Community-Led Service

Community-Led Service Manifesto

Our Community-Led Service Trips (CLS Trips) challenge the notions of voluntourism and white savorism. We refuse to play the game of low-impact service trips that simply exist to make students and educators feel like they are “doing good”. 

Our CLS Trips make sure each project has a long-term impact and contribute to solving concrete needs. Students start by understanding the realities of local culture and way of life, in order to be part of projects envisioned and implemented by local communities. 

We create long-lasting relationships between schools and host communities, and provide students with engagement opportunities that go beyond the trips, making a real difference in the lives of both the host and the students.

Objectives

1

For students to understand local issues in a global context through project-based learning, allowing them to take ownership and feel empowered to make a positive change.

2

For students to become advocates by raising awareness and funds for the causes related to the community-led projects.

By achieving these objectives, host communities obtain funding to make their projects happen, gain increased visibility and experience economic empowerment. In turn, students develop their understanding of Service Learning, enhance their project management skills, ownership and advocacy, as well as the ability to critically reflect on life experiences.

What students will and will not be doing

Students on Community-Led Service Trips

will be:

  • Exposed to transparency – We screen all partners to make sure that projects benefit all parties, and that funds allocated to the project go where promised
  • Participating in community-led projects
  • Participating in pre-trip engagement and post-trip follow ups – Our partners send regular follow ups after the trip, so that students can really see how their work is making a difference in the long-term
  • Understanding true Service Learning – Through a process of experience and reflection, students go home with applicable knowledge and life experience, which will serve their future development as responsible adults
  • Experiencing authenticity and cultural exchanges

Students on Community-Led Service Trips

will NOT be:

  • Participating in medical activities, because they are not trained doctors or nurses
  • Teaching English, because they are not qualified teachers
  • Working in an orphanage, because they are not experienced educators, and because it has been proven that short stays in orphanages cause more harm than good for the children living there

Students will be using their arms and legs to carry, build, nail, hammer, mix, pour, plant, weed and paint.

Get ready to work on projects related to construction, infrastructure, nature preservation and agriculture!

Boost your impact

Going on a CLS Trip and volunteering is certainly a meaningful experience, but there is only so much we can achieve in the short time we have on site. Sustainability is all about making a long-term impact for good. So how can you boost your impact?

Regardless of the project you choose, your host community will always require help with raising awareness and funds. We created a unique CLS version of the Changemakers Challenge as an easy and accessible way for students to organize their own projects, and raise awareness or funds to support the local community of the project destination.

Pick your project

We currently travel to four ongoing projects in different regions across the world. These projects are all initiated and run by the people experiencing local issues, with lots of space for students to empower the communities on site. Discover the projects below, and see where you can make a positive change.

South America
Europe
North America
Asia