International Volunteering Day, 5th December; Challenges Worldwide champions Enterprise as the new face of Youth Volunteering

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British NGO Challenges Worldwide launches a short film to show how business volunteering fights poverty through enterprise. To date 282 18-25 year old ICS: Challenges Worldwide volunteers have worked to support over 140 businesses in Ghana, Uganda and Zambia impacting 80+ communities – while building their own career paths.

ICS: Challenges Worldwide Business and Youth Together

Business and Youth Together

The work we do as enterprise volunteers may not be as easy to see as building a house, but developing small businesses and helping boost the economy is the fastest was to reduce a country’s poverty rate.

Volunteering is often seen as a way of supporting ‘the starving’, educating the illiterate and healing the sick. In reality this misplaced idealism can lead to volunteers being underqualified for the schools they teach in and the hospitals they nurse in. However, there is another face of volunteering, that of fighting poverty through enterprise, with well-structured business placements helping to tackle the economies of developing nations by supporting Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). This is known as Business Support Volunteering.

Edinburgh-based NGO Challenges Worldwide champions this new face of volunteering which is also supported by DFID, the government’s department for International Development. In order to prepare for International Volunteering Day on December 5th, this leading Scottish Charity is therefore launching this short film, with the ICS: Challenges Worldwide programme message of hope being at its heart.
FILM International Enterprise Volunteers: Fighting Poverty through Business Placements

Says CEO Eoghan Mackie:
“SMEs are a fundamental part of the economic fabric in developing countries, and they play a crucial role in furthering growth, innovation and prosperity. SMEs contribute up to 45 percent of employment and up to 33 percent of GDP in developing economies. By supporting 600 entrepreneurs and small businesses in developing countries through our youth volunteers Challenges Worldwide estimates that 600 jobs will be created, alongside sustained economic growth of $4.5m USD a year across our portfolio.”

It works both ways though. UK figures released just last week show that in the third quarter of 2015 848,000 people aged 16-24 were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET). Creating a way for young people, from whatever background, to build employability skills, personal confidence and opportunities makes change possible. After a 12-week period overseas, young British volunteers come back to the UK with a better understanding of who they are and what they can do. The follow-through Action at Home ensures opportunities, ideas and careers emerge for youth& communities.

ICS: Challenges Worldwide helps to combat unemployment internationally also. Local volunteers from developing countries heighten their employability through increased skills and confidence while the growth of emerging businesses results in increased sales and employment opportunities.

“Before I thought I could do everything myself but now I realise that I can still make a lot of money by hiring others. I feel like a proper business woman now! You will hear about me next year!”
Winkal* CEO, Uganda, recipient of ICS:Challenges support.


ICS: Challenges Volunteering
All UK-based 18-25 year olds are welcome to apply, regardless of background, qualifications, disability and work history. Applications can be made by visiting

*The Winkal Group Ltd includes both Winkal Wines and Winkal Juices and is located in Kira in Kampala, Uganda. Winkal Wines produces high quality, organic wines made from alternative, local ingredients, sourced from organic farmers in Kampala operating under the National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU).

Challenges Worldwide is an award-winning international NGO that uses a combination of enterprise and educational technology to deliver blended, volunteer-driven business support to SMEs in emerging markets.

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Madeleine White
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