Where The Serengeti Meets Voluntourism: UNITE the World with Africa
While Africa, and Tanzania in particular, has provided the backdrop for numerous volunteer travel engagements over the decades, the majority of these experiences have still focused on what visitors can bring to the continent in the form of voluntary service and in-kind contributions. UNITE the World with Africa, however, is just as eager to expose travelers to the touristic opportunities, including such options as a safari and a hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro. If the goal is to unite visitors with people and places, can there be a better combination than volunteering and touring within the context of a given destination?
Introduction & Background:
Unite The World With Africa, LLC, (“Unite”) is as an independent, social organization founded in January 2010 by American Anne Wells to empower and facilitate meaningful opportunities for service, volunteering and sharing between Americans and Tanzanians – with the specific goal of advancing Unite’s partner programs in women’s health, education and microfinance.
Unite was born out of Wells’ desire to be of service in a personal and effective manner while empowering others to do the same. Wells’ experience in Africa began in 1991 as a student of wildlife and human cultural management. Between 1991 and 1994 she spent extensive time on the ground studying, working, volunteering, serving, discovering… but it wasn’t until many years later in 2008 that she returned to begin Unite’s work in earnest. During a chance encounter with a Tanzanian Priest studying in the U.S. (now a dear friend and trusted partner) Wells asked how a working mother of three young children like herself could really be of service to those living and suffering in rural villages across East Africa. His response? Come back to Tanzania. Travel. Search. Identify the grassroots organizations that are affecting positive change with the support and trust of their communities and then raise an army of ambassadors to support these organizations in any and every way possible. Shortly thereafter Wells and her husband left for Africa to do just that, and the seeds for Unite were planted.
Today, Unite operates a number of core programs to accomplish its mission:
- Unite Tours – Unique and personalized “service safari” outreach tours through which travelers are empowered to share of their time, talents and treasure in targeted and impactful ways – including short- and long-term volunteer opportunities.
- The Ashe Collection, a 100% philanthropic online store featuring unique African artistry to drive local employment for women and Tanzanians living with disabilities as well as to raise funds to support Unite’s programs with its partners across Africa.
- Global Girls & Guys Unite, a youth group that empowers middle- and high-school age students in America to experience their power as global change agents through peer-to-peer communications, education and fundraising campaigns.
Unite is built on the premise that everyone who has a calling to be of service in Africa should be provided an opportunity. We are the portal of service through which ALL PEOPLE can become part of the solution.
While not everyone can be an ambassador for CARE or Save The Children, we can all do our parts and contribute. Extreme poverty is ALL of our problems. It is our duty to care, and it is our human right to care. When we stand side-by-side and celebrate all that unites us … our common humanity … we grow. We develop. We break down walls in our hearts. Our lives are forever better.
“To be oblivious to the problems of Africa is to promote more international misery, hunger, instability – and to increase threats to peace in the world.” -- David Lamb, The Africans
Working with its many partners across East Africa, Unite facilitates and empowers unique and personalized opportunities for giving and receiving, learning and teaching, self-exploration and discovery – enabling travelers to experience village life as it is, not as it may be seen through the eyes of a tourist. We create the space and opportunity for transformation.
There are a number of ways to travel and volunteer with Unite. Each year, Unite’s Founder and Director Anne Wells leads a team on a Service Safari to engage in unique and personalized volunteer experiences followed by a traditional wildlife safari. Others travel through Unite Tours on their own – working closely with Anne and her team to build personalized itineraries that most often include wildlife safari combined with volunteer and educational time in the bush via site visits with chosen Unite partners. Unite’s mission is to match talent to need to ensure that everyone’s time is spent as efficiently and meaningfully as possible. Unite’s partner non-profit organizations cover the fields of health & education; microfinance & small business development; human and wildlife conservation; sports, music and the arts; and more. There is a “match” for everyone. Examples of volunteer experiences include:
- The conducting of trainings and specialized workshops – created in direct response to needs assessments and requests -- for teachers, students & families; doctors, nurses & midwives; microloan recipients & small business owners; and others.
- Peer-to-peer connections & “playtime” through sports, music, dance, arts, reading, writing, theater and more.
- Construction, agricultural, painting and repair hands-on projects.
- Field visits to schools, orphanages, women’s groups, religious sites, artisan groups, conservation initiatives, medical and health facilities, and more.
- Both short- and long-term volunteer placements in the fields of teaching, coaching, childcare, marketing & communications, donor development, admin and others.
Unite has partnered with a number of different safari outfitters to ensure that our Unite Tour clients can have the most personalized experiences possible – from luxury mobile-tented-camp luxury safaris to adventure tours that include climbing, biking, beaches and more. Everything is possible – from delux to budget. Opportunities include:
- Safari in any and all of the national parks of Tanzania (Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Tarangire, etc,) – including photographic safaris, walking safaris, hot air balloon rides, and more. Visits to the Chimpanzees of Gombe and the Gorillas of Rwanda can also be arranged.
- Hiking (Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Meru, Ol Doinyo Lengai)
- Mountain biking, horseback riding, trekking. Water sports – sailing, fishing, canoeing. Scuba diving.
- Visits to the beaches of the mainland as well as Zanzibar and Pembe. Spice tours, tours of Old Town Zanzibar and the slave markets.
Sample Itinerary: Kilimanjaro
Day 1: TRAVEL - Leave NYC
Day 2: TRAVEL & TRANSFER - Arrive JRO (Kilimanjaro) early evening and transfer to Kilimanjaro Wildlife Reserve. Overnight Ndarakwai.
Day 3: SAFARI - Wildlife reserve. Overnight Ndarakwai.
Day 4: SERVICE & SITE VISITS - Field visit with New Life. Building of livestock income-generating program. Site visits to schools, nursery, women’s group, income-generating programs, and more. Celebration and team dinner with partners. Overnight Moshi, Sal Salinero
Day 5: SERVICE & SITE VISITS - Morning Field visit WEECE with Maasai Vicoba (Microbanking) in Remedi, which includes a new village choir. Transfer to Arusha. Visits to Unite partners: Shanga & TMWA and Cultural Heritage and Maasai Market for some shopping. Overnight Arusha, Iboru Safari Lodge.
Day 6: SERVICE & SITE VISITS & SHOPPING: Morning and lunch at the Matonyok Orphanage where we will purchase and deliver chickens to complete the poultry project. Lunch meal and celebration. Afternoon visit with Future Stars Academy -- join in soccer/football afternoon practice. Overnight Arusha, Iboru Safari Lodge.
Day 7: SAFARI & SITE VISITS - Transfer to Karatu. Visit to Meserani Snake Park. Midday site visit to Unite’s partner school - The Red Sweater Project. Afternoon game drive in Lake Manyara National Park. Overnight Karatu, Rhotia Valley Tented Camp.
Day 8: SITE VISITS - Morning visits Tumaini Junior School, FAME, Rift Valley Children’s Village. Afternoon transfer to Lake Eyasi to visit Hadzabe hunter gatherer tribespeople. Overnight Lake Eyasi, Tindiga Tented Camp .
Day 9: FIELD VISIT/WORK HADZABE - HADZABE - full day visiting, participating in health and education workshops, etc. Overnight Lake Eyasi, Tindiga Tented Camp
Day 10: SAFARI - Ngorongoro Crater Safari and on to the Serengeti. Overnight at Ndutu Lodge.
Day 11: SAFARI IN SERENGETI. Overnight Kirurumu Tented Camp.
Day 12: SAFARI IN SERENGETI. Overnight Kirurumu Tented Camp.
Day 13: SAFARI & TRAVEL. Morning safari in Serengeti. Afternoon flights back to JRO for international flight.
Day 14: TRAVEL - Arrive NYC/JFK.
Founder & Executive Director
Unite The World With Africa
Unitetnz.org * unitetnz.org/blog/
314-239-3997 * email@example.com
Facebook: Unite The World With Africa
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