THE AFRICAN IMPACT WAY
InfoRMATION for Parents
We understand that this might be the first time your child is leaving home on an overseas adventure without you, and we understand that, as a parent, you have many questions and concerns. We’d like to put your mind at ease and have listed many previously asked questions here.
Yes. At all our projects we have an experienced volunteer manager meeting volunteers at the airport upon arrival and transferring them safely to the project. Prior to arrival, the manager at the project will contact your child and clearly state where to meet and give an idea of those arriving at the same time.
Although this is by no means a regular occurrence, our volunteers do sometimes get ill whilst on placement. The Volunteer Coordinator for the project will ensure that your child receives immediate medical assistance.
In the event of a serious illness or accident, each volunteer will be covered by their insurance policy, which is why we require all volunteers to have adequate insurance which includes repatriation. We will keep in constant contact with you as the parent, to update you on the situation.
Many of our volunteers are traveling away from home for the first time. It is not unusual for volunteers to feel homesick from time to time. We make every effort to help them integrate with the other volunteers and encourage them to fully engage with the project that they are on.
Most of our staff members have volunteered before themselves, and can understand and empathise with your child. Through our friendly and comforting approach we find the homesickness goes away pretty quickly!
Every African Impact volunteer is provided with a comprehensive pre-departure pack which includes the full details of their destination and project, as well as the address and contact telephone numbers of their accommodation and managers on the ground.
Communication to, or within Africa is not always as it is back home – it can sometimes be slow and difficult. A telephone will always be available for you to call your child, and on most of our projects there are also internet connections available (although depending on the location, this could be intermittent).
We encourage all volunteers to call home and let their families know they have arrived safely, and to regularly phone or email to tell you about all the fun they are having! Volunteers can also purchase local SIM cards for their mobile phones at most destinations.
We make every effort to ensure all volunteers are safe during their placement. Our teams on the ground are trained and experienced and ready to handle all and any situations that may arise. Our volunteers are always accompanied by an African Impact staff member while on project.
Volunteers are briefed fully about the area that they are living and working in, with advice on how to go about their daily life as a volunteer. We are also very well accepted in the local communities we work in, having been partnered with them for many years.
Obviously caution always needs to be taken when working with wild animals on a conservation project; however, our experienced staff will provide training and support throughout the placement to ensure the safety of every volunteer.
Throughout their placement, your child will have the support and guidance of our experienced Volunteer Coordinators. They are part of our greater African Impact support team, which will provide competent 24-hour field support and assistance.
In the event of emergency, professional and skilled operators such as medical air rescue services and competent medical practitioners are available as part of our support network. Your child’s travel insurance will also ensure that emergency assistance is on hand timeously.
All costs include transport to and from the project specific pick-up point, as well as all accommodation and meals and transfers during project working hours. Volunteers should bring money to pay for telephone calls and internet use and for items of a personal nature such as toiletries or gifts.
In addition, on many of our projects, volunteers have the option of enjoying organized trips to nearby sights and attractions. There is an additional cost to be paid locally to cover these excursions, and any visas they may require for border crossings.
Volunteer accommodation usually takes the form of a free-standing house, chalet, or in some cases, a backpackers lodge. Our volunteers usually stay in rooms with 2-6 beds (bunks) with clean duvets and bedding. There are separate rooms for males and females.
The volunteer accommodation often has access to a swimming pool, lounge and entertainment area as well as a resource room where they can plan for the next day’s projects or learn about other African Impact projects and initiatives.
Project meals are provided three times a day and are simple and healthy. Some of our projects will arrange themed evenings where volunteers are encouraged to get involved in some of the cooking (for example a cultural evening, Hawaiian night, etc).
The water at almost all of our projects is safe to drink, but bottled water is also readily available. If your child has any dietary requirements we will endeavour to accommodate it as far as possible.
Weekends are a great opportunity to explore the local area or simply to relax. We arrange extra trips and excursions with reputable tour partners. While African Impact staff members don’t chaperone volunteers during their free time, they will be accompanied by trained tour guides.
African Impact has been in operation for over 13 years and we’ve facilitated over 2500 volunteers in the past year alone. Our credentials and past volunteer testimonials speak for themselves and we’re proud to have won many awards which we’re stringently vetted for. We are proud members of numerous responsible tourism organisations and have a large network of partners both in Africa and abroad.
We also have a strong Alumni Network and Ambassador Program for past volunteers who wish to stay involved in raising awareness for our projects and we’d be happy to put any one of them in touch with you if you’d like to speak to someone from your own country who has volunteered with us before.