Why an African Diaspora Volunteer program?
ADVN was born out of discussions with several friends who highlighted the fact that they felt emotions ranging from discomfort and frustration to anger and embarrassment whilst volunteering in black communities with non-black volunteers. I saw this as an opportunity to develop a program that functions similarly to a traditional volunteer program, but instead works on exploring cultural similarities throughout the diaspora and encouraging youth exchange throughout the completion of a project. ADVN ultimately seeks to serve as an opportunity for exchange, sharing and learning between the entire African diaspora. Led, populated and grown by us, for us. Eventually, it is foreseen that the project will work as a cultural continuum, forging ties between black communities worldwide. We also envisage that over the years it could contribute to a detailed encyclopedia about communities across the African diaspora – pop culture, youth, culture, history, food, language and more.
Is an ADVN program for me?
Are you looking to do your part to develop black communities worldwide? Want to participate in the implementation and building of projects in local communities that will aid development? Would you like to build on your knowledge of African languages, cultures and/or those that have developed in the diaspora?
If any of these apply to you, then ADVN is most definitely for you!
What do the programs consist of?
There will be three streams available for our core programmes:
You will spend 80% of your active time helping the local African diasporic community complete a project which will benefit local people- this could be holding a community event, contributing to the building or painting of a local service building such as a library, or even collating works for a museum and much more!
Specific language and culture activities will make up 20% of your program
60% of your active time will be spent learning the local language and/or dialect.
30% will be spent learning about cultural practices, visiting cultural sites or participating in cultural events and attending culture based lectures and seminars.
We recommend that applicants for this program select a 'homestay' as their accomodation of choice, for ample opportunity to integrate into the culture with your host family.
3. Cultural Exchange
This program is particularly suited to those interested in research, history and social studies as opportunities to write papers and publish on this area will arise for participants. This program gives participants the opportunity to both learn and share about culture and will ultimately serve to help us build an encyclopedia of African diasporic cultures as they have developed and been witnessed on the ground!
Note: Applicants should be aware that all three streams involve some mixed activities. We believe that this is the best way to ensure the maximum benefit and ultimate outcome of our programs in line with our goals.
Depending on the stream you choose, your program and itinerary will be developed accordingly. A typical day for most programs will include:
-Early rise, showers and breakfast
-Morning activity/local coordinator pep talk
-Main daily activity
-Evening activity (every other day to allow participants ample opportunity to explore local areas independently or with host families)
By the end of your program we endeavour to have left you with a strong knowledge and understanding of the community and culture you engaged with, plus the memory of having shared your own with local populations. You will have formed strong ties with local organisations and community figures and will be able to speak confidently in support of the community. Once you return to your home country/community your commitment will be to build awareness about the struggles and successes you came across during your time, and ideally to explore opportunities to further help them build and grow.
Do I qualify for an ADVN program?
ADVN invites the participation of all members of the African diaspora, defined as anyone of African descent (be they in the Caribbean, the African continent, the USA, Canada, South America or Europe). Participants must be 18 years old by the time their cohohort is expected to start their program.
Beyond this, individual programs have different requirements, so please read through your intended program's application brochure thoroughly for further details.
The typical profile of ADVN participants are students looking to contribute to community building during their gap year, year abroad or holiday, and working professionals looking to take a sabattical to do voluntary work in the African Disapora or the continent.
Is there an age limit for participation?
There is no upper age limit, although typically most participants are between 18-30 years of age. All that we ask is that you be physically fit and in good shape.
I’m biracial/multiracial, can I still apply?
Absolutely, anyone who self-defines as black and is of African descent is welcome to apply
I have applied. When can I expect to hear back from you?
You will be contacted within 24 hours of your initial application and provided with an applicant number. Within the following two weeks a decision will be made regarding your suitability for the program.
I have already registered but can no longer take part in the program- what can I do?
Signing up to ADVN is the first step in undertaking a community responsibility. If for any reason you are unable to take part in your program, cancelling within 48hrs will grant you a full refund. If you request a cancellation past this time you are required to find someone to take your place.
I have friends who also want to participate, will we be on the same program?
ADVN will do it's best to keep friends together however the fulfilment of such requests cannot be guaranteed. ADVN encourages the forging of ties between young people throughout the diaspora. Therefore, we try to apply a quota whereby a balance of participants from different regions is found. If such a balance is not possible for a particular program, we will welcome applicants in any order.
I’ve never fundraised before! Where do I start?
We’ve all been there before, but don’t worry- we supply all volunteers with a comprehensive fundraising pack, full of suggestions and stories of previous fundraising successes. If all else fails, we can be contacted for further assistance.
Do I have to fundraise? Can I just cover the costs myself?
ADVN encourages the building of a global community, and believes that the work we do should very much be a community effort. As such, we require all participants to fundraises at least 80% of the program fees. For more information on program costs, please contact us directly via the 'contact us' tab or the button at the bottom of this page.
How does ADVN prepare us for our program?
Each ADVN programme begins up to 12 weeks prior to your departure. Our pre-departure program includes meet-ups, cultural acclimatisation workshops and an online basic language and history course. Depending on your chosen accomodation type, you will also be put in touch with your host family.
How should we prepare for our program?
Your online courses will require you to do reading and homework and the more you do the more enriched your experience is likely to be. We also recommend that you try and familiarise yourself with key information and current news about the country and community you are heading to - we will provide you with resources to help in doing so. Don't forget too that ADVN is all about building awareness and bridging the gap between the different communities that make up the African continent and the African diaspora! As such, we welcome participants who want to document their experience from pre-departure to finish so as to allow others an insight into other communities. We maintain that this well help in bringing our communities closer together.