjoining areas including Manjinji Pan Sanctuary, the Malipati Safari Area and the Sengwe/ Tshipise Wilderness Corridor in Zimbabwe. The GLTP covers a total of 3,577,144 hectares.
Sport for Social Development
Sport for Social Development is a rapidly expanding discipline and ASPECT AFRICA 's partner, WPWC, is very lucky to have been partnered with Coaches Across Continents, who are one of the leading experts in this field, for the past 3 years. Through this partnership, first made by Vince and Friends of Mutale, WPWC has so far trained up 70 local coaches in sport for social development, 1 coach has attended the Michael Johnson Young Leaders Academy in Dallas, Texas and we have implemented the project in 16 primary schools across South Africa and Zimbabwe. The WPWC project is currently impacting on 500+ primary school children.
As part of ASPECT AFRICA partners programme, volunteers will be asked to assist in the planning and implementation of our soccer-based programme with local primary schools and communities; this will happen alongside either the regional volunteer coordinator and or local community coach and takes up to 2 to 3 hours a session. Volunteers will have access to planning material, as well as our online sports planning programme, and curriculums developed with Coaches Across Continents; volunteers are welcome also to use what knowledge and skills they have to enhance the programme.
Volunteers will also be tasked with helping in the organising and implementation of our annual events:
International Women's Day
International Day of Peace
World AIDs day
Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park Championship for community and school teams
International Rangers Day
Universal Child Day
Coaches Across Continents
Coaches Across Continents are a global leader in sport for social impact and education outside the classroom, with 10 years of experience designing, developing and implementing sport for social development curriculums and implementing global change through their Hat-Trick programme, focusing on female empowerment, health and wellbeing as well as child rights. Through Friends of Mutale, the World Parks, World Cup partnership with CAC has enabled schools in Zimbabwe to create the first girls football teams in 4 primary schools and 1 secondary school which came second in a district competition, this partnership has allowed hundreds of children to understand about HIV/AIDs, to talk about gender equality, conservation and poaching.
As part of this volunteer placement, ASPECT AFRICA through WPWC and CAC will make online educational programmes available to volunteers to study and look at before they arrive and then volunteers as part of their orientation will receive practical on-field training with WPWC’s senior coach, Vincent Mudzanani. In addition to this, we ask that volunteers help train a locally identified coach in using Sport Session Planner and help them in completing their CAC online education programme, this will include basic computer training, internet and webinar use. These training programmes have been certified by CAC.
Education, wherever you live on the globe, is one of the most important elements which can lift you out of your current situation and enable you to succeed in life, potentially gain better and more meaningful life experiences. Education enables growth in oneself independently of formal structures and cannot be taken away once you have it, at least you can make an informed decision on how you will use your education/knowledge, for many people across the globe they are not so fortunate.
Within the development world, you hear a lot of talk about 'capacity building', and people not having the 'capacity'.
Why? Very simply put, the lack of capacity is there because there is a lack of formal quality education, where critical thinking takes place, problem-solving happens, and confidence building occurs.
Currently, many students in Southern Africa learn by copying, copying from the board, and their friends or the brighter kid in the class. By the time students have reached secondary school most have not been taught how to 'learn' and struggle in class, unable to read properly and to comprehend textbooks, through no fault of their own but by a failing educational system.
The lack of comprehensive Early Childhood Development throughout the region hampers learning substantially, while the lack of motivation and materials for primary teachers adds to the issue and robs students of reaching their full capacity, thereby leading to debates on 'capacity building' and why the 'capacity' it is missing.
Our host organisations, communities and schools need assistance in providing additional educational practices to students, especially in rural areas through the utilization of volunteers in schools, after-school clubs, drama clubs, even a chess club in Zimbabwe. One of the most effective ways to improve students education, especially in their younger years is by giving them confidence, confidence to believe in themselves and their ability. Self-confidence can spur a child on and allow that spark we all have inside of us turn into a burning flame, one which powers a person to achieve and reach their full potential.
That is why volunteers are needed, to boost the confidence of the kids, to make them smile every day, so they forget their worries and learn, to let them know that there is someone willing to put in the extra effort so that they understand and are not left behind. As volunteers, individually we can impact on many students, but we won't make a massive impact on all the students in 4 weeks, however collectively and with consistency, volunteers can make a huge difference on a whole community over time.
What are Community Based Organisations?
Beware the myth of ‘community’; a community has many moving parts not all working together even some of the time, a community can be split in many ways by age, gender, area, religion, school etc
Community-Based Organisations, CBOs are generally formed up of like-minded people who share a common interest or cause, from within a larger community or village sometimes from geographically separated villages.
CBO’s can either be informal or formally registered and recognised as a CBO with NPO status by the authorities.
CBO’s can be formed by anyone and can target a wide range of issues from health, farming, sports, education etc
Many CBOs in rural areas and especially those near or next to a protected area, such as a national park or heritage site, are created to manage their natural resources around them, from the use of the natural materials for their purposes from mining, logging, tourism, and is commonly known as Community Based Natural Resources Management.
What are the main issues CBOs face?
Most CBO’s fail due to lack of funding and capacity in fulfilling the roles necessary to perform its stated objectives
Funding for CBO’s is difficult as most CBO’s don’t have access to the internet for research purposes; computers to write applications never mind access to email.
CBOs tend to lack the capacity to function effectively, convening meetings can hard due to lack of transport, finances for fuel, many members are reliant on lifts to attend meetings or have to walk/cycle many kilometres to meet officials.
There tends to be a lack of financial literacy and resources to execute their duties properly; this is hampered by poor government funded training so CBO can get financial and computer literacy training to fulfil their roles successfully.
EXISTING COMMUNITY LIVELIHOOD MODELS AND APPROACHES IN THE GLTFCA
Photographic, cultural, adventure and business tourism;
Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) and the wildlife economy (harvesting, trading, hunting, breeding, processing, marketing and sale of wildlife and non-timber forest products);
Agriculture (including irrigated, conservation and other water-wise agriculture) for household use, small scale trade and out growers’ arrangements with large scale commercial farms);
Holistic planned grazing and commodity-based trade (management, marketing and sale of livestock products even from within the red line which was established because of foot and mouth disease)
Small business development (including supplier development and support of formal and informal trade)
Investments in human capital, in particular, education (including early childhood development, teacher training, education infrastructure and equipment as well as adult education and skills development programmes)
Conservation related livelihoods (including Expanded Public Works Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme or EPIP)
HOW ARE THESE LIVELIHOODS LIKELY TO CHANGE IN THE FUTURE?
The viability of each of these sectors in the future will continue to be influenced by a wide range of drivers, including:
Water (rainfall variability, water quantity and quality changes)
Population growth, demographic changes and migration
Rights issues and recognition (both substantive, like human rights, land, usage and access rights, access to information, and procedural, like decision-making rights)
Land use decisions
Policy and political instability, corruption and bureaucracy
Economic issues, including global uncertainty, exchange rates as well as exclusion, inequality, poverty and unemployment
Diseases, including human, livestock and wildlife
Security threats, including human/ wildlife conflict, wildlife crime, general safety and security issues and cross-border theft
Social media and associated trends
*Information is taken from the GREAT LIMPOPO TRANSFRONTIER CONSERVATION AREA (GLTFCA): INTEGRATED LIVELIHOODS DIVERSIFICATION STRATEGY 2016 - 2030
Kruger National Park, South Africa
Volunteers will enjoy a full day in the Pafuri area of the world famous Kruger National Park, visit 'Crooks Corner', Pafuri Picnic spot and Klopenfontien Dam. If you are on a 6 or 8 week placement we will visit more and even see Thulamela Ruins with a guided walk around these 13th centuary ruins in the Kruger.
Enjoy the quietest part of the world-famouss Kruger National Park
Visit Pafuri, the most northern part of the park. See Elephants, Buffalo, Nyala and giraffes
Nwanedi Waterfalls, Venda, South Africa
Once again we enjoy off the beaten track, volunteers will enjoy a day out in this reserve, where we may see giraffe but will definately enjoy cool waterfalls where you can swim, jump into, and relax with an afternoon braai.
Nwanedi Waterfalls and reserve
Enjoy aday next to waterfalls, with a bbq and maybe some girafes on the way out.
Cave Paintings and the Big Tree, Venda, South Africa
Explore the wonders of Venda, pop in at Awelani Lodge to see the cave paintings, maybe have a late breakfast before heading to the The Big Tree, one of the biggest Baobab trees in the world. After lunch the more adventurous can explore ancient ruins and cavesin the hills behind and see evidence of mans existance from the stone age period to present day life.
Get lost in cave paintings and one of Africas biggest Baobab Trees.
Venda, the Land of Legends, explore Venda and wander around ancient stonewall ruins Limpopo Province
Makuya Park Nature Reserve, South Africa
While a way a day in this open Big 5 area, take in World Vies and sense the endless beauty of nature. Makuya resver is for the tough, with poor roads and limited inferstructure it harks back to a time gone past.
We sometime camp here or stay at the African Ivory Route Camp, Mutale Falls, depending on space and how adventurous we feel.
Enjoy a wild time overnight in the wildness.
Worlds View, Makuya Park, Limpopo
African Ivory Route, South Africa
The African Ivory Route was established with the adventure traveler in mind. A selection of unique and off the beaten track destinations where access to some of the camps is adventurous and may require 4 wheel drive vehicles
The size of these camps, which all have only 10 beds each, make them intimate and exclusive and allows for a very personalized experience, where camp schedules can be customized to suit guests preferences.
Enjoy an overnight experience at the Big 5 Mutale Falls and the AIR Fundudzi Cultural Camp, where you'll experience deep Venda culture
Enjoy a relaxing day, bird watching and dosing
Majinji Pan Sanctuary, Zimbabwe
Witness the spectatular wonder which is Majinji Pan Santuary, a birders paradise with year round water, volunteers will enjoy a walk around this pan followed by lunch and an afternoon swinging in a hammock enjoying the cool breeze and sounds of birds as you have an afternoon snooze.
Relax and unwind in a hammock after a walk around Majinji pan
Enjoy a relaxing day, bird watching and dosing
The Limpopo River, Zimbabwe
Enjoy a spectatular Limpopo River experience, wind your way to the river by donkey cart, walk along the Limpopo, looking at the Kruger National Park on the other side, see 'Crook Corner' from another angle. Spend a night camping next to a bush fire and braai and then continue walking to Pesvi gorge and be overwhelmed by natures beauty.
Walk along the Limpopo River, Braai and camp out under the stars
Relax with a Limpopo River experience, see Pesvi Gorge
The Bosman Site, Zimbabwe
Spend a night or 2 at the reknowned Bosman Camp, a relic from the past, but in stunning surronds and on the banks of the Nwanetsi river whereelephant abound and antelope roam freely in this wilderness area.
Enjoy an evening prior at a Human Wildlife scheme where they burn chillie 'cakes' to deter elephants from entering the crop lands. Sleep in the fields to witness it first hand if you want.
Camp in this wilderness area where the Bosman family built there lodge in the 60's
Unwind, go for a walk, and watch out for elephants!
Mugavisa Protected Village, Zimbabwe
Take a walk or donkey cart around Chisinya and Samu to partake in a foraging trip and visit Mugavisa village which was once a 'protected' village during the various bush wars in the area.
Enjoy a lunch or dinner with the food you foraged that day!
Spend a day exploring the local cultural and colonial history of the area
Enjoy a foraging walk and learn about the past protect villages on the way
Donkey Cart/Scotch Cart policy
While in Zimbabwe volunteers will be transported by donkey cart/Scotch Cart to various activities.
ASPECT AFRICA is very aware of the varying attitudes to treatment of animals across the globe and is aware of the need to educate and to provide materials and direction for owners to provide better equipment, treatment and care for donkeys.
The Malipati Development Trust & ASPECT AFRICA currently work together to select cart owners who are known for and show respect to their animals, especially donkeys.
This is a stop-gap measure until we, Malipati Development Trust & ASPECT AFRICA, as partners, can come up with a certification system which is supported by the local veterinarian services and other animal welfare organisations.
The certification would cover areas such as:
type of bridle and harness used
construction of the cart
safety of the cart
overall treatment and care of the donkeys
regular checkups on the donkeys
By achieving the above we will convince more cart and donkey owners that they are missing out on work opportunities and so adapt their ways for a more lucrative return and longer, more comfortable life for their donkeys.