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Picked by volunteers as the world’s Top Volunteer Abroad Organization, African Impact is proud to offer multi-award winning volunteer, gap year and internship projects in 12 countries. Our expert staff live and work with our amazing volunteers, ensuring we are the only choice for your volunteering adventure!Write a review
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As soon as I'd paid the balance for an internship in Cape Town my follow up emails were largely ignored. On arrival I was informed that I'd have to pay for my own electricity and internet at the accommodation which was not specified. The internet didn't work. Support was poor. And for most of the internship I was delegated crappy menial tasks. The staff at the volunteer house had attitude problems that treated us like employees rather than volunteers. It wasn't all bad though. Some of the staff were great, in particular Olivia. And Cape Town is cool, but you have to keep your wits about you.
African Impact response
Hi Darbs, We are truly sorry to hear that you were disappointed with your internship in Cape Town. It has been many years since our interns have had to pay for their own electricity, so we are struggling to identify which internship you joined and when. All interns in Cape Town now stay at our new volunteer accommodation down the road and do not have to pay for their own electricity; we felt it offered a better experience for everyone, but are sad to hear this impacted your stay. We would really love to speak further with you so that we’re able to work on this feedback, so please do email Olivia (email@example.com) with your name and what internship you joined – your review will remain anonymous, but it will allow us to implement your feedback regarding the menial tasks and support level. Thanks so much, Olivia and the rest of the team here at African Impact
I volunteered w/ the Big Cat Project in the Masai Mara. There were serious issues that need to be addressed. Most importantly, Everyone needs to be prepped as soon as they get to the camp re proper etiquette & safety procedures when close to the big cats. We had 2 late volunteer arrivals who were not prepped which led to endangerment of the group when close to Lions. You would think that people would not need to be told that when lions come very close to your vehicle, you have to sit down, not move and stay quiet. Unfortunately, that is not the case & one of our volunteers was almost killed due to the stupidity of others that were behind her. They were standing, clicking their cameras, talking & making sudden movements. During this same moment, our Guide turned the motor to our vehicle on, further threatening the Pride Male & I thought he was going to spring & kill her. To make matters worse, when the volunteer turned around to scold them they actually laughed at her & completely dismissed the potentially fatal consequences. Almost all of the volunteers were merely there for a cheap safari, not because they were passionate about conservation or the big cats. One of our volunteers knew a lot more about the big cats than the staff & could identity them better than the staff. This caused jealousy & resentment by the other volunteers believing she was undermining the staff when in fact, she just wanted to be accurate. She clearly had done her homework & staff was not prepared to deal with a knowledgeable & passionate volunteer. Big Cat monitoring should be done early in the morning, as well as the afternoon. Any big cat expert will tell you that the best time to find the cats is before dawn. Not one big cat monitoring drive was scheduled for the early morning. We also had several volunteers who had no interest in big cats whatsoever. They were interested in birds, & while out on game drives, they would make us stop every 5 minutes so that they could take pics of birds.
African Impact response
Hello Eleonora, Thank you very much for your review of our Big Cat Program in the Masai Mara. We are sorry to hear that you did not have a great experience, and understand that our team in the Mara has spoken with you since your stay to review your feedback and recommendations. As an organization, safety of our volunteers is of paramount important to us, so we do take your comments very seriously. In regards to the time spent on our game drives, our project does predominantly focus on data collection of big cats, but we also love when volunteers become passionate about the smaller – often overlooked – species, like birds. African Impact prides itself on respecting and appreciating all animals, including birds, who play a vital role in a healthy ecosystem. While we do understand that not everyone has the same interests, our team do their best to accommodate the differing passions our volunteers have (which can sometimes be a juggling-act). Nonetheless, we hope you enjoyed your time spent with the big cats, as it is one of the best places in the world to see them. We welcome any further feedback you have and thank you for your review Eleonora, The African Impact Team
We chose to join the Big 5 research project in South Africa as newlyweds because we wanted to spend our money consciously, hoping to be immersed in the region much more than we would as regular tourists. Our compassion for animals extends into our everyday life, so we also wanted to visit the game reserves with conservation in mind, learning as much as we could about different species, endangered or otherwise. What the project turned out to be was much more of a glorified summer camp that approaches research and conservation in an uneven and juvenile fashion. And if you choose to stay for the shortest minimum placement of two-weeks, you'll find yourself at a significant disadvantage.
Truthfully, when booking this trip, we thought we'd be staying with an eclectic group of people from all around the world, some younger, some older, but all ultimately interested in the same goals and interested in getting to know one another. This was so the opposite of what we experienced that I just don't know what we missed in our preliminary research of African Impact. There's really nothing wrong if parents want to send their kids here for gap years, or internship work, but when that group of travelers turns the lodge a toxic environment of people constantly talking negatively about other volunteers or about how much they hate a guide or other staff member at African Impact, it corrodes the mission of the organization from the inside. We eventually stopped joining the group whenever we could because we just couldn't listen to the negative conversations anymore.
We loved South Africa and all of our experiences with the animals; it's a place not to be missed. But I would highly recommend that any young professional couples stay far away from African Impact and definitely this program in particular. Book a lodge in Kruger, rent a car for yourself, drive around the dirt roads to spend time with animals, or join one of Kruger National Park's many activities.
African Impact response
Hello, We are so sorry to hear that you stay on our Big 5 project in South Africa was disappointing and thank you for your honest feedback. We have got in touch with the project team there to follow up on what went wrong and apologize profusely that your two-week stay was not what you expected. While we cannot guarantee the ages or backgrounds of our volunteers throughout the year (volunteering is open to everyone), we understand that our Business Managers were on leave during the first week of your placement and believe this had a big impact on your experience. Our teams work round-the-clock all year and rarely get time to take leave, but we felt confident in the remaining staff members to hold the fort and ensure the smooth running of the project. This did not happen, and the staff members in question have since been spoken to regarding their conduct and professionalism. We feel confident that this situation has been dealt with on-the-ground, but apologize once more that it affected your experience in South Africa. We would be happy to chat further regarding your stay and value any feedback you have to offer. Thank you, The African Impact Team
I already did twice a volunteering experience with you.
My first went really well. I went than in September to South Africa, St Lucia. I was really disappointed of this volunteering experience. I felt really like a “drama tourist” more than someone who did good things. I know that I’m not going to change the world, but I hoped to be useful and doing useful things. The project wasn’t in a long-term view invented or planned. I felt like doing babysitting two weeks. I had to hear a lot of “this is a cultural thing” excuses for things that weren’t ok. Our leader and local contact was not OK. She did just nothing on the project, always sitting in her car or asked personal from the creche to wash her car when she was just sitting inside, or stopping anyywhere on the road to talk with people she knew, doing her own shopping on the road, … We were always arriving late on the project. The project wasn’t long I thought that it was maybe better to talk with the creche teacher about how they can teach things or sing with the children but no, we just had to play with them and accept the way things work there. And I thought it was ok I enjoyed playing with the kinds but in a few weeks when we leave the creche to another everything just goes back to the way it was.
I also did family empowerment what seemed really useful until I saw that we just try to make the family feel better for a few hours but that they really need more than just that. The baby needed clinic help, a better house, ... And I know that you can’t help everybody but just coming and look made me really feeling bad.
I also asked myself what you did with the money that I paid because the accommodation was not ok. I don’t want luxury things but hygienical accommodation must be offered if you asked us to pay such a price. It was one shower for 9 persons, cold water, cockroach everywhere, insects in the closets, … The food was way not enough and unhealthy.
African Impact response
Hi Berenice, We’re so sorry to hear that your second stay with African Impact did not live up to your expectations and we will certainly take this feedback on-board. We have spoken with our project team in St. Lucia and while it is unacceptable for our local staff member to have delayed your time on project (we are actioning this as we speak), we would like to explain more about how we run our programs and why understanding and appreciating the local culture is related to your volunteer experience. African Impact believe in sustainable, long-term support for the communities we work with, which can be affected by cultural norms and traditions. Across all of our programs, we believe in a “hand-up” approach, opposed to a “hand-out” approach, and are there to support the local people, rather than impose views that are not always sensitive to the country’s background or history. For example, volunteers help support local creche teachers by offering valuable one-to-one attention to the children who otherwise would not receive it. One creche teacher cannot care for the large number of children in her class, so volunteer support is essential for helping those children in their early childhood development. However, not all volunteers are capable of offering practical advice to creche teachers and are not qualified to train them. This is where our Foundation comes in, which is providing professional Rural Teaching Training to these creche teachers. This sustainable approach is something we truly believe in, and we apologize if this was not explained to you in full during your stay. We would be happy to chat further regarding your stay Berenice and value any feedback you have to offer. Thank you, The African Impact Team
African impact education project its shocking. I was in shock when I realize how it it going to be. No educated teachers, no methodology, no books, no chalks...I made more mistakes then my students. In the nursery school it is even worse. Be carefule before you decied to chose education project throght African Impact. Its youth camp for youung people and to get contact with local people and practicing everyday English. Impact only seemed to fool the locals into thinking that we knew what we were doing. There were two staff members with an 'English as a foreign language' education, but none of them took part in the actual activities. Instead the activities are run by unexperienced and uneducated staff. Nobody I worked with knew how to teach or to solve problems associated with teaching. Many students knew how to take part in simple conversations, but I believe they had learned that from talking to the islands numerous tourists rather than from African Impact's teaching program.
The project is based on teaching English and strengthen the grammar but you teach something else than the project organisation. I was shocked when I noticed how the volunteer who was supposed to be experienced and a support for me was teaching. A week before exams used’s most of the lesson to tell jokes and teach the students another language than English. One other volunteers knew even less grammar than the students and yet when the day of exams had passed, no student had passed the exam. You cannot teach English on that low level, which I discussed with the staff. They stressed that the program gives the locals a chance to learn English when they cannot afford formal education. However, the level of the program was so low that it would not make any considerable difference. And if it will be, it will not be about teaching English its more about to get contact with local people and practicing everyday English. Impact only seemed to fool the locals into thinking that we knew what we were doing. There were two staff members with an 'English as a foreign language' education, but none of them took part in the actual activities. Instead the activities are run by unexperienced and uneducated staff. Nobody I worked with knew how to teach or to solve problems associated with teaching. Many students knew how to take part in simple conversations, but I believe they had learned that from talking to the islands numerous tourists rather than from African Impact's teaching program.
When I tried to discuss all these issues with the local staff, they said that there was nothing they could do. But when I discussed with the head office later on, they said the issues would have been solved if I had discussed with the local staff instead. I even asked about how they use money (since its very expansive and we did not got enough of food every meal and some of teenager had to put back of his food so that would be enough for all), I got a general information as answer.