African Impact

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9.2 / 10 after 28 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

Founded in 2004, African Impact are ground facilitators of volunteering in Africa. We offer a wide range of both community & conservation projects & are specialists within the industry. 

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I wish that I had better things to say about African Impact. I did not have a good experience with them, in many ways. First of all, the volunteer house itself is in need of repair. The showers were very unreliable and many people ended up finishing their showers in the sink. The food was low in nutritional value overall (rice and frozen veg was the regular meal) and generally very spicy. On the medical program, there was simply not enough for the volunteers to do, so we would be sent out in 4's to check on one person. The idea was to get quality time with the patient, but really it was just the Zulu social worker doing all of the communication, so the volunteers were left just to sit and stare at the person. Not exactly what I had in mind when I signed up for this experience. This leads me to believe that they are more interested in getting the money from the volunteers more than creating significant change or a valuable experience, at least for the medical part of the program. I began to disagree with management after they changed my assignment without my input. I specialize in teaching Human Sexuality and they gave the HIV class to people who had no training or knowledge of HIV, and no special desire to do the class. They were just randomly assigned the task. I didn't take this well and started to get depressed and sullen. The worst part came when, after 3 weeks of working with them, I was roused out of bed and told I had been terminated from the program. The initial reason was due to a stupid, generalized joke I posted on Facebook about smothering people, but then stated the official reason was that I had revealed, in an email to the lead coordinator, that I had an anxiety disorder (citing that as why I had trouble discussing with them that I was so unhappy with the recent change). I was told that I had not listed that on my application, so that was grounds for immediate termination. This was after a night of program sponsored drinking, so I was not in the place to take this well either. I left, even though they gave me the option of staying, in separate quarters--like a criminal. They put me in a very dangerous position, drunk, alone, having a full-blown panic attack on the darkened streets of St. Lucia . They did try to offer suggestions of hostels, but if you've ever had a panic attack, you know that it's unbelievably difficult to focus on anything besides the anxiety. I was rescued by a local woman and after a few days, I took responsibility for my actions and sent an email to them apologizing for my part in things and asked to come back. If you are interested in volunteering abroad, you want to do the work. That's why you're there and that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to finish the work that I started. I was denied that chance with no explanation of why. The majority of the coordinators are incredibly young and inexperienced. If you are over the age of 25 and have any actual skills that you want to employ, this is not the program for you. This rash decision, coupled with my own ill conceived behavior, has costs me almost $1,000, since I had to find my own lodging, food, and way back to Durban, 3 hours away. I am a school teacher and do not have that kind of extra cash, especially after paying $5,000 for the experience in the first place. I'm afraid this has killed any motivation for me to volunteer abroad or to encourage others to do so. That's probably the saddest outcome of all. I do want to note that this is not my first review of this organization. I was contacted by the lead coordinator and pressured to take down my initial feedback on another site. This tells me that they are not interested in receiving honest feedback or others knowing their serious flaws.

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 13, 2013
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
3
Age:
38

Comments

African Impact would like to comment that we are aware of this unfortunate event in which we were required to make some difficult decisions that we do not take lightly. All feedback we receive is important to us and reviewed seriously so that we can agree on appropriate steps to improve. We are committed to our responsibility to volunteers who join us in Africa to help us achieve the objectives we agree with local communities on the projects we run. At the centre of our focus is our responsibility to facilitate projects with meaningful outcomes for all of our volunteers, and we make it a priority for volunteers in turn to experience, learn and enjoy their time with us, and feel safe in all aspects of their stay. We have in place a Code of Conduct which on rare occasions we use to make sure all other volunteers are safe and their experience is not affected negatively by others. When we use the Code of Conduct we ensure the person involved is offered support and is safe. Our St Lucia Project hosts over a hundred volunteers a year and the testimonials speak for themselves – this is one of our top rated projects and has received rave reviews from previous volunteers. We invite any potential volunteers to read subsequent reviews of this program for more accurate project feedback. - Andrew Procter, Operations Director - African Impact
First of all, the showers were fixed within two weeks and even if they weren't the best, you are volunteering to help people that have barely anything so you shouldn't be complaining about repairing a shower, especially because you did not pay to go to a 5 star hotel, you payed to help people that really need it. Also, the food was not generally very spicy and it definitely wasn't low in nutritional value. We did have meatless monday but apart from that we had chicken or ham or eggs or meat as protein apart from having bread, rice, pasta, veggies... You are forgetting about the day of pasta with bolognese sauce, where you had seconds too... Its definitely not low in nutrition! The medical program doesn't need to change, it will improve as more money is raised, and of course they are interested in the volunteers money, its a charity organization!!! Also, get over the HIV ed... After doing it for the first two weeks you should realize that anyone can teach them about HIV because they only need to know the general idea of it, not the specifics, so even if you teach it in college you cant just own the project for your four weeks and let no one else do it. You are being selfish. About you being kicked out? You asked for it. Why would you ever write so many Facebook posts being disrespectful to everyone in African Impact and insulting the volunteers calling them unskilled children... Guess what? We had a nurse as a volunteer and she is 23... I guess the description of younger than 25 and unskilled doesn't fit anymore does it? And people don't come here to use their skills even if they had really good ones, people come here to help whether is by using their skill or not. The nurse volunteering isn't even in the medical project, shes in community and she still loves the project. Also that last post of smothering people, you forgot to say that the post said you needed to get drunk to forget the fact that you wanted to smother people in their sleep... Its not a joke when you say it like that and you definitely cant say that when you live with 15 other volunteers in a house. Your review is NOT honest feedback since everyone except you thinks completely the opposite way... If only you criticize the organization, don't you think you are the one thats wrong, not the other hundreds of volunteers that loved the experience and the program? Just get over the fact that you made mistakes by making so many insulting and disrespectful Facebook posts that are public and therefore can be seen by everyone, especially when you were friends with the volunteers and also the fact that you forgot to say you had PTSD... I think thats information about you that should have definitely being reported when making the booking... Sorry if you had a bad experience but you put yourself in it by acting like a five year old wearing headphones all the time, not talking to anyone and being pissed the 24 hours of the day and creating a negative atmosphere in the house. You should apologize and move on.

I loved my time volunteering in St. Lucia. This experience opened my eyes to the epidemics of poverty and HIV/AIDS in a South African village while offering concrete and veteran projects that allowed me to feel like I was truly making a tangible difference in the lives around me. I can honestly say I learned and benefited as much or more than those we were helping, giving me deeper insight and perspective that I have been able to keep with me and share with others upon my return home. The volunteer house is beautiful, comfortable, and safe, and the staff are absolutely amazing. The programs are organized and structured without being "stuck in old ways," and are therefore constantly being reevaluated and improved upon. Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities for travel and memorable excursions so that you can be both a volunteer and a tourist in beautiful South Africa. I will never forget my time in South Africa or the amazing people I met there!

Program:
Location:
Posted: February 8, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: lzdrowski
Age:
23

Always wanted to see Africa and the famous Big 5. I when in South Africa to be a reasercher for a month and it is the best exprerience of my life. People who work on the project are really nice. The food was mostly rice,potatoes, salad, ground beef, chickens but if you are lucky, you'll have a cook with a reallllllyy good recipe of a cake. I'm a french canadian and it is all in english but i got used to it and even improve my english. Days started at 6h30 and ended at 18h but you'll enjoy every moment. Reaserchers were sent for 3 days of camping in another reserve in Pongola. Next summer I will go again in Africa with African Impact because I was very pleased of my experience.

Program:
Location:
Posted: September 10, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: sdcqwb
Age:
20

This June I volunteered on the medical project in Zambia through African Impact. I have got to say - going into it, I was a bit nervous. I had never travelled abroad before and I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Any qualms I had going in immediately disappeared as soon as I saw the African Impact representative picking me up from the airport. I had expected to be much more confused and lost arriving in Zambia. Instead I was introduced to the volunteers, given a tour of the hostel and immediately felt at home. Everyone was so warm, welcoming and friendly and contributed to an overall outstanding experience.
The project itself was also fantastic. It is rare, in my experience volunteering in the medical field to be able to be so hands on. This was different. Working directly with patients not only in the clinics, but also on home based care programs, you are really able to gain a sense of what it feels like to have a one on one patient rapport. As a perspective medical student, I truly appreciated this opportunity. It was so great of the members of the Zambian community to be so welcoming to us, allowing us into their homes, introducing us to their friends and families, and trusting us with to deal with their various ailments.
We were also able to visit the hospices, give health talks, and even lead caregiver training programs. All in all, I truly felt like I was doing something meaningful and this was seen in the patients' gratitude and best of all, improvements as we returned to the same clinics and homes.
Another wonderful part of the African Impact program was the variety of projects we got to dip our toes into in the afternoons. We were able to help out in the community farms, help with painting, visit schools taking part in reading clubs, art clubs, and sports programs, and meeting members of the community of all ages. It was fantastic to see the whole spectrum of life in Zambia, and learn so much about their amazing culture.
If that wasn't enough, being able to visit Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park, go on lion walks and elephant back safaris made my month in Zambia an experience I will never forget. I would highly recommend this project to anyone interested in volunteering abroad, and I hope it continues to grow and make an impact in Zambia!

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 17, 2012
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9
Age:

I spent 4 weeks volunteering on the medical based project in Livingstone, Zambia during June 2012. This was my first trip by myself and I was so nervous and didn't really know what to expect. I had the most amazing time, it's the best thing I've ever done and I wasn't home sick at all.

My typical working day consisted of going out on medical projects (either going to see people at their homes who were ill or working in local clinics) at 7.45 am. We were brought back to the house by 12.00 pm and had 2 hours for lunch, project preparation or just chilling out by the pool. At 2.00 pm we went back out on afternoon projects. There were so many different activities we could do - going in to schools to do art, playing with children at after school clubs, and even building/painting work. We were brought back to the house by 5.00 pm so we could shower and get ready for dinner at 6.00 pm, then the rest of the evening was ours. I really enjoyed the medical side of the projects as I'm hoping to study medicine. I was able to get much more "hands on" experience which I would never have gotten in England.

During the weekend we could do as we liked. I did a walking safari, lion walk and elephant back safari in the local parks. I also went to Botswana for a weekend to do a river cruise and game drive at Chobe national park. Viewing Victoria Falls is a must! A big group of us also went to Bovu Island for our final weekend. We pretty much had the island to ourselves and it was a great way to chill out after a crazy 4 weeks.

I was so sad to leave that I would have stayed all summer if I'd had the money! Anyone thinking about volunteering in Africa should seriously consider this company. In Livingstone alone you can volunteer on medical, teaching, sports and disabled child care projects. You also get to meet some of the friendliest people in the world.

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 31, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: jprice965
Age:
20

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