In the Loop

The Newsletter of Federation EIL - Worldwide Network of the Experiment in International Living - March 2009

In This Issue

Thaqafat Staff Prepares Cultural Events for GA Participants
EIL Ecuador hosts Manja Fleischer during workshops in Ecuador
Weltwärts workshops in Ecuador and Chile
News and updates from YES International
Paul Conway Completes Term as Chair of EIL Intercultural Learning's Board
Weltwärts training session in Buenos Aires
Update from FEIL UN Representative Connie Crosson
Introducing INTEJ-Peru Our Newest VIP Partner
Joint German-Irish Board Meeting in Bonn
EIL Ecuador Collaborates to Offer Medical Interships
EIL Ireland celebrates International Women’s Day
Scholarship Provides Cultural Exchange for German Teens
Links of Interest

Experiencing Morocco in 5 Days through your five senses

Daily life in RabatFor a better understanding of Moroccans’ lives in today’s world, the cultural activities planned by Thaqafat for the upcoming GA aim to be a small window to the daily lives of Moroccans over time and today, how they worship their God, what they eat, what they wear and what they do in daily life, what are the sounds that surround their lives, what are the smells, the feelings and the sights that they are exposed to…

Morocco has been a place of encounters for centuries where people speaking different languages and dialects, and belonging to tribes of different origins and customs have been able to leave behind the sensation that the more you are starting to understand this country the more confused you get!

Not that we want to confuse you, but we hope to be able to share with you through an inside perspective of Morocco what we cherish the most about our country.  We hope that the colors, odors, noise and hustle bustle when walking in the narrow Thaqafat staff celebrationstreets of the Medinas, when enjoying the different rhythms of the Moroccan music and during the workshops and lectures by Moroccan Academics or your voluntary work will awake your five senses.

The highlight of this cultural program will probably be your dinner with Moroccan families: trying to eat with your hands, tasting a homemade dinner within a Moorish style home, listening to people speaking a mix of tongues, and trying to distinguish the various smells and flavours of Moroccan cuisine. We truly aim to make this GA an enjoyable cross cultural experience for each and all of you and looking forward to welcoming you in Rabat. Pictured above right is a street scene inRabat, and below left, the staff of Thaqafat Association during a celebration.

Farah Cherif D'Ouezzan

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Germany and Ecuador 'GET TOGETHER'

In February EIL Ecuador had the good fortune of welcoming Manja Fleischer, coordinator of volunteer programs in Germany.  Manja met with volunteers at work in the mountain town of Atahualpa and surroundings and tasted roast guinea pig, an Ecuadorian delicacy.

 In Quito she visited different volunteer projects including  the Sinamune project for handicapped children who greeted her by enthusiastically playing their percussion instruments.  At the Nuestra Sra. Manja Fleischer during her visit to EcuadorDe la Paz pre-school she attended an English class that Volunteer Carola Van Wesel was teaching.  Another stop was at the Sinsoluca house for street children and adolescents where she met with the Director Mario Piedra who emphasized that the project has grown and prospered thanks to the volunteers who have worked there.  Another important meeting was with the Executive Director at the Proyecto Faro del Saber or Light of Wisdom headquarters – a project that teaches computer use and training for successful community development in small towns.

Manja also visited a host family and met with German participants in the Weltwarts, Civil Service, VIP and Academic Year programs.  Thank you Manja for your visit which we enjoyed so much and which strengthened our ties further with Experiment Germany.  Manja is pictured at right with a new friend.

Anne Lalley de Alvear

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Weltwärts workshops in Ecuador and Chile

When the German Government launched its volunteer service program “weltwärts” in 2007, Experiment e.V. was one of the first organisations to be designated as a sending partner. The first operational year was 2008, and the very first participants were sent to Ecuador to a number of different projects.

As we successfully initiated the weltwärts program not only with Ecuador but also with Argentine, Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Nigeria, India and Turkey, a considerable number of Experiment participants could be funded through this stipend program of the German Government. The Ministry of Development Cooperation is interested not only in sending young people abroad through the designated organisations but also in having the participants well prepared, the partners involved in networking and training and last but not least in a good follow up of participants with continuous improvement of the program standards. Due to the larger number of our participants being in South America, we could apply for funds of the Government for field visits of our staff to the hosting countries. It was an excellent opportunity to see and understand projects, talk to coordinators, participants and staff of our partner organisations. The aim of the workshops held during the visits was mainly to discuss the need of the projects, sustainability of the achievements made by the volunteers, better ways of communication and a future planning.

Manja at a project site in EcuadorThe first meeting was organised by EIL Ecuador in Quito and the main projects are located in Pichincha area. Different day trips led us to projects in and around Quito. Two of the biggest projects in Ecuador that are ADECSA (Association for the communitarian and sustainable development of the community of Atahualpa) and Fincas Tropicales. These two projects are hosting year for year at least 20 participants in the alternative civil service programme and from 2009 on also weltwärts participants. Participants are mainly working in schools, giving classes in English, sports and computer science. Besides these tasks, many alternative projects have been started by the participants and the local community such as a reforestation project, English or German lessons for adults, special assistance for slow learners etc. During our visit we discussed with current participants possible ways to preserve the achievements made and how to ensure that the activities are passed on to the next generation of volunteers. Together with the representatives of the two projects we visited the sites, discussed various topics concerning the volunteers and made a planning for 2009.

Due to heavy rains in Ecuador in February it was unfortunately not possible to visit all the other important projects – roads were simply impassable. But still we discussed important issues with the projects we met. EIL Ecuador made sure at all times that I got the most of the Ecuadorian friendliness and hospitality, as well as culinary discoveries that were always part of the program!

The second part of the trip led me to Santiago in Chile where I met the representatives of EIL Chile who welcomed me warmly. It was a great chance to talk about the planning of the year 2009 and to clarify all the important issues for new projects which are interested in hosting volunteers in the weltwärts programme for the first time this year.German volunteers in Chile

I had the chance to visit current volunteers and evaluate the programme with them. We discussed how we can involve them in our work here in Germany in different ways, improving orientation of volunteers, selection criteria and marketing of volunteers coming to Chile.

The focus of the visit was on meeting new projects and volunteers to get a better insight of their work and to discuss challenges of the long term volunteer program weltwärts for project partners but also for the volunteers.

The whole meeting offered a good basis for our cooperation in 2009 and beyond and helped to set goals for the future generations and a better planning.

Right now we are working on the papers to be presented on a follow up workshop in Bonn which will be of great value for the work of the volunteers and projects for the future. Further partner visits to the African Partners are planned for the second half of the year.

Manja Fleischer

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New from Dynamic Korea - Positive YES!

US High School students to Korea in summer 2009! - Fully sponsored by US Department of State.

It is for sure that a lot of Korean youths do travel and study abroad for language learning, cultural exchanges and also for higher academic education. However, in July 2009, 40 US high school students will be coming to Korea to learn Korean language and culture! The US Department of State through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth(NSLI-Y) is providing fully-funded scholarship to US high school students to travel to Korea. (This, which was based on the government policy that supports US students to travel to 7 countries with languages that will be prominent in the 21st century, and Korea, was one of them)

YES is the host organization and we are now making big efforts in coordinating diverse cultural immersion programs for students. Since Korea is a nation with the last divided peninsula on earth, students will visit the DMZ, as well as historical palaces and museums to gain a deeper understanding of Korea. These students will be enrolled in local high schools, attend intensive language course at Seoul National University, and live with Korean homestay families to discover and understand more of Korean Life.

It is a great opportunity for YES International to start inbounds exchange program for international students. We really do hope to host more students from many other countries in the future to discover Korea and exchange our diverse culture!

Korean volunteers explore International birds in Philippines - Fully sponsored by Korean Ministry

It is a year for YES to broaden its project areas in partnerships with governments of both overseas (US) and domestic (Korean Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs). From May 27 to June 4, 2009, about 20 Korean youth will visit Olango Island in the Philippines.Volunteer Group at Olango Island

Olango Island is a place that supports the largest concentration of migratory birds found in the country. At Olango, the birds can replenish their fat reserves by feeding on rich supply of invertebrates in the intertidal mudflats. This Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Ramsar site in 1994.

Youth volunteers will increase knowledge on the wise use of resources by local people, as well as to involve them in participatory sustainable management. Environmental volunteer activities with community service - especially with Olango children - will be a tremendous experience for the group.

Besides voluntary service, Korean youth will learn the local culture of Olango by making Coconut wines, experience handicrafting activities with Olango community. This project will develop more of what really is an intercultural exchange experience for Korean youth and hopefully to the Olango community in the future!

Introducing new creators : Haemi & Nathan!

HaemiYES is more than happy to introduce our new staff! With our new inbound exchange programs, youth volunteer project and a lot more to come, we have invited two new staff members to join in creating a fun and active difference to intercultural living and learning in Korea. Haemi, pictured at left, is mainly in charge of US high school students exchange program for this summer. She lived in Brunei Darussalam for 16 years (and yes she sure is Korean) then came back to her nation for undergraduate studies then finally met us after some years. She is a fun and out-going lady who loves to dance! Nathan

Nathan, (finally we have another male staff in our office – as you’ve all seen our staff picture before that we are crowded with females!) is a diligent, active gentleman who has a history of doing a full triathlon in 1996! He enjoys sports and even trying to persuade other YES staff members to join the spring marathon in April! Hope you all can visit Korea sometime and meet all of the YES staff soon! Do they look like teenagers? Oh great, I am sure that they would not imagine to hear that 10 years ago when they were in the last of their teenage years!

Jihyun Park

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Paul Conway Completes Term - EIL Ireland Welcomes Judy Roche

Paul Conway completed his six year term as Chair of the Board of EIL Intercultural Learning on January 31st. Paul has invested long hours in helping to turn EIL into the vibrant and successful organisation it is today. He has pushed EIL to be a leader in the field of child protection in international exchanges and has been an enthusiastic advocate on behalf of the EIL Judy Roche presenting a gift to former board chair Paul Conway development education programme.

The new Chair is Judy Roche a 27 year old Solicitor (Lawyer) from Dublin who has been a member of  the Board for 6 years. Judy was an Experimenter to Ecuador in 2000 and to the Phillipines in 2001 and was the leader of the Hong Kong /  Ireland Youth Exchange Programme in 2004. Judy also attended the  Federation EIL General Assembly in Poland. The photo shows Judy presenting Paul Conway with a gift of  Waterford Crystal Glass from EIL in honour of his many years of service. Paul will remain an active member of the Board of EIL Ireland.

Read more at Kevin Hickey's blog about Paul's contributions to EIL, and more about Judy Roche, the new Board Chair.

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Weltwärts training session in Buenos Aires

The German ministry of Development Cooperation granted funds to Experiment Germany in order to organize a meeting of all Argentinean project managers who are dealing with weltwärts. Jean Wittman and Valerie Manoukian organized the workshop at their office in Buenos Aires and invited 14 project managers. All projects except one were represented. Weltwarts workshop in Argentina

We started out with a barbecue in order to get to know each other. Following the nice opening session, it was time to provide everyone with thorough information about program details, rules and regulations. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to present the selection process for volunteers in Germany and contents of our orientation seminars. The workshop participants had a lot of questions concerning the program and we discussed several issues together. They shared experiences they made with our long term participants (12 months) and gave a lot of input and helpful suggestions for the future of the program.

Besides this great opportunity to get together at the office I had the chance to visit two projects in Mendoza. Together with Valerie Manoukian we went to see two weltwärts volunteers at the Food Bank where they are helping with the logistics of the warehouse and some administrative work. As we carried on to visit another project called “Brazos Abiertos”, which is a soup kitchen and a shelter for kids, a delicious invitation for lunch (homemade empanadas!) made the day perfect. Two of our German VIP volunteers are supporting the staff of this project in taking care and playing with the kids.

The trip to Argentina gave me great insight about particular projects and about the significance of voluntary service in general. I’d like to thank our Argentinean partners for their great help in organizing the meeting which turned out to be a great success for all parties.

Martina Luis

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The most interesting of the recent UN sessions were on the Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on the Work of NGOs, Sustainable Peace through Reconciliation, Sports for Development, and the week long meetings on the Commission on the Status of Women.

The Global Economic Crisis is on everyone’s mind and is affecting all of us in some way, but the briefing reminded us that those most affected will be the people most in need. As NGO representatives, we were urged to have our constituencies contact their government representatives and ask for more not less funding to the UN agencies.

Sustainable Peace through Reconciliation provided examples of four programs (Nicaragua, Hawaii, Rwanda and Timor-Leste) towards the use of reconciliation strategies following their civil wars and tribal genocides.

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women attracted over 500 women representatives of NGOs from all over the world who convened in New York at the United Nations in New York from March 2 - March 13 to discuss issues related to their main theme “the equal sharing of responsibilities between men and women in decision-making processes at all levels, esp. “Caregiving for HIV/AIDS Victims” and the emerging issues of “gender perspectives of the financial crisis.” Other topics included an increase in sex trafficing, including kidnapping, and an update by Afgani women of their struggles with rights to education and ending child marriages.

The other DPI/NGO briefings from January through March included The Changing Face of Race, Social Development and Social Justice, and Sports for Development. There have been special observances for the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust (Sephardic Jews in Greece), Celebration of International Women’s Day (Women and Men United to End Violence against Women and Girls) and Marking the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic Slave Trade.


The 62nd UN-NGO Annual Conference will be held in Mexico City, Mexico from September 9th through September 11. The topic is Disarmament and Peace. More information will be forthcoming as final agendas and plans are completed.

If any of you are interested in meeting summaries, additional websites and resources on any of these or related UN topics, please contact Ilene Todd. I hope to meet many of you at the Annual Conference in Rabat to find out more about your UN interests and how I can better facilitate your involvement with the UN.

Connie Crosson

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Introducing INTEJ Peru - VIP's newest host organization

INTEJ Peru, the VIP program's newest partner organization, is a private nonprofit association, comprised of a group of young professionals dedicated to offering students, teachers and youth of any nationality high quality intercultural programs. For more than 20 years, INTEJ has worked with students and youth as they work to better themselves and their own communities, and to develop a greater understanding of the world.

·To increase the number of countries which provide educational, work, and professional practice alternatives.
·To motivate more countries and international networks, to include Peru in their educational and volunteering program offerings
·To capture the interest of public institutions, private enterprises and NGO's

Through social tourism, especially educational tourism; organizing events, work and travel experiences; pre-professional and professional internships; volunteering programs, courses, and seminars. We also try to get active participation of Universities, youth organizations, business unions, and research. Helping to generate work INTEJ Stafffor youth is one of the tools INTEJ uses to reach its main goal. In addition, we insure comfortable and safe conditions, as well as economical air and land transport, lodging, insurance, etc.


Rocio Valdivia:- Inbound program manager (pictured at far right)
Gladys Quispe - Volunteer Program Coordinator (individual volunteerss)
Oscar Melgar - Volunteer Program Coordinator (groups or special programs)
Patricia Meza - Field Coordinator (individual volunteers)
Misael Linares - Field Coordinator (groups or special programs)
Ernesto Cano - Guide

Rocio Valdivia

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Two Boards Meet in Bonn

In September 2007, the boards of the German and Irish Experiment met in Dublin for a joint board meeting and to get to know each other better. The hospitality of the Irish is hard to match, but from the 13th until the 15th of March 2009, Joint Irish German Board Meeting in Bonn 2009Experiment Germany tried its best to do exactly that. Seven representatives of EIL Ireland came to Bonn and joined us for a weekend of discussions, brainstorming and fun.  Among the Irish delegation were Paul Conway, former president of EIL Ireland, Judy Roche, new president of EIL Ireland, and Kevin Hickey (who, by the way, will celebrate his 20th anniversary as director of EIL Ireland this year).

We covered all types of topics, from programs that work and those that don’t to strategic planning and how to make sure that we succeed in the future. Last but not least, we also discussed several ways of how we can support each other in times of crisis.

Everyone left the meeting with a head full of new ideas and a stomach full of German food (and Irish caramel sweets). The weekend was incredibly motivating for everyone involved and we are determined to make these joint board meetings a tradition from now on. Should any other Federation offices want to join us, please get in touch with us!

Bettina Wiedmann

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EIL Ecuador in collaboration with public hospitals in Quito offers 2 – 6 month internships for health workers, medical and nursing students in  Quito, Ecuador.  Through this experience interns are introduced to socioeconomic conditions and pathologies common to developing countries such as Ecuador. An intern in a Quito hospital

Teaching hospitals in Quito have many years of experience in successfully providing and supervising internships for health workers, medical and nursing students from local universities and from overseas.    Interns observe, shadow and occasionally get some hands-on experience but should not expect to treat patients directly.

Interns may observe work within the hospital in the medical area that most interests them.  Some basic hands-on practice may be possible if the intern´s medical tutor authorizes and supervises.  In general, and depending on medical studies and background, interns are assigned to Emergency, Gynecology, Pediatrics or Surgery with Medical Tutors.

During the program volunteers will live with Ecuadorian host families associated with EIL Ecuador.  EIL Ecuador provides cross-cultural and homestay orientations,  an introduction  to community health in Ecuador, 80 hours of one-to-one Spanish instruction at EIL´s language center, follow-up and support throughout the program.

During free time, participants can discover the old and new of Ecuador´s capital city, Quito, a World Heritage site with one of the best conserved colonial centers in S.A. and a lively modern section with excellent bars, restaurants, malls, craft shops and discos.

As Ecuador is a very small and ecologically diverse country, snow capped mountains, Amazon rain forest, Andean Cloud Forests, and great stretches of tropical beaches on the country´s Pacific Coast are within a few hours reach.  And the unique flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands are only a 90-minute flight away from Quito.

For more information:  Myriam Flor:  incoming@eilecuador

“Women for a Just and Equal World” – EIL Ireland celebrates International Women’s Day

In 1975, during International Women's Year, the United Nations began celebrating the 8th March as International Women's Day to recognize that peace and social progress require the active participation and equality of women, and to acknowledge the contribution of women to international peace and security.

Each year around the world hundreds of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. On the 9th of March, a group of EIL members organised an open public talk in Dublin to celebrate how ordinary women contribute to a more just and equal world in their everyday life.

Salome Mbugua and Tendai MadondoSalome Mbugua, director of AkiDwA (the African Women’s Network Ireland) and Tendai Madondo, specialist on Gender Based Violence and HIV for Christian Aid spoke about their professional and personal experience. Salome is originally from Kenya and has been living in Ireland for the last 13 years. She described the challenges she faced and she explained how she decided to set up an organisation aimed at empowering African women living in Ireland.

Tendai is originally from Zimbabwe, but she has been living in Ireland for the last 6 years. Tendai has been working on gender issues in different countries and she described how gender inequalities are disproportionately affecting women around the world. This kicked off a vibrant discussion on challenges and opportunities at local and global level. The speakers especially emphasized the importance of figuring out how each of us, both men and woman, can contribute to raising awareness about inequality and how we can be involved in making a change everyday. Salome Mbugua is pictured left in the photo, with Tendai Madondo at right.

Caterina Totaro

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Scholarship Provides Cultural Exchange for German Teens

Experiment e.V Germany offered a scholarship for a volunteer program and a  homestay in Ireland to five students of the Werner-Stephan-Oberschule in Berlin, a secondary general school in Germany. There were two boys and three girls, aged 14 to 15 years, who took part in the 4 weeks program in Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland from February 1st to 28th, 2009. The group was accompanied by a group leader, Anne, a volunteer and former participant of a VIP program to Togo. 

With this scholarship program, Experiment e.V. intends to offer the opportunity of taking part in an exchange program to students who would not normally have the opportunity to do so. Students from German “Haupt- and Realschulen” generally do not have the same access to intercultural exchange programs as students from German “Gymnasium”. In addition to that, two of the young people are from the immigrant community, and this demographic is still under-represented in exchange programs. 

Before leaving for Ireland the group took part in a one day pre-departure orientation in Berlin. Here the group discussed questions like “Who am I?”, “Where are we coming from?” and “Where are we going to?”. They learned Experiment mottos like “Be quick to observe, but slow to judge” or “Be curious” and took part in a cultural simulation excercise. It was a full day, where the group learned a lot in a fun way and they started to look forward to their program even more.

In Ireland the young people stayed with host families in Clonmel, county Tipperary. They settled in well in their host families and started on their volunteer placement the morning after they arrived.The group in Ireland

They volunteered at a local animal welfare project ‘Paws’ based in the small village of Mullinahone in north county Tipperary. Here they assisted staff with the care of the animals and took the dogs who had been abandoned on daily walks. Much of this work was outdoors, and the weather stayed fine for the majority of the time, which is good for February in Ireland!.

As part of their time on this project, the group also groomed the animals with the assistance of a professional dog groomer. They also helped staff with the animals visiting the vet and took part in a fundraising day packing bags at a local supermarket where they helped to raise over €3,000 of much-needed funds for the project.

On their last week in Ireland, the group volunteered with a local conservation project. Suir Island Conservation Project is concerned with conserving the milling area and old dry dock and salmon weir near the Suir river in Clonmel town. This is a heritage project and one which many local, community as well as artists groups are working towards making into a local amenity in this part of Clonmel town.Pictured here is the group with the project  co-ordinator Shay Hurley.

However It was not all work and no play!. During their time in Ireland, the German young people did some sightseeing and took part in a day’s outdoor adventure at an activity centre in the pretty seaside town of Dunmore East. They also visited Blarney castle and Cork city.

We are very glad that this program will be followed by two other scholarship programs from EIL Germany for this target group of students this year, that will be hosted and welcomed by EIL Ireland. 

Maya Lutterbei and Fiona O'Leary

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Links of Interest:

Dr. Alvino E. Fantini blogs on the impact of technology on the field of study abroad.

Results of the WYSE Work Abroad Survey about Member's Volunteer Programs

•Click here for a library of forms and documents that have been created by US colleges and universities for use by Study Abroad Offices. The forms posted on safety and emergency preparations are particularly helpful.

•WYSETC Research and Publications: Download their latest reports - "Youth Travel Matters: Understanding the Global Phenomenon of Youth Travel” Released June 2008 by WYSE Travel Confederation and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)

Other links:

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