South-South volunteer Martine Dusingize works in Sri Lanka.
The volunteer programmes are a channel through which the United Evangelical Mission reaches out to young people in order to empower them for a fruitful life in the more an more globalising, changing and multicultural world. According to the Integrated Guidelines for the UEM volunteer programmes, the three components (Nort-South, South-North and South-South) have equal value. Yet it is worth noticing that the South-South component is the youngest. This is one programme with three components.
The reality of exchange of volunteers between the churches in the South is not a totally new reality. As from 2008, young people have been going from one church to another within Africa or between Africa and Asia just for a sharing of experience and learning life together in a multicultural setting. The South-South volunteer programme has soon become an important and essential complement to the existing and already established South-North volunteer programme of UEM.
The South-South Volunteer programme is conducted in order to foster exposure, intercultural learning and various ecumenical experiences between churches of Africa and Asia. They have so much in common and it is just timely for them to share their assets and experiences in order to enrich one another. Since 2013, the number of South-South volunteers to recruit yearly has been increased to six.
Therefore, we are just ending in this August 2014 the first year with this experience and the South-South volunteers have all returned to their homes, excited about what they shared and learned and very much enthusiastic to bring back to their own contexts the new experiences and knowledge they have acquired.
We expect each year to identify placements in member churches in Asia and Africa and recruit young people who will be sent to live and work there for one year. These placements are found in institutions belonging to the member churches where the South-South volunteers will lend a helping hand in the tasks that they are assigned. Furthermore, they will make new friends, new connections and thus continue their friendship even beyond their term as volunteers. It has been noted that many people from the South know more about the North than about the other parts of the South. This programme comes to help solve this situation and foster networking, exchanges and strong partnerships between churches in the South.
With this programme, we want to enable the young people to:
In this context, the full support and contribution of all the churches is needed to:
Every year in January, the recruitments of a new South-South batch will be open and call for applications published on the UEM website. We invite all the churches to inform us about any possible placement in their midst and to help make the South-South volunteer programme a real success so that the aims will be achieved for the interest of the whole communion of UEM.