Explore the Global World

“My experience in Vietnam has challenged my preconceptions about this beautiful country and allowed me an insight into its rapid changes in all aspects of society. For me, this opportunity for cultural exchange has changed the way I think about the world. I think that it often does the same for others…the more of it the better.” Dáire, GAP Award Winner

EIL are offering partially funded GAP Awards to someone passionate about global issues and who wishes to participate in a two-month summer volunteer programme abroad. Possible destinations may include Mexico, Vietnam, South Africa, Guatemala, Ecuador.

Choose one of these UN Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG 3 Good Health: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • SDG 4 Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • SDG 5 Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women & girls
  • SDG 15 Life on Land: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, half biodiversity loss

Volunteering abroad can challenge you in many ways – Read more about what challenging can mean

This Award is open to ANYONE 18+.

What we are looking for in an Explorer:

  • A person who is curious about other cultures, tolerant of differences and is flexible and open to engage with new and at times challenging situations.
  • A person who is willing to engage with EIL upon their return to Ireland, to share their experience, and to learn with others.
  • A person who is seeking a different and new opportunity that can provide open mindedness, global awareness, self reflection and self improvement.

What is GAP?

The Global Awareness Programme is an exciting training, volunteering, and awareness raising project focusing on the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

  • Implement an awareness raising campaign in Ireland around your SDG
  • Complete a GOLD Global Citizen Award and raise awareness about global social justice issues

Your Action at Home will go towards your Gold Global Citizen Award. Our EIL internal Global Citizen Award recognises and encourages the Explorers to use their overseas experience to take action and raise awareness of global justice on their return to Ireland.

Completing a Gold Global Citizen Award (GCA) is one of the conditions of receiving a Global Awareness Programme Award!

To get the Gold GCA you will need to complete the following:

● the Explore Programme (pre-departure weekend, 8 weeks abroad, welcome back weekend)
● 2 Action at Home Projects after your return
● 1 approved Development Education training workshop
● 4 Reflective Posts (one of which should focus on your development education workshop)
● Volunteer Commitment in Ireland (min. 40h in total)

What are the SDGs?

What are the SDGs?

In Sept 2015, United Nations countries adopted a new sustainable development agenda committed to 17 Global Goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years ; End extreme poverty. Fight inequality & injustice. Fix climate change. The new sustainable development goals could get these things done. The Global Awareness Programme offers exciting projects that focus on Good Health (goal 3), Quality Education (goal 4), Gender Equality (goal 5), Life on Land (goal 15) in a range of countries.  If the Goals are going to work, everyone needs to know about them. The Global Awareness Programme supports you to TELL EVERYONE!

Types of Projects

UNSDG: Good Health

UNSDG: Good Health

Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages is essential to sustainable development. Significant strides have been made in increasing life expectancy and reducing some of the common killers associated with child and maternal mortality. Major progress has been made on increasing access to clean water and sanitation, reducing malaria, tuberculosis, polio and the spread of HIV/AIDS. However, many more efforts are needed to fully eradicate a wide range of diseases and address many different persistent and emerging health issues.

  • Mexico: Volunteers on this placement share their time between two projects that support children from disadvantaged backgrounds with Down Syndrome, Autism, impaired hearing among other conditions. The first project is a mixed school open during week days where teachers and therapists need help with physical activities, art and body expression, early stimulation classes and during lunch time. Help is also needed in maintenance of the garden, painting walls and cleaning the workshop areas. The second project is a permanent house for boys with special needs. Volunteers help by assisting teachers in classes, organising activities in drama, art and creative workshops and general assistance with the boys.

UNSDG: Quality Education

UNSDG: Quality Education

Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development. Major progress has been made towards increasing access to education at all levels and increasing enrolment rates in schools particularly for women and girls. Basic literacy skills have improved tremendously, yet bolder efforts are needed to make even greater strides for achieving universal education goals. For example, the world has achieved equality in primary education between girls and boys, but few countries have achieved that target at all levels of education.

  • South Africa: These education projects are mainly based at public primary and high schools and are located in disadvantaged communities in and around Cape Town. The classes range from 40-50 learners per class where facilities and resources are very limited. Most schools do not have sports clubs or library services and help is needed in these areas. Classes for student with special needs or homework support clubs are also usually not available. Volunteers are needed to provide teaching support in classrooms, to assist with sports activities and computer literacy. Teaching experience and/or an interest in Education is a requirement. School term 3 runs from July – Sept. No teaching placements are available in May or June. A TEFL or teaching qualification is desirable.
  • Vietnam: The Center for Sustainable Development Studies in Vietnam addresses development issues in Vietnam with particular focus on children support through social inclusion, youth development through international exchange and non-formal education, and women empowerment through sustainable livelihood support. Their project “Youth Drivers for Change” implements activities through a variety of channels to engage and build the existing and significant potential of Vietnamese youth in the civil society sector. The working principle of the project is that by enhancing young people’s access to and engagement with broader grassroots civil society organisations, both the youth and the communities involved benefit, often in innovative ways. The project focuses on inclusive, participatory and holistic training activities. It uses proven good practice training and facilitation methods and thematic expertise to build the capacity of the young people involved.

UNSDG: Gender Equality

UNSDG: Gender Equality

While the world has achieved progress towards gender equality  and women’s empowerment under the Millennium Development Goals (including equal access to primary education between girls and boys), women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world.

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.

  • Mexico: Aware of the needs of women leaving prostitution and not having the means to survive, Pozo de la Vida started Nunayú in March 2015. Nunayú is a social enterprise focusing on the needs of women who lack opportunities or vocational experience . Thru Nunayú, women receive vocational training and are empowered to fulfil their personal dreams and endeavours. It provides women with art therapy, nutrition workshops, continual education, counselling and social services.  Nunayú´s focus on victims of human- trafficking is a response to the needs of women who have been trapped in the industry for more than 10 years.  Volunteers in this project will receive talks on how to manage the special circumstances of its population, and not very often will be in contact with newly “rescued” women. However they will get to know how through constant presence and quiet support Pozo de Vida has given hope to women in desperate situations.

UNSDG: Life on Land

UNSDG: Life on Land

Forests cover 30 per cent of the Earth’s surface and in addition to providing food security and shelter, forests are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population.  Thirteen million hectares of forests are being lost every year while the persistent degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares.

Deforestation and desertification – caused by human activities and climate change – pose major challenges to sustainable development and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the fight against poverty. Efforts are being made to manage forests and combat desertification.

  • Guatemala –Most families in Guatemala depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods. But farmers disproportionately bear the impact of climate change – they are particularly vulnerable because any disruption to their agricultural system resulting from extreme weather events like hurricanes, extreme rainfall or drought results in significant crop and income losses and exacerbates food insecurity. Few farmers have adjusted their farming strategies to cope with climate change, due to limited resources and capacity. This permaculture project focuses on the promotion of native seeds and the protection of local ecosystems by sustainably managing its natural resources while also having a positive impact on the livelihoods and wellbeing of local communities. Volunteers are needed to help with maintenance and improvement of gardens, nurseries and gardens, to help in the construction of new infrastructure, bio-construction and construction using recycled materials (buildings, solar showers, terraces, paths) and to help manage the seed bank support (germination tests, seed catalogue,  packing of seeds for sale, selection and preparation of seeds). A genuine interest in sustainability, environmentalism and/or permaculture is required.
  • Ecuador: This is a dual focus project, where the volunteer will work during the morning in the educational part of the project and in the afternoon in the technical one. Education: Cataloguing plants, reviewing the information for the guided tours and adapting itineraries. Registering birds spotted, accompanying guides on the tours and learning  how to guide and how to handle different age groups. Assisting with providing information  to visitors, when they have questions – help with organizing and set up the special exhibitions – reviewing and updating the inventory etc. Gardening – technical area: This work involves cultivating plants,

Some helpful Links


Tips for Applicants

Here you will find some useful tips for your application process.

Tips for Applicants

Hear from Past Participants

What’s in store? Check out blogs from a variety of programmes!

The best thing about breaking out of your comfort zone is knowing that others have gone before you. Hear from people who have gone on the Global Awareness Programme and many other programmes throughout the years.

Read Jack's Story