Global development programme International Citizen Service (ICS) is urging young Scots looking for a life-changing overseas experience to apply now. ICS is giving almost 900 18-25-year-olds the opportunity to volunteer this September/October or December/January for ten to 12 weeks on development projects in some of the world’s poorest countries.
ICS is a development programme that brings young people (aged 18-25) from different countries together to fight poverty, making a difference where it’s needed most. Funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), ICS is run by six international volunteering charities with a wealth of experience in youth volunteering and offering a wide range of development projects.
Scottish volunteers will work alongside volunteers from the developing world for ten to 12 weeks to contribute to long-term development projects in countries like Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Nepal. The scheme offers young people the chance to develop personally and build key skills such as team working and leadership on projects that are of genuine value to communities around the world. On return to Scotland, ICS volunteers will undertake an ‘Action at Home Project’, ensuring that their new skills also benefit their local communities.
ICS is open to everyone and no one will be excluded on grounds of cost. All volunteers are asked to fundraise as part of their journey and receive professional support to help them meet their goal.
Katie Allan (25) from East Ayrshire volunteered in Africa’s Burkina Faso through ICS. On her placement, she helped the organisation UGF/CDN – a women’s union that assists members to become more active in the social and economic development of their communities. She said: “UGF/CDN coordinates the production of shea butter, made from the country’s shea nuts. We helped the organisation with marketing and taught English to the workers to enable better communication with international buyers, as well as increasing the local community’s awareness of women’s rights, primary health care and disease protection.
“We did some great work with UGF/CND which I believe will be sustainable and make a difference. ICS lets both us and our host community talk, listen and learn about each other’s cultures.
“I learnt a lot of skills and gained valuable experience within project management and development which will definitely help me in my future employment. It’s also made me more hard working and ambitious and I’m keen to get involved with more voluntary projects here in Scotland.”
Susanne D’Arcy, ICS’s recruitment manager said: “We’re urging 18-25 year-old Scots to apply now, so they don’t miss out on this incredible experience. We’re looking for those with the motivation to make a difference to the lives of others, and who are looking to broaden their horizons and develop skills likely to appeal to future employers.
“The experiences gained by our past volunteers have helped them to focus more clearly on their future career direction and to make a positive difference in their home community on their return.”
Ben Kirley (22) from Crieff recently returned from volunteering in Sierra Leone through ICS and added: “This was a life changing experience for me. Working alongside my colleagues from Sierra Leone was thoroughly engaging, interesting and eye-opening, to learn and give in equal measure – it was very much a cross-cultural partnership.
“If you’ve ever thought about volunteering in a developing country, then do it while you have the chance, and do it with ICS. The professional training and support is excellent, and the projects are run with the goals of DFID in mind, plus it’s not-for-profit. Go out there and challenge your preconceptions, meet great people, and change your outlook forever – I promise you won’t regret it!”
The ICS programme covers flights, visas, travel and medical insurance, medication and vaccines, food and accommodation and a minimal allowance while overseas. Volunteers will receive extensive training and support to achieve the development outcomes of the programme.