Global Vision International (GVI)

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9 / 10 after 209 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings
Program website: http://www.gviusa.com/

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After working on the construction project for almost two weeks, a few of us went on safari for several days and had the opportunity to see exactly why our contribution was so important.
Kenya is a country that recognizes the value of its natural resources and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) works very hard to promote education and training on protecting and preserving wildlife. Kenya Wildlife Service recognizes that Kenya’s tourist industry would rapidly decline if there were no more animals to see on safaris. The Kenyan tourist industry makes a significant contribution to Kenya’s GDP and the economic status of the country.
I thought a lot about the contribution Kenya’s wildlife makes to the development of the country when we drove for days looking for the ‘Big 5’ animals. Our safari guide said the animals use to be everywhere just 10 years earlier and they have become fewer and fewer.But we already knew this from the project when had just worked on. But you don’t really get it until you see it. On safari we ‘got it’. There was a sense of how fragile it all was, nature hanging in a balance.
To understand this:Approx 2000 lions are left in the whole of Kenya. Every time one lion is killed forANY reason it costs the economy/people of Kenya 1 million US dollars per year in tourist revenue! That's just 1 lion! Consider if you dare ALL the animals that go missing. For some reason the story Sara (a staff member at GVI) told us about 200 dik diks being poached by one man each year sticks in my mind….
As I drove around in the safari truck standing up in the back looking at the endless beauty of the Amboseli and Tsavo horizons for 4 days I got it! I understood the urgency and determination of the project we just helped complete on so many levels; the villager’s basic survival and the ability for its families to thrive just like anyone else who wants a good education for their children, clean water and security in their lives.
GVI and all of us who participate in any of the programs are helping to give alternatives to very good and deserving people; to raise awareness and bring viable concrete solutions by the commitment of a lot good folks. We worked hard but I’m telling you the people in the Kidong community worked dawn to dusk in a way that I will remember the rest of my life.Profound thanks to GVI’s Sara, Gibby, Joseph, Emmanuel, Miriam, and Matilda for the time of my life…which is… just beginning.
Chris Hartridge

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Posted: April 24, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

What were your initial reactions when arriving on the project?
I was initially nervous but my fears were allayed when I met the other volunteers and saw how well structured the programme was.
The best thing for me was probably just getting to work with kids every day and see the difference I was making to their education in just 12 weeks.
I developed leadership skills on the Internship programme because I managed a small group of volunteers in the second stage. I also gained budgeting, negotiation and organisation skills through general running of the project and coordination with the local community. Apart from these professional skills, the teaching also helped me to be a more patient person! On a personal level I became more conscious of issues such as education and poverty in developing countries and I simply had great fun while there!
Too many great memories to mention: meeting parents at family day in Ecuador and doing three legged races, building stoves, school trips with the kids , setting my hair on fire when cooking at summer school, mountain biking down steep volcanoes, ziplining, trekking the Colca Canyon.
I have now decided to go back to university to do an MSc in International Development Management; this may well lead to a career change.
I would recommend GVI because the programmes are well-structured and organised, you receive a lot of support and you can develop the skills I mentioned above which could be really useful in a professional field. Equally, the personal sense of achievement you will feel is awesome, and the downtime trips away and activities are amazing.

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Posted: April 23, 2010
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
7
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

hey i was looking into the Otavalo program for next month, i was wondering how many people were volunteering when you were there? thanks lauren

It may have been well over a year since my 10 week GVI wildlife conservation and community development expedition in Kenya, but I honestly think about the time I spent there every single day...
I had the most amazing experience in Kenya and gained so very much; new friends and contacts, amazing work experience, increased confidence in my abilities and myself, a greater understanding of culture and religion, the opportunity to sample new foods, and time spent in glorious locations with fantastic company!
The people, both GVI staff and locals, were incredibly welcoming and knowledgeable. I found the activities to be well organised and was impressed by the effort GVI had taken to build a rapport with the community. I would highly recommend a GVI expedition to anyone interested in expanding their horizons, who has a passion for wildlife or community work, and isn't affraid of a little hard work and getting their hands dirty.

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Posted: April 13, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

Hi, I am considering going on the Kenya trip, and I am mainly concerned with with conservation. I am about to get my bachelor's degree in biology, and I was thinking of using this experience to gain experience in the field before I go to graduate school for biology. Do you think the work experience you gained would be valuable for someone who is hoping to get into a competitive graduate program in ecology or animal behavior? What certifications did you, or other interns you worked with, gain from this training?

I have recently returned from the Wildlife conservation and Community Development Expedition with GVI in the Ecuadorian Amazon and I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life.
The whole trip was very well organised by GVI and as a new volunteer on the expedition you really have very little to worry about in terms of logistics. The filed staff were all very outgoing and made us feel welcome, on top of this they were extremely knowledgeable about the environment and their fields of expertise. The first night was spent in Tena, which is a jungle town about half way to camp. This acted as great ice breaker and allowed everyone to get to know each other over a meal and few cold beers (make the most of the last cold beers and the readily available meat, this wont be experienced again for a while). The journey from Quito through the Andes and down into the jungle is truly spectacular and was a great start to the trip.
Once we arrived at the camp’s port by canoe we made our way up the many steps to camp carrying all our equipment. This was a fantastic introduction to the jungle and needless to say we were all pretty sweaty when we finally slumped down on a bench in the commador (communal area). The base camp is situated in a small clearing surrounded by jungle and comprises the commador, toilet/shower block, dorms including staff cabin, classroom and library.
In the weeks that followed we all leaned a huge amount about the wildlife and the local communities and became very comfortable living in the jungle. Each day was spent trekking through the jungle collecting vital scientific data about the species living there and their habitats. Some of the things I saw and experienced in the jungle were truly amazing and will stick with me forever. I’ll finish by saying the Amazon is one of those places you have to visit in your lifetime and GVI were a fantastic company to do it with allowing you to fully experience the jungle.

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Posted: April 13, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

Hi, I am currently in the process of booking a place on this volunteering scheme in June for 1 month. How many people were on the same scheme and were they students? Thank you, Vikki

I volunteered with GVI last year, teaching Indigenous children in Guatemala. Trying to sum up the experience in one sentence is hard, but if I had to it would simply be that it has been a life changing experience. Not necessarily how I live my life, as it’s impossible to try and physically live life differently when you’re back home in a developed country, but it has changed the way I think and perceive the world. I’m so much more grateful for the things I have; a roof over my head, an education, food and water whenever I like, the opportunity to choose a career, friends, free time to spend with friends! The children I was teaching had very little in terms of material possessions, were working from dawn til dusk with only a 3 hour break to come to school, and had barely enough to eat. Yet everyday when they walked into my class they smiled and gave me a hug! They were so appreciative of every little thing that I did, it really does make you think about what’s important in life and how privileged we really are. It was nice to give something back. It was nice to see that for 3 hours a day, these kids could just be kids. Whether playing football, chasing each other or drawing, they were 8 year olds, not adults. It was a privilege to be able to meet the children, teach them and get to know them.
Away from the school, there are too many experiences to tell you about that I had the chance to do, as I would be glued to the computer for an eternity if I did! Some of the highlights though were living in the beautiful city of Antigua, hiking around Lake Atitlan, learning Spanish, meeting locals, visiting the market, haggling, riding a chicken bus, touring a coffee and macadamia nut farm, climbing a volcano, eating local food, meeting people from the USA, Europe, Australia (lots of whom I still speak to now!) and the infamous GVI BBQ’s on a Friday night (complete of course with the Manteca...)
A note about GVI too, without whom I wouldn’t have had one of the best experiences of my life and met some fantastic people from all around the globe! From the outset they were professional, friendly, approachable, organised and a pleasure to deal with. All the staff from the first email, to the phone calls, to the in-country orientation and to the day-to-day running of the project were fantastic! I would recommend travelling with GVI, as the work they do in the community really does count for something. Although it must go through everybody’s mind, as it certainly did mine, it does seem a lot of money to ‘volunteer’. But when you see that the money you pay actually goes into paying the staff, buying food for your lunches that are prepared by the community, buying fruit for the children at break time, improving the school buildings, buckets of paint to decorate, buying pens, pencils, and of course not forgetting the sacapuntas!, it is definitely worth it. But you’re not just paying for the physical things, it’s the investment of a child’s college scholarship, which means he can then earn more money to support his family, and send his own children to school. You will be investing in a sustainable future, not just putting money into a charity box. The best part for me is that I get to see in front of my eyes where the money goes, and to see the progression the kids are able to make because of it. All this of course whilst meeting some great people along the way and doing and seeing things you never thought you would!
My time with GVI has truly been a life changing experience, I now see the world differently and know what the important things in life are. I hope to volunteer with GVI again, or maybe even work with them at some point! If you get the chance, or are half thinking about going, then go!
Buen viaje!

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Posted: April 12, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
8
By: Anonymous
Age:

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