living and learning

Monday, 29 March 2010

Voluntourism and development in Tanzania

- Guest post by Chris -

Hi! I’m currently preparing for my dissertation like many others. Being interested in geographies of development, it was an easy decision as to what my topic would be about. 'Voluntourism' is the coined phrase for individuals wanting to spend some of their vacation volunteering and is one of the fastest growing sections of the travel industry. However, little research has occurred to understand the effectiveness of voluntourism on development: instead, focus tends to be on why people participate.

My dissertation involves working with Village-to-Village in Tanzania for 6 weeks to understand how their work aids the community and whether voluntourism is viewed as an effective way to help develop the area. They ask volunteers to help with education, agriculture and health projects, but I also want to know
  • Whether their volunteers have the skills required?
  • Do they only help in a financial way?
  • Who gains more from voluntourism, the donors or the recipients of aid?
  • Would locals prefer a different form of aid?
There are no doubts that the efforts made are for a good cause though. Village-to-Village (a registered charity) supports people in poor areas of Tanzania and Uganda. It helps orphans, supports a health centre, raises awareness of HIV/AIDS, educates the population and supports sustainable agriculture with special interest in improving nutritional awareness amongst groups suffering from HIV/AIDS and rural women.*

On receiving an e-mail advertising the charity, I decided that volunteering with them would be a great opportunity for research into developing areas. Also, it would solve the problem of 'gatekeepers' straight away as I would be working with them. Since applying for the placement, I have discovered why many people prefer to do research in their own country; organising a trip abroad for research is quite complex and costly, though hopefully it will all be worthwhile!

If you would like to support development in Tanzania, you can donate to Village-to-Village online via my Justgiving page at

The money raised will go directly to the charity while also giving me the right to volunteer with the them. Any donations would be greatly appreciated.

*NB Here are some related facts I found:
  • HIV/AIDS cause 1 death every ten seconds and more than 8,200 deaths every single day. 2.7 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2007 and there were 2 million deaths related to AIDS, bringing the total number of people living with HIV to 33 million. Out of an estimated 9.7 million people in developing countries that need treatment, only 3 million were receiving the medicines needed.

  • In Tanzania and Uganda over 30% of both populations are illiterate; approximately 40% of women and just over 20% of men.

  • This year a poor harvest due to drought has prompted Tanzania to stop issuing food export permits. There are 240,000 people in need of relief food.


Post a Comment

  ·  Back To Top  ·  Editor's Pick