The volunteer program is central in what the farm bills as its “building bridges strategy” to stir itself towards the achievement of its goals and objectives.
Volunteering has proven effective in promoting the sustainable development agenda of the farm by influencing:
- Inclusion– extends the farm’s advocacy for sustainable farming technologies and systems to wider reach. We expect volunteers not simply to learn about organic and indigenous farming technologies but to be advocates of the practice as well. More than that, we hope their experience in the farm would further instil in them the need to be part of the global movement to gain more adherents for the sustainable management of the earth’s resources
- Innovation – creates new forms of collaboration that lead to social innovation. In the case of the farm, the volunteer program has spawned another farm program, the eco-cultural travel and tours. The tour provides the volunteers with the opportunity to experience the indigenous culture of the local communities. The experience gained for themselves a better understanding of the people’s way of living as they joined them in their festivity celebrating the beauty of life. On the side of the farm, it paved the way for to form a partnership with the communities hosting the tours. The partnership not only afforded the chance to further enhance the cultural interaction between the volunteers and the people but also the opportunity to work together in promoting organic farming and in sustaining the local indigenous farming systems which are built on the respect for the land
- Ownership- strengthened people’s control of the development process. One worker in the farm sums this up when asked what he thinks of the volunteers he has worked with. ”Each time I work with volunteers and I show them how to do things, I know that much depends on me on whether the volunteers leave the farm having learned something they can take with them or not.”
- Participation – creates pathways for people’s participation and active citizenship. The opportunity for communities partnering with the farm in its Eco Cultural Travel and Tour undertakings in actively promoting their arts and culture is one such pathway created. “The young people are disinterested in our cultural traditions. They did not see its place in a modern way of living. But thanks to our involvement with the eco-cultural tour program of LCF, it is now the youth that is in the forefront of the cultural revival” remarked one community elder who was so happy with the development.
- Inspiration – modelling different norms. Stories abound among the folks in the farm on things they cherish about the volunteers they have worked with. There is always something you would learn from each one they say. They always bring warmth with them. It is amazing how they integrate themselves so easily and how open they are to experiencing and learning new things and sharing their own talent, knowledge and skills in the process. Differences, i.e., culture and race, are blurred and commonalities take precedence. It is always a sad day when a volunteer leaves. You welcome a stranger and say goodbye to a friend.
Building bridges are what volunteering is all about from the perspective of the farm. Volunteering spawns and builds mutual relationship and friendship. It creates venues for knowledge and experiences to be shared. It is a response to the urgent call to build bridges so we can all connect and come together to build a better world and be real friends of the earth, our source if life.
Anyone interested to volunteer can get more information by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org