Lotta, how are you doing? Would you mind introduce yourself and give us an short overview about your volunteer program?
Thank you for this interview Jörg. I am Lotta Saiteu, 32, from Tanzania. I graduated in Geography and Environmental Management. I have been working in community related volunteer projects since 2006 with the objective to improve the situation of my Maasai community. Currently, I am working as a project coordinator for Volunteers Service for Africa (VSA). I am also a human rights activist.
Volunteers Service for Africa is a youth organization in Northern Tanzania and was founded by our indigenous youth. Our main objective is to support the development of our community towards more prosperity. Therefore, we especially have to address our poverty issues.
The poverty leads to shortages of resources in different fields, which we want to compensate with our social volunteer projects in Tanzania. Hence, we are engaged in different volunteer projects in the fields of education, health care, human rights, legal assistance, women economical support, agriculture and more. We operate in rural as well as urban areas of Arusha and Manyara which are all regions of Tanzania.
All of our operations take place on a not for profit basis.
You mentioned a lot of serious problems. What are the major issues you address and the core values you represent?
“To improve the daily life of our community in long term” – can be seen as our primarily mission. We want all people to be treated equally by obtaining the basic human rights and respecting different cultural background. Women violence and child abuse are common practiced by pastoral communities in one of the areas in that we operate. In order to end this, we set up campaigns against women violence and child abuse. Besides, we have a variety of other issues we have to address.
What kind of volunteers can take place at your projects in Tanzania?
All of our volunteers have been 18+ so far. The prospect should have a profound English proficiency, should be tolerant and open minded towards different cultures and should respect the human rights. The volunteer will work closely with our community. Hence, the volunteer should not be afraid of getting in touch with our culture and local community.
In some volunteer projects we focus on special fields like health, IT, education, environment. We need volunteers with adequate skills. However, in general we assign projects according to the volunteer’s individual abilities and skills. We always try to include new ideas and skills.
We welcome every volunteer who come up with fresh ideas and is motivated to participate in our local life.
What tasks and responsibilities do the volunteer at you projects in Tanzania overtake?
Our volunteers are mainly responsible for taking care of orphans, teaching in schools (Primary and Secondary schools), medical treatments (we welcome both, graduates and interns) and environmental issues. Such as creating of climate change campaigns, teaching materials and brochures. We want to create awareness within our community.
Besides, we concentrate on water management, anti poaching and agriculture development. We would like to use our resources in the best possible way and assign tasks according to our needs and the volunteer’s abilities.
Volunteers are equipped with a free mobile phone and a car
How can a typical day for a volunteer at Volunteers Service for Africa look like?
Our volunteers can select a project and a location of his or her choice. A typical daily work load would be 5-8 hours. For example, if you take part at a volunteer project in Arusha (urban area) you would start your day with a short travel to a rural area where you would overtake certain tasks for our community.
Afterwards you may take a free training into consideration. You can learn our Swahili language or take part in traditional dance training. Many of our tasks are linked to hikes in beautiful scenery. All of our volunteers are equipped with a free mobile phone and a car to maintain the communication.
How much does it cost for a volunteer to take part in one of your projects?
Volunteers pay $250 per week and 20% of this payment will be taken to support a project in progress in which he/she will volunteer. We ensure a good and comfortable accommodation as well as food. The rest of the fees are used to support the daily operations of Volunteers Service for Africa and in setting up new projects.
We provide free transports for a two week stay at a nearby national park in Arusha-Tanzania
Besides the work, what opportunities do you offer volunteers in Tanzania?
Most volunteers combine their volunteer stay with a travel to close by areas. They discover the mountains, take part in cultural programs or get to know our culture in more detail (e.g. through a culture based home stay). We want our volunteers in Tanzania to perceive their stay as a life memory and we are pleased to guide them during their travels.
Therefore, we provide free transports for a two week stay at a nearby national park in Arusha-Tanzania. We want people to get to know the diversity and the beauty of Tanzania as well as the people who call this country their home.
So you’re interested and wonder, if there really are volunteer programs this awesome in Tanzania? Click here and find out.