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Posts Tagged ‘education and training’

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund)

Friday, February 20th, 2009


www.unicef.org.nz

What do they do?
UNICEF - the United Nations Children’s Fund - is the world’s leading agency for children. UNICEF works closely with children, women and communities as well as governments, other UN agencies, faith-based groups, non-government organisations and the private sector to create a better world for every child.

How can I get involved?

Fundraise – Put the ‘fun’ back into fundraising!  Take part in a run, cycle, or swim while raising money for UNICEF.  It’s easy to make your own fundraising web page!

Campaign for Change - Make some noise and help shape better policies and practices for children.  Whether you write to your local MP about an issue affecting children, fill out one of our surveys or sign a petition, you’re helping affect change for a new generation of kids.  Join UNICEF’s Campaigners for Change by emailing takeaction@unicef.org.nz for further updates.

Buy an Inspired GiftDoes your Dad need another pair of socks?  Why not help girls in Ghana go to school instead?  Purchase a bicycle for a girl in Ghana from our online shop and help give a better future to children!

Donate
- Your donation will go further with UNICEF! For every dollar donated, we can leverage $10 for children who need your help.

Volunteer - There are a number of ways that you can get involved with UNICEF NZ as a volunteer:

  • You can help out in their Wellington office with administration duties
  • You can help them with fundraising events
  • If you think you have some specific skills and experience that will be of value to them then you can apply for an internship


Save the Children

Friday, February 20th, 2009

save-children

www.savethechildren.org.nz

What do they do?
Save the Children are a humanitarian organization that fights for children’s rights, both in New Zealand and overseas. They desire to see a world which respects and values each child, a world which listens to children and learns, and a world where all children have hope and opportunity.
How can I get involved?
Sponsor a Child - Help transform the lives of vulnerable children. You can either sponsor a child in a region of your choice, or nominate the money to go to the area of greatest need.
Shop – there are 33 shops all across New Zealand, which all sell quality products for mums, dads, children, grandparents and friends at competitive prices. They are run by volunteers and the funds raised help with Save the Children’s work around the world.
Volunteer your time – You can help with a wide variety of fund-raising activites, such as advocacy and awareness raising, staffing a STC shop, or collecting during their Annual Appeal.
Apply for a Small Grants Fund - Save the Children will fund local initiatives that make lasting benefits for children and young people by building their capacity to reach their full potential. If you are under 18 you can still apply, but you are required to partner with a registered organisation for financial and other support.

Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa/New Zealand

Friday, February 20th, 2009

quaker

www.quaker.org.nz/groups/qpsanz

What do they do?
This is the arm of the Quakers (The Religious Society of Friends) in Aotearoa New Zealand that deals with social justice issues. They aim to give service and create peace in Quakerly ways.

How can I get involved?
If you are a young Quaker (aged between approximately 16 and 39) you can join the ‘Young Friends’. Regular meetings are held in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. At their annual camps, held over Easter, Young Friends have speakers come and talk to the group, where there will tend to be discussion on important issues related to justice and peace. Young Friends also pay to offset their carbon from camps, and aim to shop local and eat vegetarian as a means of reducing damage to the Earth.

Jubilee Aotearoa

Friday, February 20th, 2009

jubilee
www.debtaction.org.nz

What do they do?
Jubilee Aotearoa is campaigning to cancel the unpayable debt of poor countries and to end the harmful conditions on loans from the international financial institutions including the IMF and World Bank.  It grew out of a meeting of agencies and individuals meeting in 1997 who jointly campaigned for a special one-off effort to mark the millennium in 2000.  Jubilee Aotearoa continues to meet regularly with government to discuss debt related issues, the agendas and programmes of the IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank and from time to time organizes campaign actions.

How can I get involved?
Check out the website: www.debtaction.org.nz for more information.  Follow the links to find up-to-date international news on the current situation.

Invite a speaker or borrow resources (DVDs and videos).

Write a letter or ask a question of a political candidate regarding debt.  Jubilee is producing some background material and questions which will be available on the website soon.

Join the email list and attend the meetings with government.  Contact: gillian.southey@cws.org.nz to find out how.

Get Jubilees help to organise a stall, a petition or a local action asking the NZ government to take a stronger stand on debt cancellation.

International Students Movement

Monday, February 16th, 2009

international-students-movement

www.emancipating-education-for-all.org/

or the Facebook group here:

www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=24722765003

Who are they?

In 2008 students, teachers, workers and parents in over 30 countries staged partly massive protests against exploding tuition fees, turning universities into business and corporate entities and the privatisation of education in general.

Groups in more than 20 countries on 5 continents stood together during the international day of action. You can access a presentation summarizing all the actions on that day here.

As a result of the co-ordination efforts ahead of the international day of action a loose network was created, which now calls itself the “International Students Movement”.

How can I be involved?

The group has international chat conferences regularly and during one of their last chats decided to call for a “Reclaim your Education - Global Week of Action 2009″ in April (20/04 - 29/04). If you wish to know more, or to get involved somehow, email Mo at:

international.students.movement@googlemail.com

Connected Media

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

connected-media

www.connectedmedia.org


What do they do?

Connected Media is a New Zealand based charitable trust whose mission is to promote sustainability through media.

How can I get involved?

In partnership with Enviroschools and the Global Education Centre, Connected Media run an annual Sustainability Film Challenge called ‘The Outlook for Someday’. Anyone up to the age of 20 can make a film on sustainability of any length up to 5 minutes, of any genre they like – drama, documentary, animation, music video, advertisement, video blog, reality tv. The prizes are awesome – laptops, cameras, even a short course at a film school. Deadlines for films is usually late September. Check out the website here: www.theoutlookforsomeday.net

tofs

Caritas

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

caritas

www.caritas.org.nz

What do they do?

Caritas is the Catholic agency for justice, peace and development. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is part of Caritas Internationalis, which is a confederation of 154 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies from around the world. Caritas agencies work in over 198 countries: delivering aid, supporting development, and working for justice.

How can I be involved?

Donate!

Campaigning – Caritas are involved in many campaigns, including Aid, Children, Cluster Munitions Crime and Punishment, Debt, Environmental Justice, HIV and AIDS, Human Rights Make Poverty History Millennium Development Goals, Submissions to NZ Government, and Trade. They offer excellent resources on their website to help you join with them to take action on these issues.

A year volunteering in South Africa

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Interview by Tessa Johnstone

felicitygibsonFelicity Gibson, 22, was interested in understanding other countries — not just seeing them through a camera or tour bus window. That’s why she took a year out from her degree to volunteer in South Africa and “gain a new perspective on the world.”

Felicity spent a year volunteering through an initiative organised by New Zealand Aotearoa-based Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) and University of Otago’s Geography Studies faculty. She worked as a Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, based in Students Partnership Worldwide’s (SPW) East London, South Africa office and regularly traveling to communities in the Eastern Cape to support volunteers working in the field.

SPW runs youth empowerment programmes in South Africa, primarily with the Xhosa people, in which local and international volunteers are paired up together and provide health education and awareness, training for job and life skills, help to set up clubs and activities for the community, set up resource and library centres, and facilitate peer education.

Felicity’s job was to go into the communities where the youth empowerment programmes were run, and come up with a good system to look at how the programmes were working for the community and the volunteers.

Youth is an extra bonus groupof4

Volunteering gives you a lot of work experience and job skills, which Felicity points out is invaluable for young people. Young people, as well, offer a lot to the organisations and communities they volunteer with.
“I think being young meant I had the right attitude going in to the experience. Many of the older volunteers I talked to were worried about how they were going to handle the different working environment and lack of resources.
“But because I had very little working experience, I had nothing to compare my job to and so was very adaptable to the environment and willing to give things a try.
“This lack of experience also meant that I did not go in their thinking that there was only one right way to do things and did not try and do every thing my own way. I was happy just to go with the flow and learn from others.
���I think volunteers must be open-minded to the fact that people have different sets of knowledge and be prepared to learn and share. It is very important that volunteers remember that they are there to help, not hinder an organisation.”

Daily life is an experience
Felicity feels lucky to have experienced both life in the South African office and that of her fellow international volunteers working in villages.
“I think all of us international volunteers had very rewarding experiences and each faced challenges unique to our situation. Most importantly we had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs together.”
Felicity lived in a small apartment in East London, but experienced the living conditions of volunteers working in smaller communities as well.
“Living in South Africa was certainly not easy. For example, while we lived in town, we could not leave the house after dark as we had no car and it was too dangerous to walk anywhere.
“In the rural communities, volunteers were placed in rondavels [mud huts] with a host family. Rondavels usually had one room where sleeping, eating and cleaning all occurred.”
All SPW volunteers experience very basic living conditions, often with no running water, though most have some electricity. Travel is done by shared minibus or taxi, which Felicity describes entertainingly as “long bumpy trips crammed with people”. There is no fridge, which limits volunteers to a vegetarian diet which includes a lot of local dishes.

Being the “Young White Girl”
spwvolunteersandypOne of the most difficult challenges for Felicity was adjusting to a different culture in South Africa.
“Things looked and felt like home in South Africa, but I was expected to act differently. For example, no one ever worried about running late. This was always frustrating to me when we were holding an event and I expected to arrive early to set up but everyone always arrived after the event was meant to start as they knew that all the people attending would be even later than that.”
Felicity also observed a lot of racism, which she says was very challenging.
“There is still a lot of cultural division in South Africa and I was amazed at the extremely racist comments dropped casually into a conversation by a taxi driver, waiter or my neighbour. While there are racists in New Zealand, most people hide it. In South Africa, people who were racist were very open about it.”
Some South Africans also had skewed perceptions of Felicity, as a “Young White Girl”.
“People’s perception of white people from overseas had often been formed from the movies and so I gained somewhat of a celebrity status. As there were not often young, white girls walking round where I lived or visited I got stared at and whispered about a lot. Some people thought I had a lot of money and could therefore give them my possessions.
“However, in other settings I could feel there was a lot of trepidation about a young, white girl coming into a community with a fear I was going to tell people how to live their lives.”

The biggest learning?
Felicity says the biggest learning for her was “the most obvious”.
“I learnt about how people with little money and resources live and how hard it is for people without opportunities, like I have had, to move forward in their lives.
“Take, for example, computers. You can go to a community and many people have never seen a computer. You may then go to a township where there might be ten old computers for a school of 800 pupils. Then you might find young university students who use computers as part of their school work, however because they have never had the opportunity to use them like we do, their skills are still very low. And then you get the minority at the top that a live life like we do here in New Zealand where using a computer is an everyday occurrence. This range extends to all parts of life, with the minority at the top gaining all the experience and education and more able to take advantage of opportunities than those at the other end of the scale.”

Coming home - with new perspectives and confidence

outsideworkshopFelicity got what she wanted in a travel experience, gaining insight into what South Africa was really like.
“I was very scared of travelling to South Africa because of the horror stories I’d heard. But the country I discovered was very different to those preconceptions. For the most, everyone in South Africa was so friendly and positive. I found it quite a shock to return to New Zealand which I had always thought of as being laidback to find that I now see us as quite a melancholy country. I also learnt about the many different cultures that make up South Africa, especially the Xhosa people.”
Felicity says she came back from South Africa a more mature person.
“Throughout the year I faced so many challenges that I am really quite a different person to the one I used to be. I have a very different perspective on the world and view things in different ways. I definitely am a lot more grateful for the life I live and therefore am more determined to make the most of what I have.”
Eric Levine, founder of SPW and long-time volunteer himself, says the experience also gives you a huge amount of confidence.
“Volunteers always tell me: I came thinking I was going to teach and I learned and took away much more than I taught’,” Eric says.
“They come away with confidence times 10 to a factor of 100 — to work in difficult, under-resourced, complicated situations and be successful in change — no matter what you do in your life, people constantly are like, I am capable, I have skills, I can figure out how to do stuff’.

Felicity is back at Otago completing her Geography degree in Development Studies, though she’s not sure what will happen after that.
“I definitely believe that I was very lucky to be born in New Zealand, and that gives me a sense of social responsibility to help others who were not so lucky, whether they are from developing countries or in New Zealand itself.”
spwtshirts
To find out more about Students Partnership Worldwide (SPW), who are working with Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) to place New Zealanders aged 18 — 28 in volunteer placements for six to nine months in Southern Africa, or the VSA/Otago University Univol programme, go to www.vsa.org.nz or www.spw.org.

The top photo shows Felicity with fellow SPW volunteer Greer Lamaro carrying water up from the stream in the village. All other photos courtesy of SPW volunteer training.


TAKE ACTION!

Want to volunteer, but not sure how to go about it ethically? Download VSA’s Volunteering Overseas Guide (1.6MB) or check out the ethical volunteering site for things to think about and tips on how to find a good organisation. And you can download Dev-Zone’s magazine, Just Change Issue 11: Good Intentions - The Ethics of Volunteering.


LEARN MORE:

South Africa country profile
Xhosa entry on wikipedia
http://allafrica.com/ news from Africa.

    The Quantity vs Quality Debate: A case study in Vanuatu

    Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

    By Miriam Wood
    kids in Vanuatu in literacy classI recently spent a year working in a youth centre in Port Vila, Vanuatu for out of school youth. In Vanuatu most young people finish school before they reach secondary level as there is no government funding for public schools and the school fees push a huge number of them out of the formal education sector. This means throughout Vanuatu there is a generation of young people cheated of a formal education who are looking to fill the gap. Some are lucky and get to enroll in Rural Training Centres, where they learn things such as building or mechanics. Others get a job working on a copra boat. Some return to their villages and work in the family garden, maybe starting their own patch of kava, or yam for sale. But for those who have joined the urban drift, and are living in Port Vila, the choices are somewhat limited. As with most capital cities, the cost of living in Port Vila is high, food and transport are expensive, education and training courses have high fees and most young people are living within a large extended family with a vast list of chores.

    Programmes for unemployed youth in Port Vila

    The centre I worked in is funded by AusAid and NZAid, along with a number of smaller funders for specific projects. Courses are offered in sewing, nutrition, computers, literacy, music, dance, sports, photography and art. Young people pay 100vatu ($1.50 NZD) to become members and this allows them to attend any of the above classes for the full year. There are over 900 registered members. The youth centre also has a sexual health clinic attached to it and runs several compulsory workshops focusing on reproductive health family planning and STI’s as Vanuatu has the one of the highest rate of STI’s in the Pacific.

    There are other centres delivering programmes for unemployed youth in Port Vila, run by Oxfam, Unicef, World Vision, Youth Challenge and church and youth groups. The most common element of all these different programmes is workshops, which are short-term or one-off training sessions, where young people are usually provided with a certificate of some kind. Some organisations use their funding to take young people to international conferences, some take groups to remote outer islands to work on community projects, some run events in town, but all run workshops for lifeskills, preparing job applications and leadership.
    Danny in Vanuatu painting a Unicef logo

    Is there a problem with workshops?
    Recently I was forced to ask myself this question. I had organised a literacy teacher to come in and spend a morning with the youth tutors who run our children’s literacy class. Not being in the workshop mindset, we got right into it and started on the lesson. We were only ten minutes in when one young women raised her hand and asked “Do we get lunch provided?”
    She was quite confused about what was happening. There had been no icebreaker game, no name-tags, no assurance that morning tea and lunch were going to be provided and I hadn’t specifically said “You will get a certificate at the end of this session”. I could see the thought racing through woman in workshop in Vanuatuher mind “This isn’t a workshop! I’m wasting my time!” Nevertheless she stayed, and despite not getting a certificate for spending two hours with a literacy teacher she feels like she learnt something important during that time. The question I was left asking myself was, are the youth centres putting emphasis on the wrong thing? What is more important, actual learning or a certificate that says you have learnt something?’ Is it worth providing so many lunches and bus fares, for young tutors to come and learn just a fraction of what is needed to become an effective teacher?

    Is there another way?
    Imagine all the youth agencies coming together, pooling resources and deciding to send a handful of young people through school, through university and set them up so they are able to support their family and break the cycle of poverty. What about focusing energies on vocational training, leading young people to real jobs, rather than providing watered down education The end of a sailing school held on Sakau Island, SW Malekulaopportunities, in the disguise of workshops on lifeskills.

    I know there are benefits to reaching many young people as opposed to few — workshops on reproductive and sexual health are necessary because the young people are not learning this at school. I saw one or two kids actively use the free services at the clinic and take the condoms, and then watching another young teenage mum coming in with her new baby I thought “well maybe that workshop was effective if it stopped just one more teenage solo mum”. Workshops on budgeting are necessary, so that when the young people do get money, they use it effectively and workshops on lifeskills are useful because they can inspire young people into thinking about who they want to be and how they can get there. After completing a workshop a couple of youth members took some initiative and put their new skills to use and actually found jobs which have given them more training while earning money. This would not have happened had they not come to the initial workshop. But I am still left with the question, is it really the best use of millions of dollars in aid money annually?

    It’s the “quality versus quantity” debate and it is raging hotly in development circles across the world. It is about making the most of aid money. After being directly involved this year, I think I have a greater understanding of both sides of the argument, but I will always be in two minds, purely because there are advantages on both sides. In Vanuatu, a vast range of services are being provided to young people, funded by aid money. I know they are all useful in some way, yet I still have that nagging question of ’what if?’ What if, instead of sending one youth to Australia for one week, we paid their school fees for a year? Whatever the answer I truly believe that education is the ticket out of poverty.

    LEARN MORE & TAKE ACTION:

    Vanuatu profile

    Secretariat of the Pacific (SPC) — a Non-Government Organisation based in Fiji and New Caledonia which has heaps of info about Pacific issues, plus links to other sites.

    Wan Smolbag Theatre works with communities through drama to provide a greater understanding of development issues in the South Pacific.

    Buy some Good Books and help Oxfam support the Wan Smolbag Theatre.

    KALEIDOSCOPE 2007

    Monday, December 3rd, 2007

    By Pip Bennett

    Four months after I had first submitted my application to become an Oxfam International Youth Partner (OIYP) I was informed that I was one of the 300 youths from around the world that had been chosen from over 3000 applications to join the programme.

    kaleidoscopeOIYP is a three year programme, which aims to build the capacity of the Action Partners (the name given to Youth Partners) by providing us with support and resources, and creating opportunities for dialogue, networking and learning. Our first opportunity came in October this year at Kaleidoscope, a festival where all of the Action Partners come together in Sydney, for nine days of workshops, dances, performances, art, theatre and meeting a zillion new people.

    Arriving in Sydney airport, we made our way to meet the Oxfam volunteers in charge of taking us to the school. We chatted with youth from Iraq and Lebanon about the war and George Bush, which was quite humourous at times because of the jokes they told expressing their feelings about Bush and his administration. Throughout the week, the situation in Iraq was certainly a feature of many discussions with many of the youth asking those from the region for their local perspective, and it seemed that the consensus was that it was detrimental to pull out U.S forces, whether or not they should have gone in the first place.

    We stayed at the oldest school in Australia, the prestigious Kings School, in Parramatta and were divided into various dorm houses. I was one of only three non-Muslim girls to stay in the Muslim side of my house. They tried to keep them separate in order to stop disturbing other non-Muslim participants while they got up early for Ramadan. Staying in this dorm was an excellent experience. Over the week I had many opportunities to discuss various topics, including religion, Islam extremists, and terrorism. The sharing of beliefs and experiences was enlightening, particularly because I have found few opportunities like this back home. There were participants from about 90 countries, from all over the world, Canada, the U.S, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Spain, Chile, and Honduras, just to name a few!

    Darug PeopleThe welcoming ceremony took place on the first night, hosted by the Darug people, the indigenous people of the area. There was Aboriginal song and dance, which was responded to by various groups such as Aotearoa New Zealand, Bangladesh, India, and First Nations of the Americas. It was an incredible start to the event, and was at times very emotional.

    The official opening ceremony was held on the Tuesday night, at the Carriage Works performance venue. It was a show by youth from the Australian Theatre for Young People and some members from Cirque du Soliel which had been inspired by world affairs and our applications for OIYP. Amongst other things, there was singing, acrobatics, and a young woman carefully balancing an spinning umbrella on her feet whilst lying backwards and upside-down on a chair.

    WorkshopDuring the week there were six plenary sessions, along with around fifty workshops, some of which were led by Action Partners. Some of the workshops were only two hours long, while others were four hours over two days. Topics ranged from project management, indigenous rights, land rights, to access to health, access to education, gender and equality, gender and sexuality, and using photography and film. They were helpful, although complaints arose due to their brevity and lack of international or easily transferable context. A complaint from the Latin Americans was that there was too great a focus on Western culture and issues, rather than a diverse representation

    There were a significant number of Spanish speakers from Spain, and Latin America, with many of them unable to speak much, if any, English. A significant proportion of Oxfam volunteers could speak Spanish, and were used during workshops as translators or at the help desk. It was an excellent opportunity to learn about Latin America, however, there were difficulties in meeting and talking with the participants outside of workshops because of the lack of linguistic understanding.

    One of the special things about OIYP was the support of indigenous participants, in particular the availability of an indigenous Australian who acted like a mentor, as well as a space available for Indigenous people to meet and discuss issues, the Indigenous Forum. Being non-indigenous myself, I was invited to attend the Indigenous Forum, which was an unforgettable experience. I heard unnerving stories, particularly from the Americas, where indigenous people are constantly ignored and their identity denied.

    Kaleidescope ArtWe had several opportunities to explore Sydney, predominantly in the evenings, although we did have one free afternoon. Many of us went to a salsa club on Friday night and some gay clubs on the Saturday. Art and dance was a significant part of Kaleidoscope, with Oxfam wanting to explore the power of various forms of art as a tool for development. There were large canvases for painting, dance, song, beat-boxing performances, all with opportunities to try it yourself. A particular highlight for me was watching dancers from Brazil, along with Capoeira performers.

    At the end of the nine days in Sydney, although ready to return home, we were all sad to leave. The opportunity to spend time with other young people with similar dreams and goals proved to us that we are not alone in our desire to see change in the world. The one thing that we keep telling each other is that this is only the beginning of our next three years as Action Partners, and that if we want to see change, we have to do it ourselves.

    LEARN MORE

    For more information on OIYP, check out www.iyp.oxfam.org
    For more information about Oxfam and their work, check out www.oxfam.org

    All photos from Oxfam International, more here.