Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Save Tonight, Tomorrow I'll Be Gone

Ha ha yes those are Eagle Eye Cherry lyrics! All I will be doing tonight though is sleeping. The packing was a MAJOR challenge. Packing for six months in two totally different climates. I've been explaining the Global Xchange programme to anyone who will listen but I realised today that I haven't explained it here. So for anyone who's interested here we go...

Global Xchange's mission statement is -
"Global Xchange aims to support the development of active global citizens,
committed to working for positive change within communities."

But that doesn't tell you all that much.

Global Xchange is a youth exchange and volunteering programme. You take 18 young people aged 18-25. Nine from the UK and nine from the exchange country (GX works with a number of exchange countries across, Asia, Africa and the Middle East). The volunteers spend three months in the UK and three months in the exchange country. During this time the volunteers live in a cross-cultural pair (that is one UK volunteer and one from the exchange conutry) in host home (a family in the local community that opens up their home to two complete strangers!). Four days a week the volunteers work for a local charity project in a different counterpart pair (so you don't get competely sick of one person). Once a week the whole team takes part in Global Citizenship Days.
These are an opportunity the team to engage in active learning about community development issues in the UK and in the exchange country. Each week the sessions are run by different home counterpart pairs. The topics covered should link to the Global Citizenship Framework (GX's learning framework). In the past GCDs have ranged from Fair Trade, Education, Climate Change, to Debt. During the programme the team will also come together to do larger-scale community projects to involve other people called Community Action Days. Some teams do one or two large scale CADs per phase, while others will do smaller ones on a more regular basis. Past examples have included cultural and global education days for local schools, community cleanups, Development Awareness Days, or fundraising with a local charity. Throughout the exchange the team is looked after by two programme supervisiors. Again one from the UK and one from the exchange country. In return for your time and commitment GX pay for your training, visas, travel, medical checks, injections, accommodation, food provide you with a small allowance. They only ask volunteers to fundraisee £600 towards the cost (a target I've reached by the way!).

So that is what I'm up to for the next six months! You can see why it takes a while to explain to people and thats without mentioning the Introductory Training Course, the Pre-Programme Course, the In Country Orientation, Mid-Phase Review, Debrief and Returned Volunteers Weekend!

If Global Xchange sounds like something you would be interested in please check out the website

p.s. I've also added a few more Myspace blogs and my facebook notes. I could leave them where they are but I like everything in the same place. I'm anal like that! I was going to post links but it seemed like alot of work. If you're interested you will have to search through the archives.

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