Volunteers have supported Global Communities programs in 28 countries around the world for more than 15 years. We mobilize individuals or teams of volunteers with varying levels of expertise on assignments that vary in length, subject matter, and scope. Our volunteers make a difference by engaging with communities, governments, the private sector and NGOs as partners for good – bringing together complementary strengths and shared responsibilities to work toward a common goal. Joining our volunteer community also delivers many intangible benefits for the volunteers themselves. Volunteers access a truly unique opportunity that allows them to experience new places and people and to grow and challenge their own perspectives. Cindy Owens, a former volunteer in Georgia, reminisced, “It was a grand adventure traveling to remote villages, eating delicious food, meeting talented artisans, sharing my own business and textile knowledge and soaking up a culture rich in diverse history!”
There are two ways in which Global Communities uses international volunteers to support our programs. The Visiting International Professionals (VIP) program has been the traditional avenue. Through this program we operationalize our commitment to bring U.S.-based volunteers to the field to enhance a wide variety of technical and operational program activities. The second way is through our new Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) partnership, where we leverage our extensive global reach and expertise to deliver high-quality community-focused programming, supported by volunteers, to drive sustainable and inclusive economic development.
Visiting International Professionals (VIP) Program
The innovative Visiting International Professionals (VIP) Program was started in 1998 when volunteers were sent to work on Global Communities programs in Jordan, Poland, and the Philippines. Today, volunteers in the VIP program have contributed over 3,000 days of work to Global Communities projects in 28 countries around the world. VIPs have come from a variety of backgrounds and typically have at least five years of experience in their fields. Areas of expertise have ranged from organizational development to IT professionals to youth coordinators to construction managers to microfinance specialists. [See VIP Profiles here] The VIPs that have offered their time and skills to benefit Global Communities programs include: a former congresswoman, bank officers, corporate executives and graduate students. The nearly 200 volunteers to date have worked overseas and in the US on a variety of assignments, which can last from two to twelve weeks. VIPs work side by side with local firms, organizations, and institutions to transfer knowledge and ideas which will benefit the local host community. Each VIP is highly valued as a contributor to our program team worldwide, bringing fresh ideas and enthusiasm in addition to their skills and experience. Read more about the VIP Program here.
Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA)
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) founded VEGA in 2004 as a membership organization comprised of organizations who demonstrate a commitment to volunteerism in the pursuit of international economic growth. At the same time it is also an easy and quick mechanism for USAID missions to initiate economic growth oriented programs in their countries. All VEGA programs focus on economic growth defined broadly, which includes the following technical areas: Agriculture & Food Security, Enterprise Development, Environment & Energy, Financial Services, Tourism, and Trade & Investment. The use of volunteers in the programs is required and of special significance. Volunteers are selected based on program needs and the volunteers’ area and level of expertise. VEGA volunteers are usually seasoned professionals and/or specific subject matter experts. VEGA assignments vary in length and scope. Global Communities joined VEGA in 2016, and will be implementing the YouLead! Program as a sub-awardee to fellow VEGA member, International Executive Service Corps (IESC).
Apply for the volunteer opportunities below if you are looking for a way to make a positive difference in our global community by donating your time, unique skills, and perspective: