Truly sustainable service learning projects that address the United Nations SDGs
At World Expeditions Schools, we advocate for responsible and sustainable travel. When we select existing or develop new projects for service learning we consider the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
About the United Nations SDGs
The United Nation’s SDGs aim to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address global issues, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation and more. They are interconnected and they ensure we leave no one behind. The United Nations aims to achieve all 17 goals by 2030.
Creating Global Citizens
Youths are the building blocks of our nation and they are our future hope. It is important for us to provide them with a holistic education that includes experiential and service learning, which compliments your school’s curriculum. This makes them aware of the importance of sustainable development, which they can then apply it in their lives and in future travel, becoming a responsible global citizen.
Our Service Learning Projects
Each of our service learning projects generate numerous benefits for people and planet, with at least one and often many more of the United Nations SDGs addressed.
As members of the ReThink Orphanges working committee we understand the importance of providing meaningful and sustainable service learning projects. When we select our projects we use the following Volunteer Checklist criteria set out by ReThink Orphanages.
1. The needs have been set out by the local community
WES approach communities in a consultative and collaborative manner. We consult with the heads of the community to learn what their needs are. We implement solutions to their needs in collaboration with their community. More often than not there are as many volunteers from their community working alongside the travellers who come to assist. We employ local trades people to oversee the project.
2. It’s sustainable
During project development we consider the whole picture to ensure that the project is sustainable beyond the actual volunteer work. For example, if the project establishes additional classrooms in a school, we put in place mechanisms to ensure that the school can pay the wages for the additional teachers that more classrooms will allow for.
3. There’s no local alternative
Our projects aim to fill a need that is currently not being met and without the assistance and funding from our school groups would otherwise not be completed.
4. It doesn’t involve ‘orphans’ or vulnerable children
Since 2013 World Expeditions and World Expeditions Schools ceased service projects involving orphanages. We are strong advocates against Orphanage Tourism.
5. There’s a skills match
On a WES service learning trip, at no point will you be asked to carry out a task that requires a skill or qualification that you do not have. We can facilitate cultural exchange opportunities, whereby visiting students share their culture through song, dance, games and food. Then the host students reciprocate. This results in a rewarding and fun experience for both parties.
6. It adds value
WES will work closely with teachers to ensure that the service learning project also meets the students learning requirements, adding value to and complimenting the in-class program.
7. There’s evidence of impact
World Expeditions Schools has been operating service learning projects around the world since 2004 and has a long list of projects completed, including over 250 humanitarian and conservation projects across many countries; including Australia, Nepal, Peru, Vietnam, Tanzania, India, Kenya, Cambodia, Laos, Borneo, Uganda, Guam, Taiwan and more. This wonderful result was made possible by thousands of students across the globe.
8. You’ll be safe
At all times during service projects a World Expeditions Schools Group Leader will be with the students and teachers. WES’s Risk Management Plan and Communication Plan are in place throughout the service work.
9. You’re not being ‘sold to’
Our projects are locally driven sustainable initiatives. You will contribute to meaningful projects leaving behind tangible benefit; you will gain knowledge and experience, and long-lasting memories. At no time will we tell you that you are ‘saving the world’, but we do hope that you come home with a sense that individual effort can affect change, especially when it comes together in the collective.
10. You must apply to volunteer
Your school and teachers will ensure that the students joining a WES service learning project is matched for the task and ready for the challenge. WES will provide pre-departure support in a number of formats so that you are aware of what is expected of you.
We have numerous service learning programs and they can also be customised to suit your school’s learning objectives. Each program addresses a few UN SDGs and it can include an element of physical activity, as well as time spent to help a community in need. We aim to achieve all UN SDGs through our programs.
Want to learn more?
Get in touch and we can design a fully customised program for your students.