As part of expedition, our volunteers undertake a 19 day Youth Leadership Trek through the beautiful region of Iringa. For our Tanzanian volunteers, this is an incredible opportunity to push themselves out of their comfort zone whilst taking in the landscapes of their own country. They get to explore new territory environmentally and new ground with regards to their own capabilities. By completing something that they never thought possible, they gain resilience and strength to face other challenges in life, head-on and with confidence. We spoke to some of our Tanzanian Expedition volunteers to try to understand the impact that this experience has on them.
What did you learn?
“On youth leadership trek I learned about my strength and my potential and I am now able to identify my weaknesses. I learned communication skills during our trek alongside flexibility and negotiating skills.” Aaron, Expedition volunteer
“Trek sharpens the mind, teaches new skills. It made me confident that I can adapt and live in any environment. I learned that I am capable of doing things that I never thought I was before. The most valuable thing I learned was that I can be a leader.” Lynn, Expedition volunteer
“Trek was a good lesson for me to learn and develop different skills like leadership, managing a group and how to motivate people with different ideologies and mindsets. I learned different means of solving problems that arise in a group. I had never trekked before so I was excited to see myself trekking with different people and learning a new way of living. I got to adapt to different environments and apply my own skills in a different way.” Wilbard, Expedition volunteer
“It helped me to challenge myself in ways that I never thought I would. I was living outdoors with 15 amazing people. I got to understand different personalities, and how to live and work with people from different backgrounds.” Kingsley, Expedition volunteer
The experience of trekking on Raleigh Expedition can provide young people with a platform to learn new practical skills like navigation, setting up a campsite, cooking by fire etc. Perhaps more importantly, it can give confidence to our young volunteers in their voice and their capabilities.
“It was an important experience for me as I learned a lot about myself. It was just the motivation I needed to change myself and society for the better.” Aaron, Expedition volunteer
“I am now confident to do and say things that I wasn’t confident about before.” Lynn, Expedition volunteer
Most volunteers have little or no experience trekking before expedition. However, by the end of the 19 days, they come out with a completely different outlook on challenges and the value that similar experiences might hold for other young Tanzanians.
“Trek is beneficial for my fellow young Tanzanians. During this experience you get to learn important skills and you achieve things that you could never have imagined.” Aaron, Expedition volunteer
“Trek is very important as it gives us the space and time to learn different skills and understand our country. Participating in Raleigh’s sustainable development projects on Expedition teaches you how to bring about change in a community but trek really shows you what your capable of.” Wilbard, Expedition volunteer
“I saw beautiful mountain ranges and rocks that I didn’t know existed in Tanzania so in some ways this experience has also made me more patriotic about my country. This sort of experience is invaluable to young Tanzanians because it opens their eyes to the beauty of their country. It also teaches you skills and things about yourself that you might not learn otherwise.” Lynn, Expedition volunteer
“Covering 250KM on foot with my belongings on my back was a physical challenge, learning to navigate and surviving with what was available made the experience a life-changing one.” Kingsley, Expedition volunteer
Each phase of Raleigh Expedition is designed to teach young people different things about the world and about themselves. Participating in and dedicating time and energy to WASH and NRM projects is an invaluable part of this learning which has a huge impact on the communities we work in. By comparison, Youth Leadership Trek may not always sound as important, but Raleigh place great value on the unique opportunity that trek gives young people to gain confidence, new skills and an understanding of themselves and others and truly believe it can be transformative.
Words by Communications Officer Lou McGowan.