Global Service Corps

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7.1 / 10 after 8 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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I spent four months volunteering with Global Service Corps in Tanzania during the fall of 2013. I participated in their Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security program during which time we traveled to numerous villages to lead organic agriculture community trainings. Each week presented amazing, unique experiences. The villages I traveled to and worked in were all villages that GSC had outstanding and lasting relationships with.

It was beyond rewarding to work with the GSC staff and villagers on innovative, yet simple projects that had huge impacts on lives of those we worked with. We built water efficient and nutrient rich organic gardens called keyhole gardens, grain storage containers and rainwater harvesting systems at the homes of voluntary participants. The work was hands on, challenging, and empowering. I learned so much about small scale organic agriculture practices and community development through education. The aim of the projects was not only to build something that served purpose in increasing their access to healthy food but also to educate individuals so they are able to build and care for these innovations on their own.

GSC embraces full immersion. Volunteers live with a Tanzanian family and develop close friendships with staff members and training participants. I walked away with phenomenal insight into Tanzanian culture and lifestyle. I even learned a good bit of Kiswahili! It was amazing to travel to villages so remote and work with community members in such mutually inspiring and positive ways.

Program:
Location:
Posted: February 6, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10
By: ltoland
Age:
25

I spent the summer of 2010 in Arusha, Tanzania working as an intern for GSC's Sustainable Agriculture program. At the time, I was working towards my masters degree in International Development with a concentration in food security, and this program was the perfect complement to my studies. The information I gained while in Tanzania was invaluable, and I could have never learned the same skills in the classroom. I stayed with a wonderful home stay family and the in country staff were great! The team they had put together to lead the sustainable agriculture program had a wealth of knowledge on the subject and were all incredibly friendly! I left Tanzania feeling like I had really contributed to something important and gained many great new friends in the process. I would highly recommend this program to anyone with an interested in HIV/AIDS education, sustainable agriculture or community development in general. You will not be disappointed!

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 23, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: ephelanl
Age:
26

In February 2012 I volunteered with Global Service Corps in Cambodia with the HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Program. In advance of the trip I was sent copious amounts of material, which I understand was prepared by the MSW in the GSC San Francisco office. Because of the well-researched information and curriculum sent to me, I felt well prepared for my work in Phnom Penh. Standing in front of 50 eager faces that expect you to impart wisdom necessitates a level of comfort with the material that was only made possible by having the curriculum so well crafted. What I received included ice-breaker games that were age appropriate, a large curriculum that was organized day by day and a great deal of factual information about HIV/AIDS, particularly in Cambodia, as well as some terrific cultural guides (dress modestly, take your shoes off when going in a home, etc.).

The in-country coordinator is really great. He is fluent in English. His personality is typically Khmer and one should be aware of the reserve of the Cambodians. Americans are boisterous in comparison. The staff at the children’s center also speaks fluent English. The kids speak some English and love to spend time with you. They are just wonderful to work with.

The housing is in a newer hotel that is bright, cheerful and immaculate as well within a 7-8 minute tuk-tuk ride from the children’s center where I was working (this is serious volunteer work). The hotel is also within easy walking distance from a modern shopping center that has a lot of restaurants in the area.

GSC had everything set up including pick up from the airport and all transportation by tuk-tuk to/from the children’s center. All necessary expenses are covered – housing, food allowance and transport from airport and volunteer center. Meals are so inexpensive in Cambodia that you look twice at the menus. I also found Cambodian food to be absolutely delicious. There are a lot of international restaurants as well – Mexican, Indian, Italian, French, etc. However, you will pay a premium to eat in those.

My takeaway was one of gratitude that I have had a life in the US, that the Cambodians can really use our help and that I can find it difficult to now complain about my perceived life issues in the US. Some of the kids have little to eat at home except for the rice that the center has given their families, they live in very tough situations and are lucky to even receive an education. It is not an easy life.

My experience was life-changing. I arrived home with sensory overload wondering how to do more for the kids. Daily I think about them and hope to return to do more. I am certain I made an impact on the children in a positive sense and truly hope that I have helped to keep them safe from all the dangers of HIV/AIDS, drugs, alcohol, and domestic violence that we taught them. I would highly recommend Global Service Corps after my experience and look forward to working with them again.

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Location:
Posted: March 22, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:

The in-country coordinator is amazing and works tirelessly to help the volunteers. Unfortunately, he is neither given the resources nor the administrative support to really do any good.

There is a complete lack of financial transparency. We asked multiple times to be shown a breakdown of the budget and were denied every time. Forgive me for wanting to see what my money is going towards especially when it comes to things like a daily food allowance or nightly guest house budget. When people are spending thousands of dollars on a trip this behavior is completely unacceptable if you want to be taken seriously as an organization.

Our time in Cambodia was amazing but other than putting a roof over our head and introducing us to a few other NGO's there was little help from GSC about the direction of our program.

Program:
Location:
Posted: December 13, 2011
Overall:
4
Support:
4
Value:
2
By: bao
Age:
22

Comments

GSC Founder/Executive Director responds: Global Service Corps is a service-learning organization and not a volunteer vacation program. We welcome participants who are committed to making a positive contribution to the people of Cambodia and elsewhere, while also being open to learning about and experiencing the local challenges and culture. GSC provides immersion learning experiences for program participants who are then able to provide crucial and appreciated services to communities in need. The Cambodia Program reviewers immediately above (and below) were briefed in detail about the new HIV /AIDS prevention workshop for disadvantaged children in Phnom Penh before they were accepted as participants in this new Cambodia program. They agreed to volunteer in what turned out to be a very successful two day pilot project workshop that now has been expanded. I enjoyed being present in Phnom Penh and working with these volunteers to inaugurate the new program, one based on a similar program that GSC has successfully been operating in Tanzania for 10 years. A review of the new expanded program by a recent volunteer is above. The Director of the fourteen center children’s organization wrote me about this workshop, “THANK YOU – for the awesome preparation and great delivery of the recent Health program. Our staff and kids have been greatly blessed.” There is an accurate breakdown of program fees on our website http://www.globalservicecorps.org/site/use-of-fees/ . This was provided to these and all GSC program participants. The volunteers were housed in a brand new apartment with new furnishings and kitchenette in a typical middle class neighborhood in Phnom Penh. It is located conveniently down the street from the children’s center and provided a unique opportunity to experience the Cambodia culture. The volunteers insisted that GSC move them to a hotel in the middle of the Phnom Penh tourist area, which was done. GSC distinguishes itself from other volunteer programs by providing a level of community service that is often life changing for program participants – both those volunteering their time and expertise as well as the recipients of the service. Those that are served by GSC programs are in great need of the assistance we can provide. The work of GSC should never be diminished by a few whose expectations were not parallel with the mission of GSC.

I recently returned from volunteering with Global Service Corps’ in Arusha, Tanzania. I wanted to get experience in the field of work that complimented my master’s degree studies in HIV/AIDS prevention in East Africa, and my time with Global Service Corps was excellent. I’d been a Peace Corps volunteer after college and then a Peace Corps recruiter during graduate school. My experience with Global Service Corps’ orientation, training, volunteer service, living with a local family, making friends, and working alongside Tanzanian professionals felt like a mini Peace Corps experience. Several other volunteers’ time with Global Service Corps overlapped with mine, and I know that all of us felt like we were truly addressing issues of great concern to the local communities we worked in and that we personally learned so much about HIV/Prevention and public health issues. We also saw what a difference learning small-scale organic farming techniques can make in a family’s level of nutrition and food intake and often even income…The orientation and training we received was beyond my expectations and so was the actual volunteer experience. I never expected to be so involved with local people from such diverse socio-economic levels and felt so truly welcomed and appreciated. As far as program logistics--visas, airport pickup, lodging, the application process,--everything was great, though prior to starting the program GSC was very detailed and followed a somewhat strict application and preparation process, but nothing fell through the cracks when arriving in country or during the stay. GSC’s staff in Tanzania were very involved with making sure volunteers’ needs were met. With a diverse and long volunteer service background myself, I’d recommend Global Service Corps’ Tanzania programs without hesitation for anyone looking for a great, inspiring experience (but one that isn’t really just a vacation). I know that for East Africa, Global Service Corps now only works in Tanzania and has been working with local communities there for years. Volunteers I was with (about 20) were overwhelmingly positive about their experience. Sometimes cultural differences while in very local small communities -- like issues of time and following a schedule or types of cozy comforts available -- called for an adjustment on our part. But that soon seemed like part of the developing country, community experience.

Program:
Location:
Posted: November 2, 2011
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
50

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