Community Outreach, Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe

The Greenline Africa Trust is dedicated to funding and initiating community focused, long term projects in the rural area around Victoria Falls.

Their four pillars of Health, Education, Livelihoods and Biodiversity are the foundations of all their projects, which support vulnerable individuals and communities. The Trust is focused on poverty alleviation work, and financially supports a number of local farmers and child-headed households.

Volunteers help permanent Trust staff deliver sustainable solutions to marginalised local communities, improving livelihoods through participating in projects focused on income generation and skills training. You will be involved in grass-roots projects in the area, working alongside community leaders and school authorities. These include; food intervention programmes, school feeding projects, adult education and development, community conservation and agriculture projects, water aid and the delivery of healthcare programmes.

Why should I volunteer on this project?

A key objective of the Trust is to develop a sprit of volunteerism, encompassing  local and international communities. Volunteers demonstrate what it is possible to accomplish by working together, and encourage a sense of pride in team achievements. The Trust is a not-for-profit organisation, and relies on volunteers to ensure the continuation of its long-term building, education and environmental projects.

Quick Facts

Who can join: Anyone aged 18 years and over (families are welcome)
How long can I stay for: 1 - 12 weeks
Accommodation: Volunteer house - twin rooms
Transfer time: 40 minutes
Pick up from: Victoria Falls
Meals: 3 meals a day included
Project numbers: 8
Start dates: Any day througout the year
How much: from $850

Project goals

The vision of the Greenline Africa Trust is to create a better life for marginalised women, children and youth. The Trust works full time with vulnerable communities to initiate, develop, implement and support sustainable, long term projects focusing on their four pillars of Livelihoods, Health, Education and Biodiversity Management (the protection, conservation and management of natural resources).

The goal of the volunteer programme is to provide support for ongoing projects within the community, and to enable the Trust to sustain the projects long term, or deliver them to full completion. Many families face extreme hardship, and require support that is not always adequately provided in the area, and volunteers provide assistance wherever it is most needed at the time.

Volunteers also play a vital role in motivating communities to develop a spirit of self-improvement, creating a unified sense of purpose and a pride in their achievements. The value of inter-cultural exchange, international awareness and empathy, can also never be under-estimated to the positivity within a community.

You can be sure on this project that your days will be filled with interesting work that is genuinely needed, and you will always be doing something purposeful.

The four pillars:

Livelihoods: 

  • To facilitate links between communities and businesses in Victoria Falls town, and to support local farmers in their community gardens
  • Provide opportunities for skills training and development at the Dibutibu Community Centre
  • Support local women-headed households with homestead maintenance and agricultural assistance
  • Facilitate business opportunities for community members

Health

  • Support the local clinic in the provision of medical supplies and building maintenance
  • Undertake feeding programmes for schools
  • Food intervention programmes for families under extreme hardship

Education 

  • Provide safe and adequate facilities for learning and play, focusing on ECD and pre-school
  • Maintain school gardens (an additional income stream for the school, and source of nutrition for children) 
  • Support teaching staff in the provision of educational materials and motivational support

Biodiversity

  • Manage invasive species and provide indigenous trees for replanting in the community
  • Address human-wildlife conflict situations e.g. through the instigation of a bee fence to stop elephant damaging crops and property
  • Address small animal and bird poaching issues through education and ownership programmes

Background

The Greenline Africa Trust was founded in 2013 by local Zimbabwean environmentalists, Charlene Hewat, Namo Chuma and Veronica Chapman. The trust is firmly behind the philosophy of integration between wildlife, communities and sustainable poverty alleviation solutions.

Greenline Africa is focused on work within the rural areas around the Victoria Falls and Hwange Rural Districts. These areas are classed as Region 5 - characterised by low rainfall, high temperatures and extremely poor soil. The poverty levels of communities here is high; there are many orphaned children, and many gogo and child-headed households living with HIV / AIDS. Most children have protein and vitamin deficiencies and access to water is a daily challenge.

The Trust has built a Community Training Centre in the Dibutibu rural community, around 25km South East of Victoria Falls in western Zimbabwe. The centre is the focus of all community activity, and houses a dedicated industrial sewing facility, used to make uniforms for local lodges; an indigenous tree nursery and prolific community vegetable garden, maintained by two permanent employees. The centre is also a skills training facility, with a soap-making and oil producing project in the process of being set up.

In addition to the work being done in the rural areas, the Trust has also set up Victoria Falls’s first and only recycling facility in the town itself. The project is now managed by a local lady, employees two permanent members of staff and takes waste from all the lodges in the town and surrounding areas. The facility will eventually become completely self-funding, with the profits used to raise local awareness of environmental issues, and give residents the opportunity to easily recycle their household waste.

Activities

Typically, your itinerary will depend on what the priority projects are at the time. This could depend on the time of year, the weather, what projects are already in progress, and, of course (this is Africa), any unexpected events that may occur.

You can be sure that your days will be filled with interesting work that is genuinely needed, and you will always be doing something purposeful.

The project try to dedicate each day to a specific project, to ensure that it is carried through to completion or a natural end, without rushing. This means you can see that your work has contributed to a tangible result.

Community volunteers are involved in a number of grass roots projects in the area, including:

  • Community pre-school ECD projects and feeding programmes
  • Homestead food intervention programmes
  • Adult education, training and skills development
  • Community conservation and biodiversity projects
  • Agriculture and horticulture projects

Livelihood Development Projects

A key focus are projects to improve the livelihoods of marginalised community members and increase income generating opportunities. Volunteers will assist with adult education and training, which could include:

  • Sewing projects
  • Soap and oil production
  • Horticulture training and cultivating indigenous trees
  • Computer skills training and adult literacy
  • Life skills workshops and personal education for teenage girls

Gogo projects

‘Gogo’ is a Shona word meaning ‘grandmother’. In the rural areas there are a large number of gogo-headed households, where children have been left with their grandparents. Many gogo’s look after a number of their own grandchildren, plus other orphans and unrelated children. 

Volunteers will:

  • Deliver monthly food parcels and help with home repairs and homestead maintenance
  • Help with daily water collection
  • Visit homes, learn to cook traditional food and experience life in a rural community 

Agriculture projects

The project support four local farmers. Volunteers will:

  • Work with livestock such as cattle, goats and poultry - help with feeding and care
  • Irrigate, plant and reap vegetables and help with deliveries
  • Support tree planting and invasive species removal

Health Projects

The local clinic serves a large and widespread local community. Medical students can learn about common diseases affecting the local population and how they are treated using the medicines and equipment available.

  • Assist with non-medical work such as taking blood pressure and temperature and weighing babies
  • Help in the pharmacy
  • Observe appointments
  • Work on building and maintenance projects at the clinic
  • Visit rural schools and monitoring children’s growth and health

If you are not a medical student or professional, but have an interest in working on the medical side, let us know, as a provision can usually be made for you to experience some of the clinic work being done.

Education Projects

Greenline support three local pre-schools (taking children from 3-5 years), and there is a high commitment from children and teachers to attend school. Each of the schools are lacking basic infrastructure and there is a need for safe and adequate buildings, furniture, playground equipment and educational resources.

Volunteers may get involved with:

  • Building and painting classroom blocks, toilets and playgrounds
  • Creating vegetable gardens and assisting with watering, planting and picking
  • Delivering safe water and sanitation
  • Reading and playing games and sports with the children

Biodiversity Projects:

Raptor Research: Victoria Falls’s raptors are in serious decline; heavily poached and sold as exotic pets.

  • Get involved in the Raptor Research Project, checking breeding sites and conducting population surveys

Beekeeping

Greenline have established a community beekeeping programme, offering training and assistance to women and youth interested in keeping bees and helping with removal.

  • Learn about the role of bees in the human-elephant conflict
  • Assist in the making and maintenance of hives
  • Work on the bee fence, erected between National Parks and high density living areas
  • Help with harvesting honey

Waste management and recycling (Victoria Falls town)

  • Assist with all aspects of recycling including sorting, baling and loading

Invasive species removal (Victoria Falls Rainforest)

  • Work in the dense woodland around the waterfall, removing invasive Lantana camera plants

Skilled volunteers

We would love to hear from volunteers with specific skills or experience to share, which could enhance the community projects being offered. If you have skills or experience in any of the following, please get in touch!

  • Beekeeping
  • Organic agriculture / horticulture
  • Alternative / environmentally conscious building solutions
  • Solar experts / experts in boreholes or irrigation
  • Musicians (particularly if you can play the guitar or violin)
  • Thatchers
  • Sewing / embroidery enthusiasts
  • Holistic skills
  • Teachers (particularly those specialising in primary or early childhood education)
  • Builders and plasterers
  • There are also great opportunities for medical and veterinary volunteers to contribute in the communities.

Medical volunteering

There is a clinic 5km from the volunteer centre, which serves a large and widespread local community. Medical students can learn about common diseases affecting the local population and how they are treated using the medicines and equipment available.

  • Assist with non-medical work such as taking blood pressure and temperature and weighing babies
  • Help in the pharmacy
  • Observe appointments
  • Work on building and maintenance projects at the clinic
  • Visit rural schools and monitoring children’s growth and health

Veterinary volunteering

The Trust work with the local VAWZ (Veterinarians for Animal Welfare in Zimbabwe) team, a private organisation working in communities across Zimbabwe. Their inspectors work in rural areas, following up cases of animal cruelty (towards both domestic and working animals), run vaccination and neutering programmes, and host training and education workshops. 

If you are a vet student or veterinary professional and would like to volunteer, you may be given the opportunity to: 

  • Shadow the local VAWZ inspectors on routine inspections
  • Participate in mass vaccination and spaying programmes
  • Take part in ambulatory clinic work
  • As far as possible, a bespoke veterinary volunteer itinerary will be created according to your specific interests.

Accommodation

The volunteer programme is based at the Greenline Africa Training Centre, and your home is in the heart of the rural community. The house is a comfortable, spacious home, with electricity, hot and cold running water, a large garden and outside verandah. 

The house has three bedrooms; two same sex dormitories with their own en-suite bathrooms, and a twin / double room with private bathroom. Three home-cooked meals are provided every day, and volunteers should come prepared to assist with the preparation and cooking of meals. Tea, coffee, juice and drinking water are freely available. Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements can be catered for. There is a housekeeper who will make beds, clean and do laundry.

Bear in mind that electricity can be intermittent and power outages are common, especially during the rainy season (November - March). There is a small generator which can be run during power cuts, so please be organised about charging your electricals! 

It’s time to get away from it all - there is no wifi at the project, but 3G signal is good and cell phone roaming is available. The signal is strong enough to check emails and use social media. You will spend one day a week in Victoria Falls town, where you may visit a local restaurant, and, if you wish, spend time at an internet cafe.

Rates & dates

When can I volunteer?

Volunteers can join this Community Outreach Programme throughout the year, including Christmas and New Year. Arrival dates can be flexible, but we may ask you to try and arrive on the same day as other booked in volunteers.

2019 project pricing:

1 week: $850
2 weeks: $1,650
3 weeks: $2,450
4 weeks: $3,250

Additional weeks (on request): $800 per week

All prices are in USD.

If you are family volunteers, please contact us for pricing.

What’s included in the cost?

  • Project contribution: this goes straight to the Greenline Africa Trust to support their running costs. It enables them to continue funding their community projects, ensuring they can continue to meet their long term goals. 
  • Accommodation and three meals per day
  • Return airport transfers
  • Laundry and housekeeping
  • Comprehensive orientation and supervision
  • Guided tour of Victoria Falls
  • Equipment and materials required to do your work

What’s not included?

  • Flights or travel to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • Visa fees (variable depending on nationality)
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • National Parks entry fees (payable in USD cash)
  • Personal expenses such as souvenirs, drinks from the bar, snacks, 3rd party activities
  • Any meals or drinks purchased in Victoria Falls
  • Pre and / or post programme accommodation (if required)
  • Additional excursions
  • Local SIM card and data / airtime bundles (optional)
  • Administration fee ($40)

COMBINATION PROJECTS

We highly recommend combining this community volunteer project with a week or two at our Rhino & Elephant Conservation Programme, situated just under two hours from Harare. In addition to working alongside endangered black rhino and elephants, you will also experience conservation-focused community engagement, and learn about community-based conservation.

Click for more details of our Rhino & Elephant Conservation Programme.

FAQs

What special equipment do I need to bring?

Please bring a pair of lightweight work / gardening gloves - essential for working in the veggie gardens and homesteads! If you are a skilled volunteer, please bring all the materials and equipment you need to share your talents with others.

As you will be working with children, all volunteers need to supply a current (less than 12 months old) Police Certificate from your country of permanent residence.

Who should volunteer on this project?

This community outreach volunteer project is a wonderful experience for volunteers of all ages, where you can make a positive contribution directly to the local community, live in a safe environment, and become part of a very special team. 

No specific skills or qualifications are required to volunteer, but you should bring an enthusiastic, ‘can-do’, flexible and positive attitude, and be prepared to get involved with whatever projects are being run at the time. You should be of reasonable mobility as there is often physical work to be done outside, and some walking over uneven terrain. However, volunteers can contribute as much as they are able, so there is no upper age limit. You should be able to communicate reasonably well in spoken English.

How old do I need to be?

The minimum volunteering age for solo travellers is 18 years. There is no upper age limit, but for volunteers aged over 65, we do require your medical form to be signed by a doctor. If you are  a family looking to volunteer, please pop us an email!

How many people will there be?

The volunteer house can sleep a maximum of 10 people in three rooms, but if you have a group which is larger, please do let us know and we can make arrangements to accommodate you. Solo travellers are extremely welcome, as are groups and family volunteers. 

When can I join?

Start dates are flexible throughout the year. The project runs year-round, including Christmas and New Year. Included in the project fee is a return transfer from Victoria Falls Airport. We may ask that you try and fit your dates in with other volunteers booked around the same time.

When is the best time to come?

April - October is the dry season, with the rains usually coming again in mid to late November. June - September is winter, characterised by warm, sunny days, clear blue skies and cool evenings and nights. October is the hottest month, with temperatures in the area reaching 35+ degrees. November - March is summer, where rain showers are intermingled with hot, sunny days and temperatures are regularly over 32 degrees.

Do I get some time off?

Volunteers normally work from Monday to Fridays, but the work will depend on the projects being run at the time. You will go into Victoria Falls at least once a week, where you are free to browse the markets, experience adrenalin activities, visit a local restaurant and do some shopping.

How long can I volunteer for?

We suggest the minimum volunteer period is one week. Stays of more than four weeks can be arranged on request, and long term, skilled volunteers are welcome - please contact usfor more details.

How much spending money should I bring?

We recommend bringing around $50 per week in USD to cover personal expenses such as drinks, souvenirs, snacks, tips and internet usage. Entry to the Victoria Falls is $40, payable in cash. If you want to do any activities in Victoria Falls town (e.g. bungee, helicopter ride, gorge swing etc), please budget an additional $150+, which can be paid to the operators using a Visa or Mastercard.

Do I need a visa?

Most nationalities, including British, American, Canadian, Australian and most EU citizens, can get a 30-day tourist visa upon arrival into Victoria Falls. Fees are dependent on nationality and range from $30 - $75 (paid in USD cash). Extensions are available from the Department of Immigration in Victoria Falls, up to a maximum stay of six months. It is your responsibility to check your visa eligibility prior to arrival.

What should I wear?

Please bring culturally appropriate clothing. While we do not expect volunteers to adhere to strict dress codes, please be mindful of what is and is not culturally sensitive. Please ensure you bring a wide brimmed hat or cap, and sun cream of SPF 30+.

What vaccinations do I need?

Please consult your GP or travel clinic for detailed medical advice. All volunteers should make sure their Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A and B are up to date. A rabies vaccination is recommended but not compulsory.
Malaria - the project is regarded as a medium / high risk malaria area, but please consult your GP for guidance. Please note that the project will not accept volunteers who are planning to take Lariam as a malaria preventative.
Please visit this UK government website for more details.

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