This year saw our second East Africa Volunteer Program Swap between our teams in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The aim of this swap was to again provide the opportunity for these three teams to collaborate, share ideas and experiences, and discuss best practices around hosting IVHQ volunteers. This year, our Kenyan team hosted the exchange in Nairobi, of which I was also privileged to join as the IVHQ Program Manager for East Africa.
The exchange was a fantastic opportunity for all teams to continue to learn and develop as hosts of IVHQ volunteers. Those who attended were able to bounce ideas off one another, learn how the other programs are run, ask for advice and share advice. It was a great opportunity for me to be able to get to know the local teams more and to further cement the awesome working relations job that we already enjoy. It is always inspiring to see that although the teams are running awesome programs on the ground, they are always striving to improve and learn new things that will help them to provide volunteers with the best possible experiences. The exchange was hugely beneficial for all teams and we hope to facilitate more of these exchanges in the future. We also asked our local teams to share what they had to say about the experience and here is what they had to say…
Joe Gichuki, IVHQ Kenya Volunteer Coordinator
“The East Africa Exchange program was another great achievement, as the Kenyan team, we felt very honored to have the opportunity to host the teams from Tanzania, Uganda and also William Rowland from IVHQ. All teams were excited, energized and social. This is the second time that we have come together but everyone felt like we have been together for decades. Getting together did not only cultivate on us becoming better neighbors and friends, but also on creating a better relationships among ourselves based on the common activity that has brought us together, hosting volunteers. Regardless of the length of time, we all have experiences of hosting volunteers from all over the world, sharing these experiences enables us to learn new ideas from one another on how to make positive improvements in our programs. We have been in communication with both teams since then, we continue to share our experiences and learnings very openly. Big thanks to the IVHQ team and the teams from Tanzania and Uganda for making this happen!”
Collin Thompson, IVHQ Tanzania Communications Assistant
“With just a few weeks on the job in Tanzania, the East Africa Exchange proved to be extremely beneficial. As is the purpose of the exchange, our Tanzania team was able to gleam many new ideas from our time in Kenya. From discussing how we as an organization handle different situations we are faced with, to how we conduct our orientation, our team took away ideas great and small from our Kenyan and Ugandan counterparts. One of the grander ideas to come out of the exchange is our need to diversify our programing in Arusha. After visiting different projects, like HIV/AIDS empowerment groups and music education programs, we felt that only offering Teaching and Medical placements as volunteering options was hindering our program from reaching its full potential. Since returning from the exchange, our team has been actively working to bring an HIV/AIDS placement with the hopes of launching this in May. I look forward to working with the amazing staff of these organizations again in the near future.”
To learn more about our volunteer programs in East Africa, check in with our Africa volunteer programs page.