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This Month's Reader Comments
As you recently have heard Guatemala has suffer great damage from STAN Storm´s. Our country is in great need of volunteers who could help with the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the most affected communities.
In accordance to the above, we are starting in November a proyect in which volunteers will camp in Sololá, one of the most affected areas and as well one of the most beautiful touristic places in the country. The volunteer´s work will be oriented in activities that involves recreation, nutrition and health education as well as reconstruction in this communities.
I will like to ask you for guidance in how to involve this proyect as a Voluntourism option.
Looking forward for your response.
Michele Monroy Valle
Coordinadora de Voluntariado
VNU Secretaría de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutricional
República de Guatemala
I will also post your comments in this months VT Classifieds so that our readers can connect with you if the have some thoughts on how to support your efforts.
Initially, we do not recommend utilizing VolunTourism as a means to deal with the dramatic events that follow devastation - an earthquake, flood, hurricane, etc.
It is important to have the basic needs of your residents addressed immediately without the additional impact of others vying for the same water, food, and shelter.
I would suggest that you develop a timeline beginning 3 months following the devastation. This timeline should include a needs assessment of the communities, how receptive they will be to having individuals enter their communities and support their return to "normal living." You will be able to guage just how long this process will take.
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Simultaneously, you can work with VolunTourism Operators - NGOs and Tour Operators, as well as your Ministry of Tourism, to determine how best to begin developing itineraries. These itineraries, principally the voluntary service activities will be based upon the needs that you have discovered through your assessment of the resident communities and the destination as a whole.
It will be the responsibility of the Tourism representatives to develop the portions of the itineraries that will contribute to the art, cultural, geographic, and historic education of participating VolunTourists.
This process will likely take 6 months to be fully operational - again, the amount of devastation will be the most significant factor in deciding the specific timeline. Certainly you can refer to what is happening in the Tsunami-impacted Region of Asia and the more recent developments in relation to the Pakistani Earthquake.
I work for an Australian not-for-profit organisation called Australian Bush Heritage Fund (www.bushheritage.org). We purchase land in Australia for long-term biodiversity conservation and manage it in perpetuity. As part of our program we run a Volunteer Ranger Program which enables people to come and spend time working in and around Australia on these varied reserves, one new reserve which has eco-tourism.
I am very interested to learn more about international possibilities and the range of partners you work with.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Julian Fennessy, PhD
Conservation Partners Coordinator
Australian Bush Heritage Fund
Level 5, 395 Collins St, Melbourne (corner Queen St)
PO Box 329, Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC 8009
Ph: +61 3 8610-9100 Fax: +61 3 8610-9199
Mb: +61 425353637
There are a number of subscribers from the Australia region and also a few operators that bring guests to the continent. Please let us know if you are able to connect with anyone.
Thanks for your interest,
Let us hear from you! Email us with your questions, comments, and testimonials at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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