We’re delighted that you’re interested in taking part in a volunteer trip in the Gambia, West
Africa this year. Please read this information carefully and also read the FAQ’s on the
website. If you have any other questions please email Cara McCosh and if you decide to
apply, please complete the application form using the guidance notes supplied.
Application deadline: 12th October 2012.
There are opportunities for ten
volunteers to join a project in the
community of Kartung, a rural
village in the south of The
Gambia. Previously Leeds
established a successful
relationship with a women’s
group that is in the process of
setting up a communal garden to
generate income. The 2013 trip
will continue to support the group
through various activities. These
include participatory workshops
on business planning and
gardening, the facilitation of visits
to related projects in other parts
of the country as well as raising funds for an irrigation system. The volunteer work depends
on close collaboration between the volunteers and members of the community. Whilst in
The Gambia, volunteers will stay in ‘compounds’ in the village to gain a real insight into
what life is all about in Kartung and are strongly encouraged to embrace every opportunity
to participate in cultural activities.
There will be a series of activities that volunteers need to participate in before the trip and
some afterwards. The duration of the project will be from December until April (and beyond)
with the actual trip to The Gambia from (approx) 24th March – 14th April 2013.
About The Gambia
The Gambia is situated in West Africa. It is the smallest country in mainland Africa and with
the exception of a short coast line on the Atlantic Ocean, is entirely surrounded by Sengal.
The Gambia has a long but narrow shape that mirrors the path of the River Gambia. The
country is at no point wider than 50km (30miles) with an approximate size of 10,500 km².
The population is estimated at 1.7 million.
On 18 February 1965, The Gambia was granted independence from the United Kingdom
and joined The Commonwealth. The country shares historical roots with many other West
African nations in the slave trade, which was key to the establishment of a colony on the
Gambia River, first by the Portuguese and later by the British. Since gaining independence
in 1965, The Gambia has enjoyed relative stability, with the exception of a brief period of
military rule in 1994.
An agriculturally rich country, its economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism.
About a third of the population live below the international poverty line (US$1.25 a day) and
volunteers should expect to experience a certain amount of ‘culture shock’. Due to few job
opportunities, there is a known trend for some Gambian males to act as ‘touts’, ‘fixers’,
‘gigolos’, or ‘informal guides’ – known locally as ‘bumsters’. Although this is mainly a
concern whilst spending time in the urban tourist areas, volunteer pre-departure sessions
will help prepare volunteers for this; however, volunteers must also conduct their own
About Kartung and the volunteer work
Kartung (or Kartong) is a coastal village in south-western Gambia on the border with
Senegal. The village is one of the oldest settlements in The Gambia and is currently
emerging as an eco-tourism destination. Located approximately 60 kilometres from the
capital Banjul (formerly Bathurst), Kartong is surrounded by sea, bush, the river Hallahin
and salt flats. The population is approximately 6000 although local estimates vary greatly.
People of Kartung or ‘Kartonkas’
largely depend on natural
resources to make a living such
as fishing and farming. The
people are mostly Mandinkas
(one of the largest ethnic groups/
tribes in West Africa) but there
are many other ethnicities living
together including Jola and Wolof
people. The most prominent
religion is Islam but Christianity
and local beliefs are also
Gambians are known for their
hospitality and the people in Kartung will go out of their way to make guest feel welcome.
The more you get involved the more you will feel part of the village.
KART (Kartong Association of Responsible Tourism)
Our host organiser Sankung Sambou is the chairman of KART, which is an organisation
that supports local businesses linked to tourism activities in Kartong. The aim of KART is to
"develop tourism in KARTUNG in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way" and
assist with the "provision of training and job opportunities for the young people of the
The volunteer work
Volunteers will support the women’s group in setting up an income generating
communal gardening project.
Depending on expertise of volunteers and the progress of the women’s group, project work
is likely to include:
• engaging with the women’s gardening practices and daily responsibilities in their
compounds to gain adequate understanding of the local context
• assessment of the proposed garden site and research into appropriate irrigation
• participatory design work to overcome challenges the women face, e.g. stopping
freely roaming livestock from entering the garden and destroying crops
• researching related projects in other parts of the country and organising field trips
• participating in sessions that reflect on the progression of the volunteering project. All
volunteers are expected to keep diaries (notes, drawings, photos) that can be used
• running workshops that assess the feasibility of and ways to implement marketing
and business strategies outlined by previous volunteers
Working hours will vary depending on the commitments of the women and host families e.g.
you might be expected to join a naming ceremony with your hosts.
As we’ve mentioned before – the volunteer work in The Gambia forms one stage in an
overall programme. If you are interested in applying you must make sure that you will have
enough time to participate in the entire project and prepare for the trip in between your
studies and your work. As well as fundraising activities there will be compulsory team
briefings and several volunteer meetings. Don’t forget that all of this is designed with your
personal development in mind.
Below is a list of key dates and commitments in addition to fundraising commitments
between now and departure.
17th September 2012 Application forms available from website
12th October 2012 Application deadline
31st October 2012 Volunteer selection event
16:30 – 18:30 Headingley Campus
5th November 2012 Find out if you have got a place
tbc All paper work to be completed and returned
tbc Team briefing
tbc Second payment due
by end of February Team social
Third and final payment due
tbc Donations and fundraising money to be paid in
24th March (approx) Group departs
14th April (approx) Group returns
Autumn 2013 Team reunion and evaluation meeting
Your three weeks in Kartung will give you a fantastic introduction to community volunteering
and development work. You will end up knowing much more about The Gambia and the
local ways of life than people who just take a quick tour through the country.
At the same time, we’re sure that you’d like to explore a bit, so there will opportunities to
take up activities which may include: joining a naming ceremony, visiting the local crocodile
pool, bird watching (you don't have to be a twitcher to appreciate the fantastic birds of The
Gambia), a visit to Luke's reptile farm up the road, swimming in the sea, watching a football
match at a video club and fishing in the Hallahin river.
About the trip
The exact dates are to be confirmed, however, the overall trip will be from around 24th
March 2013 arriving back in the UK 14th April 2013. You will fly from Manchester Airport to
Banjul. You will be supported by Team Leader, Anne Schiffer, a member of Leeds
Metropolitan staff who will be facilitating the project work and looking after the volunteers.
Anne will work with the Leeds Met Volunteering office and Sankung to facilitate the
You will be staying with local families in their compounds in small groups of 2 or 3. The
accommodation will be basic but the welcome of your host families will more than
compensate for any lack of amenities. You will be expected to participate in the running of
the compounds (e.g. laundry, cleaning etc…) in addition to working on designated project
The table below gives an overview of the likely itinerary for the trip to The Gambia but the
actual dates of departure and return may vary by a day or two either way depending on the
availability of fights.
Date Activity Overnight
24 March 2013 Depart UK, arrive Banjul airport Kartung
Morning: orientation Kartung
25 March 2013 Afternoon: introduction to Kartong and project work
26 – 28 March 2013 Project work Kartung
29 March 2013 Good Friday Kartung
30 March 2013 Project work Kartung
31 March Morning: project work Kartung
Easter Sunday Afternoon: free time
1 April Easter Monday Kartung
2 - 5 April Project work Kartung
6 – 7 April Free time Eco-Lodge
Project work Kartung
8 – 13 April Farewell party
14 April 2013 Depart Banjul airport, arrive UK
Please be aware that this programme is a work in progress and will develop, depending on
local community needs.
The costs – approx £1100
The overall cost for each volunteer is about £1100 (including return flights to The Gambia,
visas, transfers, local transport, accommodation and most meals). This is dependent on the
cost of flights at the time of booking and is likely to be less in which case we will adjust your
final payment accordingly. Most students are eligible for some subsidy from Leeds Met. The
costs and payment deadlines are as follows:
Category Total Cost (£) Payment deadlines
Student Tier 3 770
Student Tier 2 880 tbc Deposit due £150
Student Tier 1 990 tbc Second payment
Staff 990 tbc Third payment
Returning volunteers 1100
Staff may be able to apply for some faculty funding. If you are a student, you can find more
information about the tiers on our website: http://www.leedsmet.ac.uk/cpv/index_Pricing.htm
Whilst working on project activities, accommodation, food, and land transport will be
provided. The money we ask you to pay does not cover insurance for students; you need to
make sure that your travel insurance covers The Gambia. It is also a condition of
participation in this trip that you take out personal insurance to cover contingencies such as,
theft and cancellation. We can provide information on this nearer the time. Additional
activities are not included – the cost of any free time activities and spending money is also
not included in the overall cost.
Fundraising for the local community that you will be working with is a requirement to being
accepted on the trip. As well as providing essential funds for the running of the project, we
think it’ll be a great way for you to get to know your team. Lots of our previous volunteers
have had great success fundraising and some have continued raising money after they got
back. We’ll help you with your fundraising and encourage you to work as a group. Previous
examples include cake sales, abseiling and even approaching companies for donations.
Don’t forget, volunteering and fundraising look wonderful on your CV!
Minimum fundraising target: £150
Paying it forward
Have you heard of “paying it forward”? – it’s the idea that if someone does you a favour and
you can’t necessarily pay it back, you pay it forward by doing a favour for someone else.
With international volunteering it’s slightly different but along the same lines. We love it
when volunteers help out after they have returned from abroad, this includes helping to
prepare the next team, being interviewed for the website or publications, helping us with
important research, coming to awareness raising events (e.g. stands and open days),
helping us to do talks, helping with more fundraising and providing quotes for marketing etc.
We’ll ask you to do at least three of these things when you get back.
Personal and academic development and employability
Not only is volunteering good for the soul, it’s good for your employability. Included in the
pre-departure programme is a workshop on employability and how to draw on your
experiences. This will be followed up with another workshop when you return. The dates for
this session will be agreed with the team during the first team meeting.
Leeds Met does not cover insurance for students; you need to make sure that your travel
insurance covers Uganda. It is a condition of participation in this trip that you take out
personal travel insurance to cover contingencies such as medical needs, theft and
cancellation. Your insurance must cover all activities that you choice to participate in during
your volunteering and free time experiences e.g white water rafting, horse riding – all
insurance companies cover different things. The University will not be liable for any
outstanding debts if the volunteer has not chosen adequate insurance to cover any
situation. We can provide information on this nearer the time. Staff volunteers will be
covered by staff insurance but the policy only covers the time period spent volunteering,
and does not include additional travel.
Air travel is one of the most polluting means of transport. For this reason we ask volunteers
to off-set the environmental damage caused by the travel, by taking a pledge to minimise
their negative environmental impact in other ways (recycling more, being more energy
efficient etc). You will also be able to plant your own tree (or three!) for a small donation.
We love to hear how our volunteers are getting on and it's useful for prospective volunteers
to read about the experiences of their predecessors. For this reason we ask volunteers to
contribute to our volunteer’s blog which means writing and sending a few words every now
and again from abroad. To find out more about the experience of volunteers on our trips,
read entries from last year’s blog:
How to apply
You can download an application pack here or if you have trouble downloading the
documents you can request them from Cara McCosh. Read the ‘How to complete your
application form’ and FAQs on our website and return completed forms to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Suitable applicants will be invited to attend a ‘volunteer
selection event’ on 31st October 2012 (4.30 – 6.30pm)
For more information about this opportunity please contact Susan Robinson in the
Volunteering team. Email: email@example.com.
If you have any specific questions about Kartung and The Gambia that can't wait, feel free
to contact Anne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org subject: ‘Gambia volunteering’