This week (1 April 2012), 11 British young people, aged 18-25, set off on a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience to volunteer in Zimbabwe. Progressio has launched a new and exciting programme in Zimbabwe as part of the International Citizen Service scheme funded by DFID.

The young, ambitious and motivated volunteers will spend ten weeks working closely with the local community to support initiatives promoting social justice and community development.

They will be placed with Progressio partners Churches Against AIDS Forum (CAAF) and the Diocese of Mutare Community Care Programme (DOMCCP) who are both working to support people living with HIV, raise awareness about prevention, and break down stigma and discrimination.

DOMCCP and CAAF specialise in offering both economic and psychosocial support to people affected by HIV. The volunteers will gain first-hand experience and insight into the importance of an holistic approach to supporting people living with HIV and will help to support the wellbeing of the people DOMCCP and CAAF work with.

This experience will give an insight into the situation of people living with HIV in Zimbabwe, and the various challenges the community faces in general. But, the Progressio ICS scheme doesn’t stop after the ten-week placement! On their return, volunteers bring what they’ve learnt about community development and citizenship back to the UK and are committed to carrying out UK-based community action as well. On their return the volunteers will be seeking opportunities to share their experiences with media, decision-makers, and the general public. And they'll be raising awareness about the challenges faced by the community they have spent time with overseas.

Keep in touch with how the Progressio ICS volunteers are getting on over the next few months at our Empowered blog. And if you're aged 18-25 you can apply to volunteer for placements in July 2012.


Photo: An HIV awareness raising event in Malawi attended by ICS volunteers.