FAQ

What is Global Outreach Alliance (GOA)?

Global Outreach Alliance is a registered non-profit 501(c)3 (public charity) organization. Our mission is to empower communities by promoting self-reliance through education, mentoring and sustainable development solutions. In addition to non-profit projects that focus on community empowerment, education and holistic development, we facilitate and provide safe, structured, culturally diverse, non-paternalistic and authentic outreach programs to the communities where we work. These programs strengthen our global education and development initiatives through relationship-based development and meaningful partnership practices with locals. Our volunteer participants (mentors) engage in direct one-on-one and group mentoring and collaborative projects to assist locals to achieve successful results based off of  home-grown solutions for development and poverty reduction. We promote local ownership and solutions by creating GOA satellites (local community-based divisions of GOA) in all countries we work.  All of our programs foster understanding, cultural and environmental conservation, economic benefit, sustainable development and appreciation for the communities and cultures where we work. Moreover, our goal is to create a more culturally aware and responsible global citizen; therefore, all of our programs offer volunteers an outlet for continued and focused involvement to make a measurable difference on a global scale. We protest against any involvement in poverty tourism as it simply exploits the world’s impoverished people and offers no apparent solutions or true partnership. 

How does GOA differ from other non-profit organizations?

 Our approach differs from the mainstream non-profit world significantly in five ways:

  • Unique Model of Giving: 100% is powerful. We believe donated funds should not be given to sustain organizations; they should sustain the people/communities for whom the monies were intended. We guarantee that your donation will go right to those who need it most. For example, write us a check for $1,000 for a school project in Uganda to allow education to reach more children, or a community well project to triple rice yields in Cambodia, and 100% of your donation will go directly towards that specific project (as opposed to being used for any bit of salary or overhead). We cannot preach and support self reliance programs unless we as an organization are self reliant ourselves. That is why we, as a board of directors, all have other primary means of income outside of GOA. With no need to pay for expensive administrative overhead or office space, your investment to help fund a project or participate in a volunteer expedition is an affordable and effective way to make a big difference.
  • Responsibility:  We feel it is our responsibility to invest in change that will work for individual communities to improve lives in a sustainable way. Sustainability and achieving meaningful results is our responsibility. Hence, in the realm of community development, we protest against handouts. Any form of aid or intervention should promote self-reliance and independence from aid. Continually giving people stuff is not good global citizenship. Despite coming from a place of good intent, handouts do not promote self-sufficiency, but rather, create dependency all while crippling local micro-economies. Handouts create more harm than good. Our responsibility is to teach how to use the “hook,” not to give out the “fish.”
  • Local Ownership & Partnership: Local ownership and collaboration are not only the prerequisites for instigating a project, they are crucial to its success. Local problems are best remedied by local solutions, not by “know-it-all” foreigners implementing self-interests and Western savior-agendas. GOA establishes the headquarters for each project locally to encourage organic development, homegrown solutions, use of local resources,  and local involvement. (e.g. GOA-Kenya, GOA-Uganda, etc.). We begin by learning as much as possible about the people who will  benefit from our work–-their lives, their struggles, their victories, their needs, their aspirations–-rather than starting with a preconceived hypothesis about what they need.  Once we understand, we join the global village in a non-paternalistic, direct partnership to achieve results of impact with the objective of reaching local, long-term community goals.
  • Volunteerism & Cultural Immersion: We run on a spirit of volunteerism–from our board to our global team expeditions–we love to give of our time, talents and treasure. We are committed to assisting those who volunteer for global expeditions to become as immersed in the local culture and ways of life as possible. We protest against engaging in “poverty tourism” or “hug-an-orphan” campaigns that may only seek to pull heartstrings and do not emphasize the dignity of the local people who are doing the best they can to provide for their families under difficult circumstances. For instance, some service groups will go tour “poor” villages and take photos of orphans; our groups work with locals to build schools and implement projects to meet local opportunities for sustainable development.  Moreover, if you come on one of our expeditions, you will be involved and active in projects that will continue  even when you’ve left the country. Your impact will be felt long after you’re gone. We tap into our volunteers’ unique skills and expertise to meet local opportunities for development.  Our volunteers find that engaging in selfless service is frequently a catalyst for personal change. As one volunteer who built houses in Cambodia stated: ‎”All of us were changed by the profound exchange of love and service. We had given them new houses to live in, they had given us a new way to understand living” (Sallie, California).
    • Positivity: Take a look at the pictures and messages we share on our website and on Facebook. You will see positive, uplifting and happy faces. You will see messages that promote kindness, charity, respect and love. You will never see “poverty porn” from us (malnourished, starving, famine-stricken human beings). It’s not to say that form of suffering does not exist. It does. No doubt, there are severe challenges the global village faces daily–that of extreme poverty, corruption, inequality, inadequate health and educational services, etc.  However, we protest against organizations that only portray the suffering and heart wrenching ‘bad’ in countries they work to serve in order to earn emotion-triggered donations. This, we feel, is degrading and dehumanizing to those who are victims of this form of exploitation. There is so much good–there is so much to celebrate.  Remember, there is no such thing as “underdeveloped.” There is only “developing.” We protest against the use of “poverty porn” and stories that degrade and diminish all the good that is being done by men and women of worth and integrity. Negativity should never justify calls for assistance. Our interrelated humanness, sincere desires for authentic partnership, and the hope of learning something from each other is why we do what we do.

What is a mentor?

A mentor is what we call our volunteers. A mentor is a friend entrusted with the education and long-term development of another. By loving people and valuing human interaction, a mentor becomes a mutual partner in a relationship-based union focused on the overall growth, prosperity, and welfare of another. A mentor offers a “hand up,” not a “hand out.” A mentor does this by bringing his or her talents, experiences, expertise, selfless contributions and skills to the table of service and compassion. A mentor’s sole purpose is to give to others. Unanimously, mentors always get back an abundance of joy and personal fulfillment (a natural byproduct of selfless service). A mentor is a humble teacher, a fervent student, a grateful servant, an ambassador of pragmatic change, and an altruistic big brother or big sister. A mentor remains positive, encouraging, respectful, and invested at all costs. A mentor doesn’t necessarily have all of the right answers or know how. Nonetheless, a mentor does have the capacity to disperse huge amounts of love and effort by sincerely caring, genuinely listening, and being devoted to the cause of others. For Global Outreach Alliance, mentors assume the aforementioned title and responsibilities to go global and apply their skills and desires to serve all while being immersed in rich culture and diverse beauty. You are a mentor (if you so choose).

What do Global Outreach Alliance mentors do on team expeditions?

Depending on the current or future availability of programs and the mentors’ individual skills/interests, mentors could work on any or a combination of the following projects:

      • Teaching children alongside trained teachers in underfunded schools
      • Critical research and surveying on sustainable development programs
      • Implementing and researching micro-savings programs
      • Micro-enterprise implementation and craft/product development
      • Teaching business management and development courses
      • Planning, implementation, and support for community development projects (greenhouses, community centers, youth centers, health programs, libraries and computer workshops)
      • Construction of homes, schools and community buildings with locals
      • Family or community gardening for sustainable, income-generating agriculture
      • Teaching and implementing animal husbandry and aquaponics programs
      • Implementing scholarship programs
      • Teaching topics of basic health, hygiene and nutrition as well as principles of happiness (attitude, education, strong relationships, finance and savings)
      • Organizing doctor and dentist visits to local communities: treating illnesses and vising/consulting with patients, training locals (e.g. wide wife programs), and establishing programs for sustainable health support
      • Organizing local sports teams and leagues for underprivileged youth
      • Teaching art, music and physical education
      • Enhancing local children’s quality of life through education programs and fundraising campaigns
      • Mural painting at children’s hospitals or schools
      • Teaching vocational or imperative skills like hair dressing, auto mechanics, design, etc.

Whichever program mentors are assigned to work on (keeping in mind their preferences and individual skill sets), Global Outreach Alliance will personalize a day-to-day working schedule to ensure as much structure and order as possible. Moreover, regardless of which type of program or work responsibilities a mentor participates in, each will allow the mentor to be fully immersed in local culture. Furthermore, mentors will learn about the essential principles involved in collaborating with local community leaders and how to implement meaningful solutions to fight poverty and improve quality of life. In addition to the work mentors do, they are also given unique opportunities to engage in cultural learning excursions to enhance overall understanding and appreciation of the community and people they serve.

How long do mentors serve for?

 Team expeditions are typically two weeks long. We sometimes offer shortened expeditions, as well (about one week in length). However, individual or small group volunteer opportunities may be available at variable lengths. These opportunities allow for volunteers to spend a month or more supporting our global grassroots projects.  Contact us to learn of possible openings at one of our global project locations. If mentors embarking on a team expedition have more time to serve, we are happy to extend length of stay to accommodate the needs of the mentor and locals on a personalized basis. See each program for specific openings and dates of service.

What training is required for mentors to participate in team expeditions?

Formal training meetings are required before mentors can leave on their programs. The trainings are conducted by Global Outreach Alliance’s mentoring team personnel. If mentors are out of the state of Utah or out of the country, trainings via Skype or teleconferencing may be approved. Through training, Global Outreach Alliance works to instill in mentors an understanding and appreciation of the local history, geography, religions, current state of affairs, and culture/environment in which they travel by encouraging considerate, culturally and environmentally conscious habits. In addition, all mentors are properly trained on cultural do’s and don’ts and international development topics specific to the region. Acceptance to the programs and deposit payment must be made to begin the trainings.

How much does it cost to participate in a team expedition?

For all Global Outreach Alliance programs there is an affordable program fee. All of these program fees vary in cost because living expenses and program services differ from country to country. We are founded upon the belief that service should not cost and arm and a leg. Please keep in mind that we strive hard to leverage our in-country partnerships and contacts to ensure the lowest possible cost to you. We offer quality, diverse programs to foster immersion through culturally rich experiences all while engaging in meaningful service at an affordable cost to our volunteers. For life changing opportunities to impact and shape the lives of others, while obtaining ample time for self-discovery and cultural exploration, you will find our program fees to be extremely minimal. Please see the “Expeditions” section of this site to learn more about specific programs and corresponding costs. Also, please keep in mind that all of our board of directors have primary means of income outside of GOA–this allows the money from your program fees to actually benefit the people we serve, rather than going into our own pockets or being eaten up in admin costs.

Do you offer group or family discounts?

GOA offers a simple group and family discount plan. A group of three that enrolls together will receive $100 off their individual program fees (total of $300 off). A group of four that enrolls together will receive $150 off their individual program fees (total of $600 off). A group of five that enrolls together will receive $200 of their individual program fees (total of $1,000 off). In order to receive these discounts, groups or families must notify GOA staff that they are grouped together as friends, family, peers or colleagues before or at the time of applying.

Also, GOA offers an early bird discount to all participants who apply, get accepted, and pay their deposit before January 1st of the program expedition year.

For more information or questions, please contact us.

What are the housing arrangements like for mentors?

With all Global Outreach Alliance programs, we strive hard to provide quality and safe housing. With that said, we also value cultural immersion. Mentors, depending on the specific program, will most likely have the opportunity to live with a local host family, in an approved guest home or camp location in a school or medical clinic. “When in Rome…” right? We will never compromise safety or health, though. You will take away much from living and learning from locals.

What do mentors eat while on team expeditions?

Some mentors have an easier time eating what the locals eat than others. Some can’t get cheesy, beefy burgers off their minds. That’s OK. Whatever category you fall into, we have your back. We do, however, encourage you to try and eat as much as possible with the locals. With all programs, meals are included as part of paying your program fee. The food is locally raised or grown and prepared with local flavor, always observing Western food handling and health standards. In some situations/programs, daily food stipends will be used and distributed to mentors to use at their discretion. If you want to buy more and supplement what you eat with the locals, that’s up to you. Keep in mind that multivitamins and other nutritional supplements are always a good thing to have when traveling to a foreign country. The nutrients in a standard meal in Kenya or Cambodia may be different from the sustenance you’re used to at home, and if you’re body isn’t adequately compensated for lacking nutrients it would feel a bit out of whack–low on energy, and susceptible to illness. Also, it is always a good idea to be armed with some sort of medicine in case you get sick in the stomach. This seldom occurs. But we encourage all mentors to meet with their doctor before departing on a program. Your doctor may wish to prescribe you with a region-specific medicine or antibiotic in case you happen to get sick from food- or water-related illnesses. Never drink the water out of the tap (or ice, for that matter)! You can always choose to boil water for at least seven minutes as well as use chlorine tablets to ensure safety. Or, the safest way to go would be to just choose to consume bottled water.  For team expeditions, food and water is included as part of the program fee.

What are the requirements to be a mentor?

Mentors must possess the following characteristics:

      • Hard working
      • Motivated
      • Honest
      • Proactive
      • Flexible
      • Positive
      • Loving

With all mentors we first analyze their skills and interests and then work to plug them into a program where they can be of the most help. There may be some specific program requirements depending on the area/need.

Can mentors get internship credit from their universities by doing one of your programs?

In most cases, yes, we can design a program for you that would meet internship requirements. We encourage all mentors who are students to seek opportunities to obtain university internship credit. To do this, please contact your department head or internship office. We are happy to help with whatever is required, and can fill out necessary forms upon request.

Is it safe?

Global Outreach Alliance works hard to provide the safest possible living and working conditions for mentors all while valuing meaningful cross-cultural immersion experiences. We regularly monitor the areas we work, and receive updated travel and safety warnings from OSAC (U.S. Department of State Overseas Security Advisory Council). We provide mentors with all necessary country-specific resources and knowhow, including any pertinent updates or security briefings from the U.S. State Department. All of our programs are equipped with in-country facilitators or directors that oversee and monitor your well being. They pick you up from the airport, provide you with a cell phone (if alone or traveling with small groups), brief you on all projects and tasks, take you where you need to be, orientate you on your living and working conditions, and are there 24-7 to contact for questions or specific help. We work as much as possible with locals, because, at the end of the day, locals know best. However, in a world where the unpredictable has been known to happen, it is imperative that each mentor take responsibility for his or her own safety by staying informed and conducting themselves accordingly. Moreover, all mentors are required to sign a Risk and Release form before participating. For more detailed information regarding international security while abroad, Global Outreach Alliance suggests carefully reviewing information from the U.S. Department of State

What should I bring on the team expedition?

Global Outreach Alliance supplies each mentor with a Mentor Handbook. Inside the handbook includes a comprehensive packing list specific for each program (as well as a “to-do list” for pre-departure purposes). Please work through this list prior to departure and keep in mind any additional personal items you may need (medications, prescriptions, etc.) But remember, try to pack as light as possible whenever you travel internationally! Additionally, with some programs we may ask mentors if they’d be willing to take out a carry-on luggage with some supplies pertinent to specific program projects (gloves or tools for building/gardening, school supplies, books, etc.).

Can I bring my computer on a team expedition?

In some situations, having a computer on site can be an invaluable tool. However, it also could create distraction for you and others, as well as temptation for would-be thieves. Bringing a computer on your program is not required, and should be left up to your discretion as a mentor. Obviously, Global Outreach Alliance is not responsible for any theft or vandalism of personal belongings. On all team expeditions, the team leader or in-country facilitator will provide a computer for your use in updating the home front, or updating your Facebook status. However, in some areas we work electricity is not available and internet connections are unreliable. Please keep this in consideration.

Do I have to purchase my own flight?

You will need to pay for your own flight.  We have arrangements with outside travel agents who will be able to coordinate and purchase all Global Outreach Alliance flights to ensure best rates, coordination, and discounts. This way you don’t need to worry about spending hours finding the cheapest airfare—they’ll find it for you. However, please feel free to purchase your own flight after receiving direction from your team leader. Be sure to know when you are expected to be in country.

What do I need to do before I go on a team expedition?

Global Outreach Alliance supplies each mentor with a mentor handbook. Inside the handbook includes a detailed pre-departure “to do” check list. Below are some basic reminders to keep in mind.

      • Apply (fill out application and submit resume).
      • If you are accepted, you will be asked to immediately pay a $200 non-refundable deposit for your program. This deposit ensures you a spot on the team. We cannot guarantee a spot on the team until the deposit is submitted
      • Sign and complete all required forms and compliance agreements
      • Meet with your doctor or International Travel Health Clinic (not required, but recommended)
      • Get any required/recommended vaccinations or prescriptions
      • Be familiar with all visa entry/exit requirements to your expedition country destination. If you have questions, please contact your team leader
      • Make sure you have a valid passport that has over 6 months until expiring from the day your program ends (the day you leave to return back home)
      • Purchase your airfare (typically done between 4 to 8 weeks prior to departure)
      • Attend all required training meetings. Respond to all team leader email correspondence. Participate in any required team building or fundraising activities before departure (if applicable).
      • Spend personal time studying country-specific culture and customs, and read through and understand any and all training materials that are provided (e.g. Mentor Handbook)
      • Pay program fee in full at least two months before departure
      • Gear up for the time of your life to serve others in a meaningful and lasting way!

How is Global Outreach Alliance a “responsible and social-minded” volunteer program provider?

Global Outreach Alliance abides by the laws, regulations and guidelines of the countries, cultures and natural areas we visit. Moreover, we wish to make a lasting difference through our relationship-based volunteer mentoring programs. In short, we’re here to stay, and we value sustainable development interests as well as cultural and environmental conservation by working hard to give back and make a difference:

      • We ensure direct economic benefits from our programs in the host community
      • We hire local in-country facilitators and train them on all aspects of our Policy of Responsibility to ensure best practice and compliance
      • We support local businesses and use local services
      • We ensure that all aspects of our mentors’ experiences are in harmony with the cultural and natural environment. We accomplish this by requiring involvement in pre-departure training in order to help minimize cultural and environmental impact.
      • We work to instill in our mentors an understanding and appreciation of the local history, religions, current state of affairs, and culture/environment in which they travel by encouraging considerate, sensitive, culturally and environmentally conscious habits.
      • We actively support community and educational initiatives through financial contributions and direct participatory involvement. We fund local grassroots projects. We contribute to other organizations that have a shared vision and work ethic for sustainable development, education and conservation efforts. Some of these organizations include, but are not limited to Tabitha, forPEACE, and CICFO.
      • We ensure that all of our programs and operations abide by this Policy of Responsibility. We regularly monitor our operations and those of our business and NGO partners to ensure that these standards are maintained.

Can mentors fundraise for their program?

Yes, they can. Volunteer mentors pay a program fee to be able to serve with us. These program fees benefit our local, in-country program services (projects). Mentors’ program fees also cover individual in-country expenses (e.g. food, accommodations, in-country travel, etc.). Mentors may plan various activities or events in the time preceding their programs to raise funds for a specific project abroad. Before mentors begin fundraising, please contact us directly to learn more about how we can help you with your efforts. With our assistance and mentors individual efforts, mentors are able to raise a substantial portion of the required program fee to offset out-of-pocket expenses.