The majority of people living below the poverty line are women. Many girls around the world are still denied a basic education and women continue to dominate the world's illiterate population.
By supporting women in society and giving them access to equal opportunities such as an education, jobs and health care, everyone benefits. Infant mortality rates go down, more children stay in school, incomes increase and the cycle of poverty can be broken. By volunteering on this programme with GVI, you will join a dedicated team of international volunteers assisting on sustainable and invaluable women’s empowerment initiatives.
Although gender equality has come a long way for women from disadvantaged communities in South Africa, there is still quite a lot that needs to be done to ensure women have equal opportunities and skills to participate actively and effectively in South Africa’ economy. In the traditional township and rural culture, gender discrimination stems from patriarchal cultural and religious beliefs. This has spilled over into the workplace, especially in senior management roles, with only 16% held by women.
GVI aims to assist in gender equality through various educational, healthcare and income initiatives. We also aim to facilitate and encourage dialogues between empowered women, helping them to share positive stories of change and increasing the opportunity for them to become more involved in key community issues.
Contribute to impactful and sustainable women’s empowerment initiatives; explore Cape Town and revel in all its natural beauty; immerse yourself into a fascinating culture; experience South Africa through the eyes of the locals; visit iconic landmarks like Table Mountain and Cape Point; enjoy life in one of the world’s most beautiful cities and make a serious difference in the lives of girls and women in the local community.
"I worked with GVI as a volunteer every summer from 2006 to 2012 and had the opportunity to take part in most inspiring projects where GVI is promoting community development and sustainable livelihoods. Although GVI has been involved in different projects in different continents, all of them were designed to be holistic and focus on people’s needs and resources. This integrated conception of development caught my attention from the beginning, and has taught me that education sits at the <span id="59247313-6ed6-4747-8d29-24ad75801688" class="GINGER_SOFTWARE_mark">center</span> of all efforts to enhance the resilience of fragile communities all over the world."
What's Not Included
While living in the idyllic town Of Gordon’s Bay, you will be sharing accommodation in houses/apartments with your fellow volunteers. Rooms are generally shared between 2 -3 people, with access to hot running water, electricity and western style bathrooms. The accommodation is located in safe and secure communities with plenty of amenities nearby.
Upon your arrival, you will receive an introductory orientation by the staff covering health and safety, a basic local language lesson, a tour of the township, an introduction to our local partners and some initial training to prepare you as much as possible for life on the project.
From Monday to Friday you will be working at your volunteer placement in the local community. Volunteers can expect to be involved in numerous facets of our women’s empowerment programme depending on the needs of the projects at that given time and as such, should be prepared to be flexible and adapt to changes in the field. From providing one-on-one educational lessons with girl children in local township schools, to hosting alternative income and health workshops around the community or working in local educational centres, all your time and effort will be geared towards uplifting the women of South Africa and providing long-term solutions to gender imbalance and discrimination.
The weekends is your time to explore the beautiful country you find yourself in! With a myriad of activities to choose from such as shark cave diving, hiking through the Silvermine Nature Reserve, taking a cable car up Table Mountain, experiencing the bohemian lifestyle of Kalk Bay and wine tasting, you will be spoilt for choice with immersing yourself in the culture, natural beauty and local wildlife.
What's Not Included
After 20 years of democracy in South Africa, women are still struggling to compete with men, especially in the work place. Women living in township and rural areas are often in the dark about opportunities available to them and have been socialized into taking lesser roles by traditional mind-sets
. By ignoring this gender imbalance, women will continue to become less likely to be employed and increasingly vulnerable to social ailments
such as poverty. In order to counteract this, GVI has set up numerous initiatives in local communities to help give women and girls a more equal future.
Volunteers on this project will have the opportunity to help empower disadvantaged local women in the following ways:
How this project makes a difference
- Providing access to education on literacy, rights and life skills
- Hosting alternative income generation skills workshops
- Educating South African women on various health topics and prenatal care
- Providing additional educational support to young girls in local schools
Through the various facets that this project focuses on, GVI is able to turn the tables on gender discrimination and highlight how gender parity is key to South Africa’s economic and social prosperity. By educating local women on family health, we can reduce infant and child mortality rates, thus creating healthier families and generations. By giving women access to the same local resources as men such as an education, we can help more kids stay in school, thereby increasing the income threshold of that household, break the poverty cycle and help women become more financially independent.
What's Not Included
Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate in programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Below is some information on trips and travel options in South Africa.
Optional Side Trips
Cape Town Cultural and Activity Weekend
This trip includes 2 nights in Cape Town near Long Street so that you can sample the lively weekend city life. On Friday afternoon you will travel through to Cape Town after finishing your volunteer work. The Saturday is a free day and you may wish to take the opportunity to visit some of the following iconic Cape Town attractions: Robben Island, Table Mountain, District 6 Museum, Castle of Good Hope or the Green Market Square craft markets. Sunday includes a full day in Cape Point and a visit to an African Penguin colony. You will have the opportunity to explore the Cape Point nature reserve on a mountain bike ride where you may see antelope, zebra, ostrich, seals and possibly even whales. During the day you will enjoy a picnic lunch on one of the reserves beautiful beaches.
Visit a private game reserve which is located one and a half hours from Cape Town. Here you will enjoy lunch and an afternoon safari before returning home. Transfers to and from the project accommodation are included. There are many other fantastic trips in the area around Cape Town that can easily be arranged once in-country such as shark cage diving, skydiving, wine tasting tours, Hermanus day trips for whale watching (seasonal) or a typical township experience.
Please note that anyone booking on this project for the two week option will need to extend their stay if they want to take part in more side trips.
Further Travelling Opportunities
South Africa has such a wealth of fantastic opportunities for further travel. In Cape Town, you have easy access to the famous Garden Route, chances to explore the Cederberg Mountain range or take more time to enjoy the vibrancy of Cape Town. Other possibilities include the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains, the beauty of the Kalahari Desert, historic Zululand, the fantastic Southern Coast, the world-renowned National Parks of Kruger and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, and many more amazing options in this stunning country.
Meet Andy, our brilliant community officer in Cape Town, South Africa. In the States he was involved with Habitat for Humanity and volunteering at the local soup kitchen, but coming to South Africa with GVI was his first time volunteering abroad.
He first heard about GVI through a friend who had nothing but good things to say about it. So he looked into it a bit more and saw how much of the focus is on sustainability which he really appreciated and so shortly after signed up to come out as a volunteer. Since then he has joined the Cape Town team as a valuable and energetic member.
His favourite part of the whole experience of GVI has been working with all the kids and our project partners at the sanctuary where the Cape Town team operates.
"Seeing them grow and progress and being able to contribute to it has been beyond rewarding."
Transport and Logistics Manager
Introducing the amazing Moses, our transport and logistics manager in Cape Town, South Africa. What he loves most about working at GVI is seeing the hard work volunteers do in the township as well as creating a positive environment for the little ones.
Moses is an invaluable member of the Cape Town team, ensuring all the projects run smoothly.
He was recently married (2015) where he travelled for the first time in his life to the UK. He enjoyed the vast differences between the ways the British celebrate Christmas to how it is celebrated in South Africa.
Meet Alex, our awesome education officer in Cape Town, South Africa. She got the travel bug from a very young age but only travelled solo from the beginning of 2014. She circumnavigated the globe, starting in South Africa volunteering with another organisation teaching in KwaZulu-Natal and continued to Indonesia, Australia and across the USA before finding her way back to Cape Town and GVI. As soon as she left South Africa, she knew she wanted to come back and GVI stood out as the organisation she wanted to work for.
She has a degree in philosophy and psychology and believes an open mind is a must-have for any traveller.
"If you try to over plan or over-prepare, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Just go with whatever happens. The best travelling experiences I’ve had are when everything has gone wrong."
Meet Karissa, our vibrant country expert for our Cape Town and Thailand, Phang Nga, hubs. She loves travelling and has had her fair share of travelling too. Her first solo travel was to New Zealand to work as an Au Pair, followed by Fiji for over a year. She then travelled to Thailand, where she met her South African partner and worked as an English Teacher at a public High School.
Karissa is TEFL qualified and has first-hand experience of working abroad. What first attracted her to join GVI? “The amazing volunteer projects and stunning locations across the world.”
She moved to Cape Town in November 2015 from her home country, the USA, and is loving every minute of being able to call South Africa her new home!
Assistant Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven country director for all our projects in South Africa. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.
When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!
Service Learning Manager Cape Town
A sustainable development extraordinaire with a great commitment to create sustainable solutions for local communities. Katie has worked in South Africa for many years before her role with GVI and after completing her Master's degree in International Education she joined our team of professionals.
Her credentials include over eight years of volunteering, teaching, managing, and leading international education programs around the world. This includes working in zero-waste policy communities in New Zealand, and in an orphan bear refugee center in Croatia.
As our Service Learning Manager she is excited to use her experience designing experiential education programmes and managing community programmes.
Director of Programs
Meet Danny, our Director of Programs. Although he’s based in Playa del Carmen, Danny oversees the development and running of all of our field operations. He started out with GVI as our Country Director in Mexico and quickly became an invaluable part of the team.
Although being Director of Programs is a pretty demanding job, Danny manages to find time to do the other things he loves in-between. He’s an avid photographer and is always training for a triathlon or ironman.
What’s Danny’s favourite aspect of his job? “Starting new projects – we get lots of request for assistance and it’s difficult to decide when funds are limited. The evaluation process and those initial talks with local partners are very interesting. Seeing projects grow from an idea to full programs is very exciting. I also love the relationships you create with local organisations, they become friends and we jointly work to achieve the project aims.”