Jersey Overseas Aid celebrates 50 years of volunteering
Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA), the island’s official, publicly-funded relief and development agency, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its overseas volunteering programme, Community Work Projects.
As part of this celebratory year, JOA is calling on Islanders who have taken part in a Community Work Project to get in touch with their memories, photos and videos, which will be shared at events taking place throughout the year.
Since 1972, JOA has facilitated parties of volunteers to work with communities in developing countries for up to four weeks. As well as bringing lasting benefits to poor and vulnerable people, these Community Work Projects serve to raise awareness in Jersey of global development issues, and also play an important part in Islanders’ own personal development. Many have led to lasting links with communities all over the world, and several local charities were born from volunteers’ experiences abroad. By 2021 over 1,000 volunteers had completed over 100 projects in some of the world’s poorest communities.
“JOA’s mission is to translate the generosity, skills and compassion of the people of Jersey into effective assistance for the world’s most vulnerable people – and the Community Work Projects programme delivers exactly this. We are incredibly proud that the volunteering scheme has reached its 50th year and even more thrilled that we continue to be oversubscribed with applicants for every project. It says an incredible amount about the people of Jersey that so many Islanders are willing to give their time and their skills to help build schools and community centres, construct water pumps in rural villages and build critical infrastructure, such as dams, that enable some of the poorest people in the world to build themselves a future. We should all be immensely proud of JOA’s Community Work Projects and those who volunteer for the programme,” said Deputy Carolyn Labey, Minister for International Development and Chair of JOA.
In 2022, JOA hopes to send two cohorts of volunteers to undertake Community Work Projects. The first group will be flying out to Kenya in June to work with JOA’s partner, Excellent Development, building sand dams in the South of the country. The second group will be travelling to Nepal to work alongside local charity, the Gurkha Welfare Trust Jersey, later in the year.
Each Community Work Project is organised by JOA and is delivered in the field by one of JOA’s partner organisations. Each group is usually formed of about twelve volunteers and is led by an experienced team leader. Participants contribute towards their travel expenses and JOA funds the additional costs of the trip. JOA also funds materials and supplies necessary in order to complete the projects. Volunteers participate in training and team-building exercises in the months before departure.
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