I loved this article written by World Vision staff member, Lou Acheson, which sums up the important reason for Blog Ambassador trips far better than I ever can:
As a long-term supporter of world Vision and a child sponsor of more than 10 years, it was an incredible honour to be given the opportunity to come and see the projects first hand. I have been lucky to visit Tanzania and meet my sponsor child in 2008. I’ve also attended a project in Battambang, Cambodia with the World Vision Cambodia Cycle team as a Tour Leader for Inspired Adventures earlier in 2014. My passion and enthusiasm for World Vision continues to grow as time and time again I see the valuable impact of their work
I’m a social media professional and I follow closely World Vision’s activities on social media. I was searching through Twitter one day and saw a post about the World Vision Bloggers attending a conference all together. I didn’t even know this existed. It would be a dream come true to be a World Vision blogger and I hit reply instantly, “How do I get to do that!” The ever-responsive Tim J from the social media team sent me a reply that filled me with joy, “Email us!”
With a lengthy description of my World Vision support, my passion for their work and my blogging credentials, I was soon accepted as a blogger. WOW! What a dream. To be amongst an amazing team of bloggers and to be supported by World Vision Australia to write about a charity I’m passionate about was perfect.
Next thing I know, there was an opportunity to head to Uganda on a blogging trip. This is something I’d hoped to do since I began my travel blog in 2009. To travel, write and talk about important things in the world. I entered my application with little hope of getting in as I was new to the group. I knew I had the goods to take on the task but I also know how amazing some of the other members of the group are. Before I knew it, I was making plans to attend the blogging trip as a #WVAbloggers ambassador to Uganda. First hand, experiencing the incredible work of World Vision and sharing that to my audience.
I’m glad to be here on an educational trip and to see a side of the country that most tourists would ever get to see. Of course there are various tour companies and programs which are offered to showcase a countries various communities but there can be varying degrees of the approach to this tourism. Sometimes called “voluntourism” where people go to travel and volunteer as they go has been getting a bad wrap. This was happening immediately before I left to come to Africa, and Africa of course is the poster child for “poverty porn”.
I didn’t want my World Vision Ambassador tour to be seen in this way, because it is not. We are #WVAbloggers. We are blog ambassadors, we are taking part in an educational tour to learn about the programs run here and share that with out networks in Australia to gain further support.
I’ve only been on this tour for a few days but already what I have seen and experienced is so powerful. It makes me think more about the world around me and outside of the immediate things I encounter on the day to day. How can we share our skills, resources and knowledge to improve communities who need it? We can understand! That’s the first step and we can then educate and make an impact from the grassroots to truly bring about change. These things take time but the most important thing I have learned, there is hope!
Follow my journey with World Vision Australia in Uganda on a number of channels: