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Lancaster University InterVol Society (LUIS) is currently recruiting volunteers to take part in a “fantastic grass-roots development project” in Uganda, run by the charity Little Big Africa.
The project aims to aid the people of Uganda by protecting the natural water sources, teaching better hygiene practices, and establishing better sanitation facilities. A further aim is to teach people the valuable skill of building energy efficient, fuel saving stoves.
The Society states that “some 6,000 children in the world die every day from diseases associated with a lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene”, which LUIS equates to twenty jumbo jets crashing every single day. The Society urges students to get involved, and pledges to assist in “organising flights, getting to know the other volunteers and fundraising”, as well as providing support in the form of past volunteers answering any questions a potential volunteer may have.
The Lancaster’s society is part of the national InterVol organisation, and the Lancaster branch was established in 2011. Though a relatively new organisation in Lancaster, InterVol itself strives to bring together information and advice on volunteering overseas, stating that the experience should have “positive outcomes for both volunteers and local communities”, and that choosing to volunteer for projects such as Little Big Africa is both fulfilling and affordable.
LUIS President Sam Poskitt described the formation of the society as a “crazy idea” which occurred to him whilst hiking with a friend, with whom he discussed the concept of helping implement sustainable development projects in African villages.
“At the time, it just seemed like a whim that blew away in the wind, yet here I am in 2013, fronting a society which sends students from Lancaster to do just that,” Poskitt said of the Society’s background.
Poskitt hopes to engage others in the project and show them just how wonderful an experience it is, and states that he has already been overwhelmed by the response the Society received in Freshers’ Week.
With regard to the potential benefits for the volunteers, Poskitt added, “It’s a terrible cliché, but it shows you really can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.” Having worked on the project himself, he said of his experience: “The project really opened my eyes, not to the poverty and inequality in the world, but to how people can still keep positive in the face of poverty and a lack of opportunity”.
Another volunteer spoke highly of the Little Big Africa project, saying the charity is “really careful about ensuring the project has a long-lasting effect and place[s] big emphasis on community engagement in all aspects of the project.”
By taking part, you could be changing lives for good.
InterVol states that, although volunteers are required to pay £710, this money goes towards resources used in the project and represents “excellent value for money” in comparison to similar projects run by other associations which can cost thousands of pounds. The project will run for eight weeks, from June until August, and the society emphasises that if the project sounds “more exciting than cleaning up a smashed jar of Bolognese in Aisle 3 of your local Tesco”, you should get in touch. LUIS will have a stall at Re-freshers fair on the 22nd January, and asks that those who are interested speak to them at the fair, which runs from 4pm to 7pm in the Great Hall, or contact them either via Facebook, email (email@example.com), or Twitter (@LancsIntervol).