Application to volunteer in Africa.
October 10, 2008 6:01 PM   Subscribe

How might I help a friend in applying to volunteer for a charity that runs community projects in Mozambique?

A friend of mine works for a company that is a corporate sponsor of a charity that works with communities in Mozambique to relieve poverty and create a sustainable future. In addition to being a corporate sponsor this company has begun to run a programme through which their employees can volunteer to assist the charity in their work in Africa and it will cover all the expenses for the trip. As you might imagine there are very limited places and much competition for those few places. Applicants need to write a letter addressing why they would be the best candidate, how they might be of benefit to the charity and how they themselves might benefit from the experience.

My friend has written a good letter about how worthy she thinks the work of the charity is and how proud and honoured she would be if she were chosen by the company to assist the charity in their work. But then I suspect that every single letter that will be submitted says pretty much the same thing, she does however I believe have one thing in her favour.

The current major project undertaken by this charity is the improvement of schooling in the region through the building of a new village school and the provision of free school meals. My friend who is in the final year of a degree in Education Studies, has written amongst other things that because of her area of study she believes she and the current project are a perfect fit.

How else might she distinguish herself from the common herd and improve her chances of getting picked?
What might a charity director be looking forward in such an application letter?
posted by electricinca to Work & Money (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What could she pull out of her experiences in the company (and in life) that would make her a valuable asset? Think of it like her job interview for the company.
posted by divabat at 9:57 PM on October 10, 2008

Best answer: She should be sure the letter highlights not just her academic experience related to the field (degree in Education Studies), but any hands-on or domestic volunteer work (e.g. tutoring, curriculum development, school board, whatever their program covers and she has done.)

If she has had other overseas experiences that might make them feel good about choosing her (has volunteered elsewhere, has traveled in developing world and is less likely to get frustrated with the different lifestyle...), it's good to mention.

Also, she should mention knowledge or "I'm already learning some basic..." local language. In this case, Portuguese. I knew a group working in Maputo in education and they found it really, really useful. So, yeah, at least start picking up basic conversation stuff so it's a legitimate skill, if at a beginning level.

(Background: used to work in development through a university, one of my responsibilities was selecting/organizing teams for overseas projects like this one.)
posted by whatzit at 4:09 AM on October 11, 2008

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