Thursday, April 10, 2008

Join - Eat So They Can

Have you ever wondered how you could help fight poverty?

Do you like getting together with your friends and family and enjoying a meal together? Have you ever wanted to travel to Africa to do aid work? Well now GVN is giving you the opportunity to do all of these things!


By joining ‘Eat So They Can’ - our international fundraiser that invites citizens of the world to participate in what is collectively one huge dinner party! Simply eat a meal, raise money, help stop child poverty and you could win the grand prize trip to Africa!
Anyone who raises $500 or more from their event will be entered into our drawing to help distribute funds raised!

The United Nations’ #1 Millennium Development Goal is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. But here we find ourselves past the midway point and there are still over 900 million people living on less than USD $1 a day!

We cannot fight global hunger alone. We need you!

Last year ‘Eat So They Can’ raised USD $37,000 for the Kenya Children’s Fund. In 2008, “Eat So They Can” will take place over the weekend of the 18th and 19th of October and aims to raise USD $100,000. Funds collected through this year’s event will expand to benefit the African Children’s Fund, which will aid children in all the programs in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, and South Africa that GVN currently supports.


2. Host a Meal

3. Ask friends and family to donate $30 USD to our African Children’s Fund at the meal

4. Change Lives: your donation will help us end child poverty in Africa
Together, we will change the lives of children around the world- one dinner at a time. >

Kind regards

Colin Salisbury

The event is co-initiative of the Global Volunteer Network
(GVN) and the GVN Foundation.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Heal the Earth: Environmental Training and Awareness

"What we take for granted might not be here for our children." - Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth

Do you have a passion for the environment? Do you get annoyed when you see people use a plastic shopping bag to carry only one item? Do you recycle your paper? Do you turn off the tap when you brush your teeth? If you answered yes to any of these questions our new Environmental Training and Awareness Program could be the next volunteer program for you!

We are excited to offer a new program for volunteers who would like the opportunity to work in New Zealand at the GVN Headquarters and help heal the earth and minimize the effects of global warming. Volunteers will have the opportunity to work in the Wellington office alongside our ecology specialists Dr. Dan Rollinson and Toby Malcolm. Dan and Toby will help to give you an insight into the issues that not only affect the native New Zealand ecosystem, but the whole world. You will have the chance to develop your own ideas to educate and raise awareness of climate change and environmental issues and promote ways people can reduce their carbon footprint as well as preserve native flora and fauna.

As well as your work in the office, you will spend several days a week working alongside volunteers within the New Zealand Nature Program ( On these days you will have the opportunity to aid local organisations in their work: getting first hand, on-the-ground experience in New Zealand's own conservation and environmental restoration efforts.

Examples of projects you may expect to work on include:

Replanting native forests and restoring degraded dune ecosystems
Monitoring and control of introduced predators for the protection of native wildlife
New Zealand Fur Seal monitoring at several sites in the lower North Island

To volunteer in New Zealand and find out more visit:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Be the eyes and ears and help children in need of surgery

Many of you would remember Tatu Shabani, the little girl from Tanzania who was born with bilateral club feet. She won all of our hearts in 2005 when GVN volunteer, Gwen Jones, launched an appeal to help give Tatu the medical treatment she desperately needed.

It has been a long journey but thanks to Gwen and Children's First Foundation who took on the case and covered most of the costs, Tatu has had her two club feet repaired and has been able to enjoy her first steps over Christmas.

A club foot is a birth defect where the child is born with their feet tucked underneath them and soles facing behind. It occurs in approximately 2 per 1000 live births and without treatment the person is forced to walk on their ankles or on the sides of their feet.

"I decided that Tatu was the reason I'd taken the volunteer placement. You cannot help everyone you meet or nearly as many people as you wish you could, but Tatu is someone my medical knowledge could make a difference for that would have a huge impact on her life and open future opportunities," said Gwen. When volunteering you may come across a child in desperate need of major surgery (due to a deformity, an injury that healed incorrectly etc.). The Children's First Foundation (CFF) may be able to help. If the child is approved, CFF will pay for the child's airfare, medical costs and rehabilitation to have the operation in Australia.

CFF's mission is to help those children primarily under fifteen years of age that have operable conditions but are ineligible for assistance from larger aid organisations due to their country of origin, remoteness or the severity of their illness.

GVN and Children's First Foundation wish to ask all volunteers during their placement to keep an eye out for children in need of operations, and just like Gwen you can make a difference to the life of a child.

If you find a child that desperately needs an operation please contact GVN or the Children's First Foundation.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Volunteer Journal - Sarah Pentney

Introducing Sarah Pentney, a 23 year-old Carleton University graduate from Ottawa, Canada. With a degree in Public Affairs and Policy Management, Sarah wrote an Honours thesis focusing on HIV/AIDS policies in Uganda and South Africa. "As soon as I saw the GVN Mukono Town Council Project I knew that I wanted to get involved somehow!" said Sarah.

Read all about Sarah's experience in Uganda through her online journal:

End of the RoadSo this is the end of the road for me in Uganda! This Wednesday was our last day at school and it was sad to say goodbye, but we certainly went out with a bang. We did crafts and had a party with all the kids during the morning, which was tiring but fun (as always).

In the afternoon Heather and I went back to school because the kids put on a show for us - they sang, danced, drummed and gave gifts - it was great!! I took a video of some of the performances so I promise to share those when I get home. Saying goodbye to the teachers and the kids was really tough - I have grown really attached to so many of them, and it is hard leaving them not knowing what the future holds for so many of them. One of the teachers started to cry when she hugged me goodbye and I almost lost it - they have all been so amazing to us, and to know that I won't see them everyday really does break my heart.

It is really weird to think about going home in some ways, because as much as you don't know what to expect when you arrive, everything about Uganda quickly and easily becomes your "new normal". Everyone has been asking me whether or not I am sad to be leaving, and the answer is yes, of course I am sad to leave Uganda. But the truth is, I did exactly what I set out to do and have done everything I wanted to do here, so I can leave happy.

I have met the most amazing people (both Ugandan and mzungu) and just fallen in love with this place. I highly recommend the experience, and definitely plan to volunteer again in Uganda. So even though this experience is coming to an end, I know that it will not be my last experience in Africa. This experience has only made me realize that the world is smaller than we think, and if there is anyone who is unsure of whether or not to take the chance to come to Africa, all I can say to you is DO IT!! It has been, hands down, the best thing I have ever done, and the most rewarding experience of my life so far - I loved every minute!!
Find out more about volunteering in Uganda at the following link:

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Volunteers Urgently Needed: Romania

A number of people considering a volunteer placement are asking GVN which communities and projects we believe to be the most in need at a given time. Our responses are often varied due to the needs of our partners or unexpected disasters which can devastate a community. Right now, Romania especially needs your help.

RomaniaPopulation: 21.6 millionRomanians living below the poverty line - 22% (2005)Infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births - 25.5 (one of the highest in Europe)

Sandie Tanner, one of the Founders of our partner organization in Romania, wrote a heartfelt letter to us recently asking if we could please send more volunteers who could help care for disabled abandoned or orphaned children and young adults.

Sandie said that volunteer numbers have been low recently, which means staff are under resourced and there is no one to lead the recreational activities which bring the residents so much joy.

"We usually run a sports day in May or June but without volunteers this event cannot happen. When we have no volunteers, everything slows down. The most important thing is the volunteers, to keep continuity, to keep the fun happening, "said Sandie.

Bruce and Sandie Tanner started the Tanner Mission after watching a startling documentary about the dire and horrible conditions of state-run orphanages in Romania where it was predicted there was 80,000 to 100,000 orphans in the country. Their plight was made public after the fall of communism in 1989, when it was discovered that children were living in deplorable conditions in the country's 650 orphanages.

The Tanner Mission homes are run like a family unit, where volunteers will act as a mother, father, brother, or sister. There are opportunities to teach, counsel and help with feeding, cooking and cleaning, depending on your skills and experiences. There is a huge focus on the children having FUN, being happy and enjoying the rest of their lives. This is in real contrast to the devastating conditions they have experienced in the state run institutions. There are four group homes, and volunteers will work with residents aged from ten year old children to young adults.

We hope you will consider Romania for your next volunteer placement. The children have suffered so much at a young age, but with your help they will see a brighter future.

Source: World Bank, World Development Indicators, 2007BBC News: Romania: Key facts and figures, 2006

Sunday, March 2, 2008

GVN Update

As I sat at the breakfast table this morning my mind drifted to the people around the world who do not have a safe place to call home.
The UN recently reported that the turmoil in Kenya has left over 600,000 people displaced and the economy gutted; disaster for a country already laced with multidimensional problems of poverty, disease and hunger. Volunteers in Kenya are needed now more than ever.

Martin Luther King once said "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy".

Our partner on the ground has been quick to react to the emergency with relief aid but with volunteer numbers down, projects are suffering. Some have very few volunteers, others none at all. We must have the courage to rise up for the people of Kenya in their time of need.
I can assure you that we will continue to monitor the situation closely and at this time all of our programs are operating.

It has been an extremely challenging month but there is hope and there is also good news. I am happy to announce that the Kilimanjaro Fundraising Trek in January was a huge success and raised over $37 000 for the Kenya Children's Fund. Feedback from participants has been fantastic and I wish to extend my congratulations to each of the 18 team members. Having climbed Kilimanjaro myself, I understand the mental and physical challenges one goes through. Well done!

If you are looking for a life changing experience, please keep reading. We have a range of exciting new programs that will not just change your life but the lives of many others you touch along the way.

Colin Salisbury
Chief Executive Officer

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Become a GVN Facebook Friend!

GVN has joined the fast growing online social network - Facebook! We now have over two and a half thousand members and would love it if you would join us too! It's a friendly little community and a great place to share information with other volunteers. To become a member just click on the following link:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New South Africa Program: Youth

GVN is proud to announce our newest partner, working with youth and young people in South Africa. Volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in the social and academic development of young people in the Limpopo province in Venda, South Africa. Volunteers will contribute their valuable time as teaching assistants and tutors in primary and secondary schools, and childcare workers in day care centres in Venda, South Africa.
They will have the opportunity to be directly involved in the motivation and development of young people’s lives and ultimately helping to bridge gaps and influence change in the ‘New South Africa’. Check out:

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Global Volunteer Network currently has opportunities to work with children and their community through our partner organization in Ethiopia. Volunteers will assist our partner organisation’s mission to rescue children off the streets and give them a better life. This is a Christian-based organisation, however, volunteers from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Volunteers will be involved in tutoring children after school with a focus on conversational English, grammar, science, and mathematics. Additionally, volunteers with musical and computer skills are needed to instruct the children in these areas. Volunteers need to be able to develop new and creative projects, as well as techniques for instructing children with special needs. In addition, volunteers will work in staff development, finance and accounting, computer training, and/or grant writing. Once a week volunteers have the opportunity to serve at a local feeding center where meals are provided to the street community, a large percentage of who are children.

Please note that this project requires volunteers who are self-starters, who can take part in a flexible schedule, and who can work with minimal supervision. The program is located in the suburb of Asko, about 25 km outside the capital city of Addis Ababa.

For more information check out: