A new volunteer program is proving you don’t need to leave home to improve education in some of the world’s toughest regions. Through the Educator Volunteer Network, skilled volunteers in Canada and abroad are connecting with educators in impoverished and war-torn countries to provide online assistance and mentorship. With just their skills, the Internet and a few hours a week, these online volunteers are transforming the face of international education and volunteerism.
“Going overseas to volunteer isn’t always possible,” says Melanie Wilson, an online volunteer and full-time PhD Candidate in Montreal. “Now I’m in touch directly with a school in Uganda, assisting them online by providing curriculum resources for their teachers, writing content for their school website, researching potential partners and helping with their long-term plans. It has been a fun, interesting and empowering experience that has nicely fit into my already busy schedule.”
EducatorVolunteer.Net is an online community where teachers in regions of war, poverty and illness receive one-on-one assistance plus online training and resources. The Network launched in September with the bold vision of providing a team of online volunteers for every educator in need. Over 50 volunteers have joined as well as seven schools in Nepal, Uganda, Liberia, Tanzania, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe.
“I am very grateful for such an opportunity,” says Patrick Makisa, Director of Rock Community School in Uganda. “Melanie is offering great guidance as per school instruction and teachers’ activities. I have benefited in my growth in issues of education. Thank you for this great Educator Volunteer Network!”
The Network was created by the Canadian International Learning Foundation (CanILF), an innovative registered charity best known for helping establish and develop the Afghan-Canadian Community Center, considered one of Canada’s most successful development initiatives in Afghanistan. That’s where the Foundation’s team of online volunteers first worked directly with local educators.
“Online volunteers created such strong results in Kandahar that we started imagining how they could help teachers and transform communities around the world,” says CanILF President Ryan Aldred. “EducatorVolunteer.Net makes this dream a reality. It meets the exact needs of teachers and offers a safe, simple way to make a difference in the world.”
The Network enables educators and volunteers to share ideas and work as online teams, and offers one-on-one coaching, training webinars and a resource library of best practices and templates.
EducatorVolunteer.Net is seeking teachers in at-risk regions and volunteers experienced in education, communications, Information Technology, infrastructure, business or project management. Donations are needed to recruit, train and connect volunteers and educators. Donors can Adopt-a-School for just $20 a week (any duration) or donate in honour of a friend or special teacher.