2020 brought many challenges to everyone’s lives, and force us to change the way we work in AFS. But just like the ambulance drivers did, we can take this as an opportunity to try to improve the lives of others. AFS Egypt has followed this approach, first back in March 2020, when volunteers performed several outreach initiatives and most recently through an incredible workshop last December that integrated YES Alumni to AFS volunteering.

The first Alumni Changemakers Workshop gave participants the chance to create a social outreach project. Through the various sessions  they develop their projects while at the same time learning about the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

AFS Volunteering: Girl with brown curly hair in the AFS Changemakers Workshop draws in a large piece of paper

The Alumni Changemakers Workshop was divided into three phases

  • Virtual Phase: During three weeks, the 22 participants took part in virtual sessions three times a week. Each meeting was two hours long and included an assignment to further develop their projects.
  • In-Person Phase: Following this phase, they participated in an in-person session focused on project implementation and team building. The groups pitched their projects to staff members and chapter leaders, which helped chapter leaders and alumni to connect.
  • Implementation Phase: After they completed the workshop, alumni began working in their local chapters to implement the projects. Even though they started in their local communities, the plan is to expand these projects to more chapters across Egypt. Thus benefiting more places, more people and increasing AFS Egypt’s impact.

The project was very successful in integrating recent returnees and inspiring volunteers to generate more projects that can benefit their communities. With ideas such as an app for sign language, support for animal shelters, climate change and youth empowerment initiatives, this was a way for YES alumni to make an impact, and for AFS Egypt to expand the idea of what is AFS volunteering.

For more information you can contact Farrah Moussa ([email protected]) from AFS Egypt