Introduction to Tools for Self Reliance
1 volunteer from Moldova.
September/October 2019 – September/October 2020
Tools for Self Reliance is situated in Netley Marsh which is on the edge of the New Forest, approximately 11km from the main city of Southampton and 4km from Totton.
For more information about Tools for Self Reliance and our work in the UK and Africa please visit www.tfsr.org
Tools for Self Reliance is a UK based charity, established in 1980. Our mission is to contribute to poverty reduction in Africa by working with partner organisations and our supporters in the UK to empower people to build viable and sustainable livelihoods through the delivery of technical, business and life skills training and through the provision of tools for their trades.
From our headquarters in Southampton, we aim to send four to five shipments each year to our projects in Africa. We collect and refurbish hand tools, hand and electric sewing machines as well as some machinery. We raise funds in the UK to enable our partner organisations in Africa to deliver 12 months vocational, business and life skills training to the project participants. When the participants graduate from the training, they will receive a kit of tools to support them to develop a business.
We have 30 active refurbishing groups from as far afield as Aberdeen down to Devon and they support and contribute to our work in Africa. These refurbishing groups collect tools in their local area, refurbish them and either pack them in to kits or send the tools to Tools for Self Reliance headquarters in Southampton for inclusion in future kits.
The ESC volunteers will be based at the headquarters in Southampton, but they would have the opportunity to accompany the Group Support Officer on visits to some of the groups.
Our daily volunteers
Tools for Self Reliance has a long and successful history of working with volunteers from diverse backgrounds including retired people, and occasionally adults with learning difficulties and young people. Due to the nature of the work at Tools for Self Reliance, we have always, and will continue to attract an older generation of volunteers who have had many years experience of working with the tools and wish to continue doing so. We recognise that these volunteers are of great benefit to the organisation but we’re also aware that we may reach a point when this generation of volunteers are no longer able to volunteer with us and we need to continue to show the benefits of volunteering for young people.
We have been hosting EVS volunteers for over 20 years and enjoy the challenge of incorporating the changes of the programme into our day to day work.
The daily volunteers will provide a good standard of support to the ESC volunteers and they are a great resource in the project.
Key people involved in the project at Tools for Self Reliance
The EVS coordinator has 18 years’ experience of the objectives and working practices of Tools for Self Reliance. She also has long experience of working in supervisory and organisational roles with adults and manages the youth programme. The EVS coordinator is responsible for liaising with the sending organisations and ensuring that we have all of the up to date information to enable Tools for Self Reliance to submit applications which reflect our capacity and the expectations of all parties included in it. We have been managing our projects for the past four years.
The Workshop Manager who will support the ESC volunteers in their day to day work has a background in engineering and construction. In the past he has been responsible for developing and delivering meaningful work programmes for young people on work experience as well as work with the Scouts
Our CEO is a qualified teacher having worked in the UK and also in Africa and has 17 years’ experience of managing the projects with our partners in Africa and developing the organisation to where we are today.
The mentors chosen to support the ESC volunteers at Tools for Self Reliance through their project and learning development are deemed to be people who have the qualities to carry this out as well as offer pastoral care should they require/want it.
Those of us who have been involved in EVS over a number of years remain committed to the programme and strive to continue to develop the projects, ensuring we are providing a meaningful experience to the volunteer as well as meeting the expectations of our sending partners.
The principal activities will involve the volunteer supporting our charitable aims by contributing to practical tasks including learning about tools, industrial equipment and working practices in the workshop and warehouse and health and safety.
These tasks will necessitate working alongside retired people from the local community, people from other countries, and people from diverse backgrounds, occasionally young people from local schools and colleges and adults with learning difficulties. This will meet objectives regarding cultural and intergenerational diversity, understanding of learning styles, as well as gaining practical, problem solving and team working skills. The desired outcome for the volunteer will be to improve future employment, return to education and development prospects through the acquisition of skills and practical experience.
Tools for Self Reliance value the opportunity to offer as many different experiences and learning opportunities to the volunteer during their ESC project. We appreciate the flexibility to incorporate their skills and interests into their weekly activities.
In our experience, the volunteers who come to Tools for Self Reliance are young people with very little or no work experience and this experience may be the first time they’re in a work environment. Through their volunteering, they will learn effective communication skills and safe practices. During the day to day work preparing shipments for Africa and learning refurbishing skills with the daily volunteers there will be occasions where the volunteer will work as part of a team or on their own. Both of these situations require different skill sets. When working independently on a task, the volunteer learns to problem solve, recognise when they need to ask for guidance and seeing a task through from beginning to end. When working in a team, they will learn or enhance skills such as listening to other people’s opinions, putting forward suggestions and task planning. All of these new skills lead to an increase in confidence and self esteem as well as job satisfaction. They are also lifelong skills which will be beneficial to the volunteer in future further education, work and social settings.
Learning outcomes and competences to be improved/acquired from participating in the project
Learning to learn: During the working day at Tools for Self Reliance, there are numerous opportunities to learn new tasks, identify areas of specific interest and gain more specialist knowledge in a non formal setting. The volunteer will have the opportunities to recognise what their preferred individual learning style is and how this can benefit in task planning etc. This can be an important skill for a young person to learn. In our experience, not many of the young people have given this any consideration and they may only know how they learn in an academic context. This knowledge can have a positive and long-lasting effect on future education and employment. Past EVS volunteers have discovered that having previously believed that formal education was the way in which they learnt most successfully, discover that non formal learning has many advantages and additional benefits to them.
Personal project: The volunteer will have the opportunity to develop a personal project which will take place from around month three. This is encouraged by Tools for Self Reliance, and time during the week as well as support will be allocated. The personal project will incorporate the volunteers’ skills and interests. It will give the volunteer the opportunity to use these, practice previously acquired skills and develop new ones. It will require the volunteer to use skills such as developing realistic ideas, task planning, using your initiative and problem solving. Staff and/or daily volunteers will be available to support the projects should it be wanted or required.
Interested candidates are asked to send their CV and Motivation Letter (In English) to email@example.com with the subject “Tools For Self Reliance”
Deadline 15th of August 2019