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Join Kerewan Village Volunteering Group Expedition

My Magazine 2023/12
8 min
Join a three-week volunteering program as part of the group expedition to the remote village of Kerewan Samba Sira. This project allows you to be intensely involved in the local community as you live and work alongside members of the local community and non-governmental organisations fighting high poverty levels. You will work with a team of Gambian volunteers who are educated and very committed to developing the local community, environmental protection, and sports activities. They are also very hospitable and try to make our volunteers feel comfortable with them. Depending on their weekly schedule, you will participate in various activities.

Location: Kerewan Samba Sira, The Gambia

Duration: Group expeditions - 3 weeks; Individual expeditions - minimum 1 week, maximum duration is not limited

Schedule: Activities are distributed throughout the day according to the weekly schedule.

Dates:
Group expeditions: from 20.1. 2024 until 10.02.2024 and from 26.10.2024 to 16.11.2024.
Individual expeditions: throughout the year except during Ramadan.

Number of vacancies: 10 per expedition

Type of trip: Group expedition/voluntary work/study visit

Accommodation: In the case of individuals, they are accommodated with families in the village, while groups are accommodated in a guest house in a neighbouring village.

Distance from work: Within a radius of 5 km from the accommodation.

Transportation to work: Walking, cycling, motorbike, public transport.

Coordinators: Mohammed Saidy/Abdoulie Kamana Ceesay

Project goal: To support the local community in their current projects, improve the quality of life, create employment opportunities, and support village development.

Purpose of donations: Most of the donations will go to the local community in Kerewan Samba Sira for their ongoing projects. A part of the collected donations will be used according to needs and judgement for the current projects of the Volunteer Trail (career-educational centre), further construction and maintenance, installation of solar lights for the villages in rural areas, cultural heritage preservation projects) or intervention aid.

Where can you volunteer?

Installation of solar lights

We have installed 100 solar lights in the village, but an additional 150 lights are needed to complete the project. Volunteers will help dig 150 holes and properly install lights and windbreakers. Solar lights are the first step in developing a village and improving the quality of life. Street lighting will enhance the village's economy and contribute to development, improving their lives quickly. It will also enhance safety, and better visibility will reduce the number of accidents and injuries involving drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. As long as there were no solar lights in the village, the entire village depended only on moonlight. Your fundraising support is essential to the completion of this project.

Conditions
The joy of working with the local population, satisfactory knowledge of English, independence, ingenuity and patience, fundraising (minimum 250.00 euros)

Construction of mud houses

It is a unique experience in a remote village with a slow life and limited resources. The task of the volunteers is to build 2 mud houses together with the locals, which will serve as additional income for the locals and the local community. Many travellers want an authentic African experience, and this village's locals ensure that all guests have a pleasant experience in a remote village that struggles with a high percentage of financial poverty and minimal resources. The work is quite tiring, as it is pretty hot in the village.

Conditions
The joy of working with the local population, experience in construction and architecture is a bonus, satisfactory knowledge of English, independence, resourcefulness and patience, fundraising (minimum 250.00 euros)

Agriculture and conservation/protection of nature and animals

You will be involved in environmental protection activities, such as cotton farming/harvesting, planting trees, watering gardens, cleaning up garbage, providing trash cans and reducing the problem of unorganised garbage disposal. You will get to know new trees and animal species, make inventories of them and carry out control walks in the forest, participate in nursery breeding projects and afforestation, and get acquainted with the way of perceiving environmental protection in the local community (through preparing a local lunch, visiting the market, living with the locals, talking to the chief,...).

Conditions
Love for nature and the environment, experience in nature conservation is a bonus, satisfactory knowledge of English, independence, resourcefulness and patience, fundraising (minimum 250.00 euros)

Help in setting up the museum.

In cooperation with Heritage Management, a non-governmental organisation that works to preserve cultural heritage, we will set up two museums in the village of Kerewan Samba Sira, where visitors will be able to learn about the lives of two tribes, the Fula and the Mandinka, who live in harmony in the village. The unique feature of the village is that it has two village chiefs who come from both tribes. Volunteers will help research and find items/stories/photos that show the history and lives of both tribes.

Conditions
Love for culture and history, experience with restoration is a bonus, satisfactory knowledge of English, independence, resourcefulness and patience, fundraising (minimum 250.00 euros)

Education (kindergarten, primary school)

The first task is to assist teachers during lessons. You will work with a team of teachers at the school and prepare daily lessons for students that will follow the annual curriculum. You will help prepare learning aids, observe the children during lessons, take care of them, play with them during recess and, above all, show them the love every child needs.

The activities you will do with the kindergarten/school teachers are sports games, outdoor social games, playing musical instruments, singing lessons, getting to know letters and numbers and the basics of the English language. In short, any activity that could be done in the establishment with the equipment and facilities it provides. Here, your ingenuity, adaptability and originality in creating new activities for children of different ages are desirable. The volunteers should prepare one activity every day (which should last approx. 1 hour), which they will lead by themselves, of course, with the help of a team of teachers. An essential task of the volunteers is also to support children facing problems understanding the material and give them individual assistance during the lessons led by the team of teachers.

Conditions
Joy in working with children, experience in pedagogy is a bonus, satisfactory knowledge of English, independence, resourcefulness and patience, fundraising (minimum 250.00 euros)

Photography and media production

You will join groups of volunteers in their daily work and document the happenings through a photographic or video lens. In addition, together with them, you will explore the country differently - in close contact with the local community, in a responsible and sustainable way and to corners that are otherwise hidden from many. We will then use pictures and promotional videos from such experiences on our social networks and website to raise public awareness of our activities and projects to erase stereotypes and reduce misunderstandings of unfamiliar cultures.

Conditions
Basic knowledge of English, independence, ingenuity and patience; experience in photography/videography or creating content for social media; own camera, camera or phone with high resolution; fundraising (minimum 250.00 euros)

Skills centre (assistance with education)

You will join a small group of local residents who offer a variety of practical skills, mentoring, learning about business and trading and help with starting or expanding a business. Detailed information on how exactly you will be able to teach and in which field also depends on your education, knowledge, experience and the needs of those in the village or country in general.

Conditions
The joy of working with adults, practical experience in sewing/tailoring, soap making, food preservation/storage, management and other practical skills are a bonus, satisfactory knowledge of English, independence, ingenuity and patience, fundraising (minimum 250.00 euros)

Sports (football academy)

Volunteers will work with community members to implement sports/soccer activities and develop new recreational programs for children in the village. The job involves running sports programs in a rural school and assisting local sports coaches during afternoon sports practices. The aim is also to encourage girls to get excited about some sports activity. These programs can positively impact a child's development and future. In close cooperation with the local community, you will discover/develop sustainable solutions for offering sports activities where resources are limited.

Conditions
Joy in sports and working with children, experience in pedagogy or working with children is a bonus, satisfactory knowledge of English, independence, resourcefulness and patience, fundraising (minimum 250.00 euros)

Sustainable tourism

In cooperation with local educational institutions and the villagers, you will work on promoting sustainable, eco-rural and community-based tourism; you will examine all possibilities for the implementation and expansion of sustainable products that would attract travellers to the village who are looking for different trips and experiences away from the cities, crowds and hotels. Activities related to nature, animals, people and village lifestyle are increasingly popular among travellers looking for peace, wanting to grow personally, looking for a humble life, and dreaming of such a trip their whole life. You will develop sustainable solutions offering tourism products where resources are quite limited.

Conditions
The joy of working in tourism, experience in project writing, creativity and innovation, knowledge of English, independence, ingenuity and patience, fundraising (minimum 250.00 euros)

What do the first day and subsequent days at work look like?

Our home team of coordinators will welcome you to The Gambia. You will spend the first night in the Kololi area to get used to the surroundings and the new environment. Then, you will go by taxi or public transport to the village of Kerewan Samba Sira, almost 300 km away, where you will be welcomed by the village chief and the local coordinator, who will accompany you to your accommodation. You will have an introductory meeting with the rest of the team where the work plan for the whole week will be defined for you.
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Then, according to the weekly schedule, together with the team members, you will go to volunteer work and, if you wish, join various initiatives and, in the meantime, get to know the environment in which you will be staying.

How to prepare?

Make sure you have suitable footwear (hiking shoes are mandatory equipment for volunteers who will work in nature and construction) and clothes (sporty, light clothes that must be suitable for the environment - long and 3/4 pants, not too tight and T-shirts). The living conditions of your hosts are very modest and not up to European standards. Hot water is usually unavailable, solar energy is used for basic needs, and Wi-Fi is unavailable, so we recommend using mobile data via a local SIM card. Remember the charging stations (power banks) and flashlights. Also, bring sufficient repellants and protection against the sun since you will spend much time outdoors. You will be staying in a conservative society that is very religious (Islam), so we recommend that you don't wear too revealing clothes.

What materials do we need?

Light up Kerewan Samba Sira Project:
We are still collecting funds to finish the second phase of the project of solar streetlight installation. To support the project, you are also welcome to donate here:



Agriculture and conservation/protection of nature and animals:
The team in the village will be pleased with support on any of the following equipment: flashlights, vests with light reflectors, compasses, GPS devices, protective hiking boots, binoculars, ...

Education (kindergarten, elementary school):
The supplies most needed are regular pencils, crayons, sharpeners, scissors, erasers, glue, crayons, and small lined notebooks.

Sports (football academy):
The team needs balls, jerseys, props for training, and sports shoes for children and adults.

What does free time look like?

Your week will vary, but there will still be plenty of time to explore the country. Local coordinators can help organise many explorations around the area. If you want to explore even more, our coordinators are always available for advice, as we help organise workshops, guided tours, half-day activities and more extended explorations of The Gambia and neighbouring Senegal for our volunteers. You can see a lot of ideas for activities in advance on the My Gambia website, and then we will agree on your interests together at the location. Our volunteers have a 10% discount for most trips and activities through My Gambia.

ARE YOU READY?

Believe us when we say it. This experience can be life-changing. We know this because so many volunteers who have joined us in The Gambia in the past ten years still talk about their time here, and many of them have been coming back since their first visit to The Gambia. Are you ready to join us?
 

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