For those of you who missed it Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times recently wrote an article putting forth what I think is a great idea to move international volunteering forward.
Here’s a brief snippet,
“In my mind, Teach for the World would be a one-year program placing young Americans in schools in developing countries. The Americans might teach English or computer skills, or coach basketball or debate teams.
The program would be open to Americans 18 and over. It could be used for a gap year between high school and college, but more commonly would offer a detour between college and graduate school or the real world.
The host country would provide room and board through a host family. To hold down costs, the Americans would be unpaid and receive only airplane tickets, a local cellphone and a tiny stipend to cover bus fares and anti-malaria bed nets.
This would be a government-financed effort to supplement an American public diplomacy outreach that has been eviscerated over the last few decades. A similar program, WorldTeach, was founded by a group of Harvard students in 1986 and does a terrific job. But without significant support from the American government, it often must charge participants thousands of dollars for a year’s volunteer work.
Teach for the World also would be an important education initiative for America itself. Fewer than 30 percent of Americans have passports, and only one-quarter can converse in a second language. And the place to learn languages isn’t an American classroom but in the streets of Quito or Dakar or Cairo.” To read the full article click here.
The Building Bridges Coalition’s goals are:
1. To improve the quality of international volunteer service
2. To scale up the number of international volunteers sent abroad annually
3. To maximize positive impacts of international service in communities throughout the world, and at home
…and there also was a goal to double the number of people volunteering internationally by 2010 which as far as I know was not reached.
How can we as an industry adapt Kristof’s idea to utilize the BBC’s membership to actually increase the number of volunteers and in doing so make a bigger difference??
Let’s start the debate!