Naturally Africa Volunteers supports sustainable community development programs and provides opportunities for responsible volunteering.
Naturally Africa Volunteers was established and is run by Marc Crouch and Felicity Milligan. Between them they have over fourteen years of experience working with volunteer organisations and have visited hundreds of projects worldwide.
They previously held senior positions with a Gap year and volunteer travel company in the UK, which provided them with invaluable knowledge of working with volunteers and project operators. This experience included an understanding of what was important to volunteers and areas such as customer service, risk assessment and management.
However, they both felt they wanted to be a little more actively involved in helping the projects to achieve their goals and the work that was being done on the ground. They left their jobs, bought a Land Rover and drove from the UK to South Africa, working with local organisations and volunteer projects en route. They were so impressed and touched by some of these that they were keen to find a way to assist them further in achieving their objectives. When a few of these organisations approached them about the possibility of forming a partnership Naturally Africa Volunteers was born.
However, Marc and Felicity were not ready to return to the UK immediately. They were invited back to Malawi by a local organisation to help with the management and development of its volunteer programmes and they agreed to return for 6 months. The time that they spent at the volunteer projects in Malawi was incredibly rewarding with significant potential to improve standards of living for the local communities. Some projects, such as malaria prevention and education, were even reducing death rates and the incidence of disease.
The experience that Marc and Felicity gained on the ground was also very valuable to them personally, as it gave them an insight into the daily challenges of operating the volunteer projects and managing groups of volunteers effectively. Having completed the drive back to the UK through Central and West Africa they have put this to good use in the model that they have adopted for Naturally Africa Volunteers.
Our organisation "Naturally Africa Volunteers" was founded in 2004 to address need in a disadvantaged area in rural Malawi. Our projects are education focussed in order to make a sustainable difference. Volunteers work alongside local people in order to jointly achieve our aims.
We at Naturally Africa Volunteers provide medical, I.T, teaching, pre-school and sports programs. Whilst having the opportunity to work in your interest area in an insightful setting, you will become a valuable member of our focussed team.
Naturally Africa Volunteers provides opportunities for skilled and non-skilled volunteers to help make a difference in Africa. If you would like to work abroad as a volunteer in Africa, you’ve come to the right place, as our team is experienced in matching the right people to the right projects. We offer a variety of volunteering opportunities in Africa, including teaching, medical, sports, and wildlife conservation.As a volunteer, Africa will offer you challenges and rewards, life changing experiences and unforgettable memories and we will be on hand to share them and support you every step of the way, so get in touch if you would like to help. Contact us now
Whilst on our projects you will be fully supported by our onsite coordinators who are there to give you advice and guidance and ensure you reach your full potential to make a difference. We are experts in matching the right people with the right projects to ensure success for our community projects and the individuals offering their time.
Why choose Naturally Africa Volunteers?
All projects have a local management team: The local organsiations we support, or individuals that run our volunteer projects are there to help you and most importantly they understand the needs and culture of the communities where you will be based. This means that the projects themselves directly benefit local initiatives, or provide employment.
Low volunteer project prices: We aim to keep the fee that you pay to volunteer as low as possible whilst still ensuring acceptable levels of comfort are achieved and without compromising on safety. This in effect means that a relatively small proportion is being spent on our operational and marketing costs and more is going overseas where it should be.
Transparency about how we spend your money: We are happy to be open about where your money goes, as we believe that the proportion we use to ensure that our partner organisations and you receive a good level of service and support is very reasonable. At least 70% of your money is paid to our project partner in-country, which we are confident is high compared with other companies and we are willing to be specific about your chosen project.
All projects are needs as opposed to demand driven: In other words they were not set up simply to give you something to do, but your help will be genuinely welcome and required. All of our projects have strong sustainability objectives. This means that we aim not to create a dependence on the indefinite provision of aid, or donations, but to help people and communities achieve self-sufficiency wherever possible.
You will not be taking local jobs: You will be volunteering in areas where there is a lack of skill, or knowledge locally. In specific cases, such as building a vocational training centre, or distributing mosquito nets, the work that you will be doing may rely to an extent on the funding that you provide as part of your fee. However, you will be assisting in the work on these projects under the supervision, or management of locals, such as a site foreman, therefore creating additional employment.
Naturally Africa Foundation: We have established a charitable trust to raise funds for specific projects through financial donations. Whilst the primary focus of the volunteer programs is to impart skills and knowledge, the projects also have additional funding requirements, in order to develop and successfully achieve their objectives.
Safety and Support: Your safety and wellbeing is a priority. We provide detailed information to prepare you for your project, 24/7 support from experienced project staff in-country and an emergency contact in the UK. All projects have been assessed and measures put in place to minimise any risks involved. Our membership of ABTOT guarantees the financial protection of the money you pay us for your programme. We simply ask that you listen to our advice and respect the project guidelines.
Naturally Africa Volunteers now supports a small network of locally operated volunteer projects across Africa. This partnership is very much based on co-operation, trust and open communication. This is also reflected in the approach that has been taken to recruiting volunteers. The focus is on establishing a community that each volunteer can become a part of and hence sharing the responsibility of achieving long-term objectives.
During the years we have spent working closely with the people we support we have improved life for many different areas of the community. We have set up a successful pre-school feeding program to tackle malnutrition in the most vulnerable age group. We have taught local medical volunteers to become support workers in their communities. We have worked with school children to improve their English to allow them to progress through school. We have given students in rural areas I.T skills.