Preface for Crazymalc readers
I can safely safe - with no proud boastfulness - that
the volunteer projects offered by
Volunteer are the best I have ever seen. And I
have seen quite a few across
the Philippines, Ghana
RYE School alone sets Meaningful Volunteer above and
beyond. If the
Malcolm of four years ago had a choice between
teacher in the Philippines; a
at best and
rage-inducing time at worst in Ghana;
promises he couldn't keep (initially...)
in Uganda; or the chance to make a meaningful and
measurable change in a garbage-funded, internet-enabled,
solar-powered school with modern teaching aids, then I
know what he would have chosen.
One of the challenges I am facing now is to get the
message out there that there is an organization
out there dedicated to empowering developing communities
in a non-profit way.
Not one that focuses on volunteer tourism (cough
My competitors cough). Not one that does
little more than prop up corrupt governments and create
welfare states (cough World Bank, IMF cough).
Not one that measures success in terms of money spent
and not poverty alleviation (cough Save the
Children, World Vision cough).
But one that is dedicated to empowering volunteers to
make a meaningful and measurable change.
To get the message out, I am about to pay
much money to place Meaningful Volunteer as the number
one volunteer destination in the Philippines.
I also plan to publish relevant items - from both
here on crazymalc.com and the Meaningful Volunteer site
- to as many Internet sites as I can as a kind of a
guerilla marketing campaign.
An example of how this can work: On a whim, I decided
to post this
article on a site called
which is a language exchange community site. One
young lady (waves to Saemi) read the article and was
excited by it. This eventually led to a whole swag
of Korean students getting involved with the
House of Sharing
I am hoping for similar results as I spam my entries
across the net.
The following article is the first such entry.
Attempting the Impossible
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Malcolm
Trevena and I am attempting the impossible.
I am attempting to empower unskilled volunteers to make a
meaningful and measurable impact on developing communities.
I plan - among other things - to
build a solar-powered Internet-enabled school where kids pay
in the form of recycled materials;
family planning project that will reduce the average family
size via the use of a simple necklace;
replant mangroves along the shorelines and trees along the
repair decrepit schools; and create an online presence for
the communities to sell the wares and get some child sponsorship
Phew! A tall order no doubt.
I have set up a non-profit organization in my own country
Volunteer to help me with this. I
worked as teacher in Korea for
two years and all the money that I earned has been piled into
the organization as seed money.
I myself have volunteered extensively across
Uganda and the
Philippines. I have seen
volunteers (including me!) assigned to projects that - at best -
have little or no impact on the communities or - at worst - have
a negative impact.
I want to change all that.
I can not - of course - do all this on my own. The
money saved and my mental health would dwindle in equal
amounts... Meaningful Volunteer will also act as a
volunteer placement organization. Volunteers will pay a
small fee to help out in the aforementioned projects. Some
of the money goes to food and lodging, some of it goes into
administration and most of it goes into the project that they
are involved in.
It is a risky model in some ways, especially in these
worrying times. I do take heart though that one of my main
for-profit competitors places upwards of 1,500 volunteers a year
into projects that are - quite frankly - crap.
After many months of planning and sleepless nights, I am
finally ready to get things going. In a few days, I head
to the island province of Romblon in the Philippines with my
first two volunteers in tow.
I plan to publish my journals and thoughts here as I go.
It is going to be an exciting adventure no doubt.
Hopefully exciting in a empowering-communities type of way and
not exciting in a oh-my-look-at-that-organization-crumble type
So, keep on eye on this site for updates!