Global Learning Case Study

Hands on Learning

Through a unique partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council (Countryside Section) UNA Exchange runs a programme of environmental volunteering, involving young people from Wales and other countries. The volunteers are based at Glanaman Youth Centre in the Amman Valley; the practical work takes place all over the county.

The practical environmental work is organised and supervised by County Council Rangers. It always concerns work to Public Rights of Way, improving access to and understanding of the countryside.

During the 2006 programme and alongside the outdoor work, 30 international volunteers from Togo, Malawi, Germany, India, Ireland, Korea, Bulgaria, Mayotte, Mexico and France ran a programme of educational visits and workshops with schools and youth groups across the county. They made 38 visits in total during the three-month programme. The aims of the visits were:

  • To promote awareness of cultural diversity
  • To give children and young people opportunities to meet people from other countries in a positive environment
  • To share personal experiences which introduced issues of international awareness, global trade and justice, environmental protection, fairtrade, etc.
  • To run drumming/percussion workshops
  • To provide a resource to teachers and youth workers

The feedback from the educational work was resoundingly positive.

A teachers view

The benefits to the children here have been huge; they have been given an opportunity that in school we just couldn’t give them. They’ve been able to meet people from a different culture, to experience somebody who’s lived a life in a totally different culture, a culture that’s only been accessible to them through the television, the media. And they sometimes have quite a stereotypical view of Africa and what it’s all about. The visits here have been huge to them; they will have a long term effect on teaching and everything that we do with them, the follow-up work.

It gives them a totally different perspective on people from Africa.

They went home and even some of the parents commented, they came in and said, "Are the children right, have they had visitors from Africa?"

So, yes, it had a big impact on them. I would love this to be a yearly part of the curriculum. What you deliver is just something that we can’t here – the experiences; to be able to talk about your grandfather living in the rainforest... we just couldn’t do it.

Andrea Evans