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Cape Town Community Development Experience

Contribute to Vital Community Development Initiatives in South Africa


Program Information

Travel to South Africa and join a construction project in iconic Cape Town's surrounding township areas, working to improve infrastructure and the general learning environment for local disadvantaged children. Immerse yourself in a South African township community while supporting our long term projects and experience a unique opportunity to work with local families.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Overview

Overview

Immerse yourself in a South African township community while supporting our long-term projects and experience a unique opportunity to work with local families.

Volunteers will work at educational facilities assisting with much needed construction projects. These centres typically take care of children from abusive and neglectful families, providing them with a loving, caring home. Students will work on a construction project with one of our partners, such as one of the township educare centres, for some hands on practical work improving the infrastructure and learning environment. The exact work will depend on the needs of our partners at the time but typically may involve some basic maintenance and renovation work or painting and brightening up the space with murals or other artwork.

Taking part in our programmes will contribute to long-term goals and further development and empowerment of this community.

Highlights

Contribute to our long-term community projects and experience first hand, life in a township; enjoy stunning views of the mountain ranges including Table Mountain; accommodation is in a private and secure compound.

Location

This trip takes you to the breathtaking city of Cape Town, and to a coastal community 45 minutes from the city where you will be based. The city is dominated by the magnificent Table Mountain and Lions Head, standing guard over the CBD (central business district), Camps Bay and the waterfront suburbs of Greenpoint and Seapoint. Renowned for its natural wonders, the city will never fail to amaze.

GVI works in an informal community 40 minutes from Cape Town and in the small sea suburb of Gordon’s Bay. Having been involved in the area since 2008 (and South Africa for almost 15 years) we have established relationships with Ikhayalethemba Village Care Centre, Nceduluntu Educare Centre, Nceduluntu Grade R and ACJ Primary School.

Cape Town's short, mid, and long-term objectives

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Cape Town:


  1. Improve the quality of education in Nomzamo and Zola.

  2. Promote gender equality in the local community

  3. Increase the health and wellbeing of less privileged people in the community

  4. Increase in-country capacity by providing training to less advantaged people in South Africa


 

Program Details

Program Type: Schools , University
Location: Africa - South Africa
 

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Main Guardian Details

Covid-19 Response

Health and Hygiene

For over 20 years, GVI has prioritised the health and safety of our staff, participants, partners and local community members. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, GVI has created the GVI health and hygiene team to put in place new standards of cleanliness, norms and behaviours that meet or exceed international recommendations to ensure the ongoing safety of GVI’s participants, staff and communities around the world. Internationally recommended practices, such as advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the governments Australia, UK and US, continue to be monitored and the standards are likely to change if and when international advice changes.


The work GVI is contributing to across the globe remains important and the following measures allow our participants to continue to join GVI’s programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. The following changes to our existing protocols have been made by the GVI health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities.


Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19
pandemic – including destination ratings, flight bookings, and tests.

What's It like?

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.


We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.


Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.


Meet the team - Senior Field Management

Sophie

Director of Bushwsie
Sophie is the Bushwise Director and helped set up the company thirteen years ago. Since then she has been instrumental in helping to expand and improve Bushwise to make it what it is today. Originally from England she has been living in South Africa for twenty-three years. She is also an accomplished artist having displayed her work in Cape Town and various other places.

Trevor

General Manager at Bushwise
Trevor is our General Manager at Bushwise. He was born in Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe but grew up in South Africa. After spending most of his life in the corporate world, he realised that being outdoors was his true calling!

Zoe Biggs

Program Manager

Pleased to introduce you to Zoe, who is the Program Manager at our base in Limpopo. Her journey started out with a six month internship with GVI back in 2016. Prior to this Zoe studied zoology in Australia for three years before coming over to Limpopo, South Africa.

Meet the team - In-Country Staff

Gerhard

Trainer at Bushwise
Gerhard is South African with a professional Lead Guide and Field Guide qualification, and a Diploma in Zoology. He is our trainer at Bushwise and our resident singer and songwriter. His songs have been aired on a local radio station and used in a religious stage production.

Kim

Sales Manager at Bushwise
Kim handles all the sales for Bushwise and is also involved in the social media marketing. She first stepped onto a game reserve working in hospitality and found that that was the place for her! She loves snakes but is terrified of spiders.

Sharin

Admin Manager
Sharin is from South Africa and is our Admin Manager at Bushwise. She joined Bushwise after having been in the corporate world and lodge industry and has now been here for four years. She has a love-hate relationship with scorpions and has been stung twenty-four times in three years.

Sophie

Assistant Program Manager
This is Sophie, she is our Assistant Program Manager at GVI Limpopo here in South Africa. Originally from Northern Ireland, Sophie's journey with GVI started after attending a 6-month internship in Karongwe. She loves meeting the volunteers, living in the bushveld and seeing the wildlife on the reserve.

Vaughan

Trainer at Bushwise
Vaughan is one of our Trainers at Bushwise and has a special interest in entomology, the study of insects and their relationship with humans. He is from the local area, having grown up in the South African bush. He has a background in scientific research but feels that guiding is a perfect platform from which to preach conservation.

Your Impact

All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.


Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.


Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.


Our Limpopo based programs are primarily aimed at developing the wildlife conservation sector, boosting the local economy by providing additional skills in the field, and providing high quality training to students from all over the world.


As such, the main UN Sustainable Development Goals of this project include #15, Life on Land, #10, Reducing Inequality and #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth.


Project Objectives

GVI Mahlahla, Limpopo’s Long-term Objectives:


1. Focusing on training students to the highest standard possible, in both theoretical knowledge and practical experience.


2. Improving the employability prospects of field guides within the conservation industry, providing them with the skills necessary to specialise within their areas of interest.


3. Teaching up to field guiding level 2 field guide standards, providing more than just the basics offered at training providers elsewhere on the continent.


4. Growing Bushwise Recruitment, a branch of the business dedicated to finding jobs for participants after the successful completion of a six month program, and a six month placement.


5. Protecting and preserving the natural wildlife habitat of the Limpopo area.


Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


 


We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.


 

Our 10 Ethical Commitments

 

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


 

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


 

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


 

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


 

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


 

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


 

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


 

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


 

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


 

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.


Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.


However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.


Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and will also be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many different activities that you can get involved in during your free time, or before and after your program.


On our community programs, the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore topics like local cuisine and religion, or how sustainable development challenges are affecting local contexts.


Hoedspruit

Hoedspruit is a town situated at the foot of the Klein Drakensberg, in the Limpopo province of South Africa, on the railway line from Tzaneen to Kaapmuiden. From horse trails, reptile centers to wine and gin tastings, the local town gives you many opportunities to experience South African culture over and above your experience on campus.

Diversity

The country has celebrated over twenty years of democracy, usher in by the inauguration of former president Nelson Mandela in a historical moment in 1994. Students are encouraged to learn more about both before and during their time visiting the country and engaging with the local population.

 

Culture

South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th largest country in the world by land area, with a diverse cultural population of over 56 million people. South Africa is often referred to as the rainbow nation to describe the country's multicultural diversity.

 

Language

The majority of the population of South Africa is divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. In Hoedspruit and while on campus, the primary language of communication will be English.

Karongwe private nature and wildlife reserve

Boasting more than 20 thousand acres of open savannah, Karongwe features some of the best wildlife viewing of any private South African wildlife reserve. It features the entire big five, including the elusive leopard.

Limpopo

The Northernmost region of South Africa and home to the Kruger National Park, the Limpopo province features some of the best opportunities for wildlife in Southern Africa. It is sparsely populated and borders Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

South Africa

Possessing one of the highest biodiversities in the world and the home to many of the most threatened African wildlife, South Africa is a nature, wildlife, and adventure lover’s paradise, featuring species like lions, cheetah, rhinos, and many other  unique species.


Additional Teacher Info

GVI runs curriculum, CAS and experience focussed service learning opportunities around the world on multi-award winning trips. With over 25,000 travellers since inception, GVI’s know how to ensure safe, life-changing challenges that make a real difference, fostering global citizenship and intercultural understanding. Staffed and resourced by GVI all year round, our projects offer unique opportunities to engage in long-term, high impact work, whilst experiencing deep cultural immersion and some adventure.

A teacher travels free with groups of ten or more students!

GVI provides 24/7 support from our experienced staff who are based full-time on the ground, as well as support from HQ. An experienced group leader will accompany the group, taking overall responsibility for the safety of the group.

Please note prices are subject to seasonal fluctuation and will vary depending upon the needs of the group.

**Optional extras include travel insurance and flight services




Example Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Cape Town Airport and Welcome to Base

GVI will meet the group at Cape Town International Airport and transfer them to their base in Gordon’s Bay for the upcoming days.

There will be a welcome presentation and introduction to the GVI staff, history and background of the projects as well as health and safety requirements for your involvement with GVI. After some time to settle into the accommodation, and perhaps having a meal (depending on your arrival time) students will be taken on an orientation walking tour of Gordon’s Bay.

An afternoon language class will help to familiarise students with the local culture and basic phrases to be used while on the project. South Africa has eleven official languages, but luckily we will focus on just one!

Day 2-5: Service element

Students will be transported to the project sites and will be introduced to the local community and other local partners we work with. Depending on the requirements at the time, students may get involved with children at Ikhayalethemba Care Centre, Nceduluntu Centre and the Grade R classroom. There will be opportunities to get involved in creative activities, basic healthcare and hygiene programmes, sporting and physical development.

The group could also elect to get involved with a construction project for the duration of their trip. This may be in the form of mural painting, classroom maintenance and painting, playground maintenance etc. The exact work will greatly depend on the needs of the childcare centres at the time. This is a great opportunity for students to work as a team in achieving an overall goal that will have a great effect on the community members and local partners.

Day 6: Cultural Day

Today we venture to the beautiful city of Cape Town! We will tailor this day to the group’s interests. They can choose from a number of activities; District Six Museum, Township Tour, V&A Waterfront and Aquarium visit, city tour, Silvermine South African National Parks reserve hike and swim in the reservoir followed by braai lunch, Boulders Bay Penguins and Simon’s Town tour. The group might elect to travel by cable car up majestic Table Mountain or take in some of South Africa’s fascinating history by visiting Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated.

Day 7: A Fond Farewell

GVI field staff transfer the team back to the airport and bid them a fond farewell! GVI will endeavour to keep the group informed of any updates there might be in the field and with particular reference to the projects volunteers contributed to during their time in South Africa, through "GVI Live" on social media.

**Your trip can be extended to include additional side trips and / or further service work.

Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.


 

COVID-19 Safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures are in place throughout each GVI program. Learn more.

Support

Once a participant books, our support team will oversee their pre-departure journey. This helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. We will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.


Safety

Once a participant books, our support team will oversee their pre-departure journey. This helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. We will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.


Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19
pandemic – including destination ratings, flight bookings, and tests.

Health & Safety Case Studies

19 Nov

How GVI upholds health and safety

It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays just can’t achieve. This is why thousands of people around the world participate in paid GVI programs.


1 Nov

GVI's commitment to safety and security

As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the health and safety of our participants, staff, and local community members at all of our 20+ bases around the world.


6 Nov

How GVI remains prepared for natural disasters

The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes a nasty turn, we are prepared to respond to stormy situations.


5 Nov

How GVI manages participants expectations

Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations around a program are created, the GVI team takes immediate action to ensure that the situation rectified.


What's Included

General
Groups

A rest and relaxation activity/excursion

24/7 backup and support

A dedicated trip co-ordinator

Access to local medical facilities

Comprehensive health and safety procedures (Emergency Action Plans and Risk Assessments)

First aid equipment

All meals

Group leader and teacher

Highly experienced and well qualified GVI field staff

In-country transport is arranged

Pre-departure information

Up-to-date safety and country information

Exclusions


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