Mission society USPG Ireland highlights the importance of Global Mission by the sending of volunteers from Ireland to live and work with the church elsewhere in the world.
This allows participants to return home to share with their local communities the insights they have gained.
The Experience Exchange Programme is run jointly by USPG and the Methodist Church, and has been in existence for over 40 years, placing volunteers in more than 60 countries.
Participants must be at least 18, but there is no upper age limit. No special skills are required, but if volunteers have skills they would like to use that is taken into account. EEP volunteers have taught in schools, worked on agriculture, building or health programmes, helped in vocation and rehabilitation institutions, assisted in administration and children’s and youth work.
Recent EEP volunteers are Gerry Lynch from Belfast who was involved in election monitoring in South Africa and Nola Nixon from Tandragee, Co Armagh, who taught English at St James Mission School in Zimbabwe.
Placements can be anywhere, are for between six to 12 months, and are personally tailored for each volunteer based on their preferences, background, skills, and availability. Groups or teams are not normally sent, but occasionally couples have been placed. To date volunteers have gone to Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean, South America and Europe.
The programme is self–financing. Volunteers usually raise around £2500/€3000 to cover air–fares, health insurance, some living costs, training and preparation. The total cost varies from placement to placement.
For those who would like to find out more about becoming an EEP volunteer, USPG Ireland is running an exploration session on March 9 and 10 in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute in Dublin. There is a €75 fee to cover meals and overnight accommodation.
For more details contact Linda Chambers at 086 8586337 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.