Volunteering with AGLI
Dawn Rubbert, AGLI Program Manager
It's possible to have a very direct, concrete impact. Andrew Peterson
the best way to tell you about volunteering with AGLI is through the
words of former volunteers, and a few photos.
a four-week camp is in some ways an out-of-this-world experience.
I have been in a totally different place and have had 24/ 7 experiences of
life with a group of people I had never met a month ago. I came in a new
place totally different from my home but in 4 weeks it has become in
some ways like
a home and the people like another family. Anna Crumley-Effinger, Rwanda
work camp, Summer 2005
choose between becoming an Extended Service Volunteer (EVS) or joining
one of our five-week long work camps held
in multiple locations each June/July.
ESVs volunteer for 3 months to a year or more. We have no age requirements;
acceptance is done on an individual basis. Twice we have had entire families
participate in a work camp together.
Extended Service Volunteers (EVS)
Andrew Peterson grew up in Denver, Colorado, USA. In May of 2008 he traveled
to Burundi as an ESV serving until July 2009. Andrew’s last weeks were
spent on the goat project.
The week before last, I traveled to five communities in the interior of the
country to oversee the distribution 150 goats, each to a pair of people that
will jointly take care of the goat [one Tutsi woman and one Hutu woman], giving
them an excuse to interact more regularly and build relationships.
Asked about his experience, Andrew wrote,
The time I spent in Burundi working with AGLI was an experience that
not only taught me a lot about a part of Africa and about myself, but
also brought me closer to my values and sense of purpose. In a world
fraught with confusion, doubt, and despair, it is easy to feel overwhelmed
and believe that we are helpless to change things, but volunteering
for HROC I saw that it's possible to have a very direct, concrete impact
when work is undertaken with respect, love, and commitment.
returned to volunteer in Burundi during the summer of 2010. Read more
and see his fantastic photos on his blog by clicking
spent 3 months in Rwanda often helping to conduct AVP (Alternatives
to Violence) workshops. As her work there drew to a close she wrote,
time in Rwanda is drawing to a close - hard to believe it!… I’m
starting to feel sentimental about leaving: no more rogue rooster under
my window, fruit so delicious it feels sinful, warm sunny days without
fail, music to make your heart melt, and the five lizards who have kept
me company for these many weeks. That said, I am ready for a shower and
some ice cream too.
[photo of Emily & AVP facilitators]
In 2011 AGLI conducted
two work camps; one in Burundi at the Friend’s
Woman’s Association (FWA) clinic and one in at the Gisenyi Peace
Center in Rwanda. Coincidentally each of them built walls around a compound
of buildings erected during earlier work camps. An orientation is held
in the Washington DC area for North American work campers in late June
and they depart together for Africa. Once at the work camp locations
the international work campers meet the African members of their team
and together they are led through a 3-day basic AVP (Alternatives to
Lin Considine and her 20 year old daughter were at the clinic. Lin
My experience was a life changing event. . .The AVP workshop was helpful to
see that peace efforts and forgiveness programs are active in Burundi. It was
a meaningful connection to me to be done as soon as we arrived as it helped
all of us see that we are more connected than disconnected. . .
work was perfect. Hard labor, but many breaks! There was a lot of down time,
however, that was the time when we got to just sit quietly, and
learn how to “be” and to enjoy each other. This is the time when
we would be with the Burundian work campers and get to know them and their
language. I would very much like to find a way to come back to Burundi, to
FWA, as an extended service volunteer.
Erik Nelson was on the Rwanda team. He wrote,
The weekend excursions were all fun and were a great use of our time.
They fostered bonding between all of the work campers, gave us a taste
of Rwanda outside of our immediate area, and showed us things that
we’re better off having seen (the orphanage, in particular, was
an emotionally taxing but rewarding ordeal).
You can find more photos and writings of our volunteer alumni on the
AGLI website. Our Volunteer Handbook is also available online. Please
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions that arise. I do enjoy
telling people about our work.
Expectations for Work Campers and ESVs.
and extended service volunteers fill out an application and form a
clearness committee. When the application and report of the
clearness committee is received, the material is sent to the AGLI section
committee for their determination. These volunteers must sign a statement
on expected behaviors. These include willingness to work under the direction
of the African leader, respecting local culture and laws including no
use of tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs, wear appropriate dress, and
go out at night only in the presence of local Africans.
and extended service volunteers need to raise the minimum amount
needed for travel (around $2,000), living expenses ($400 to $500 per
and administrative costs ($500). North American work campers attend a one-day
orientation in Washington, DC. Extended service volunteers and work campers
are also expected to donate $1200 towards the program they are involved with.
AGLI prefers that people raise these funds from their family, friends, and
religious and civic organizations because this publicity promotes the AGLI