Computer literacy volunteering


Open questionsCategory: GeneralComputer literacy volunteering
Stefan Lloyd asked 6 months ago

Hi, I’ve been looking into volunteering in Africa during a work sabbatical. However, I have seen a lot of information around how volunteering can sometimes do more harm than good and certain companies are exploiting peoples will to help for their own profit rather than to help people and their communities.
I would like to help kids or adults with computer literacy because it aligns most to my skills. I have completed an MSc in cybersecurity and various course on Microsoft office but I’m wary that I have no teaching experience. Firstly I want to ask whether you think it would be a beneficial use of time to volunteer in 2/3 countries for 3/4 weeks each helping with computer literacy rather than donating. If so, how would you go about finding a reputable program which will actually use my money to benefit the people it should and will utilize my skills properly.
I really have no interest in volunteering in a way that will provide no benefit for the people I want to help and I’ve started to become very skeptical.
Thanks for any help.

1 Answers
Daniel Großbröhmer Staff answered 6 months ago

Hi Stephen!
thanks for reaching out to us. You’re absolutely right it’s not easy to find a good placement that will not only provide real support for local communities but also be a good fit with the volunteers’ skills and expectations.

Of course, it would be best to already have some teaching experience, but I am sure that your skills can also be helpful anyway.

If you are looking for a placement, you should take these points into consideration:
– Try to stay in one place as long as possible. The longer you stay, the better chances you have to make a lasting impact. A big problem of most placements is that there is no knowledge transfer between the volunteers. So the more can be provided by one person only, the better it is.
– Try to find a program that is already offering computer literacy programs. This will increase your chances to find a placement with an existing curriculum to make sure that education can be continuous.
– Please be aware that when it comes to computer literacy, training facilities will be a critical issue. From my personal experiences, I have never seen a training room with sufficient equipment or standardized hardware. Anyway, maybe it would be interesting to teach using mobile devices? Make sure that the topics are fitting to the real local needs.
– Given your own educational background, maybe it would be more beneficial for potential NGO not to have you around to give the training (because there will be local resources as well, for sure) but to have your support in developing a training curriculum that can be implemented later. But you will not find this kind of placements on the volunteer agencies websites, so you would need to organize everything by yourself. This is not as difficult as it might seem!
I hope this was helpful, but for more ideas and advice you are welcome to join our facebook group and connect with other volunteers! 
 

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