Frequently Asked Questions
- About One World Women
- The Application Process
- Expectations of the Programme
- Guidance on the programme
- Travel Money
- Dietary Information
- Health/ Medical Advice
- Contacting Home
- Extending visit to The Gambia
- UK Version of Programme
- More Questions
About One World Women
Why should I choose OWW?
OWW is a social enterprise and at the heart of our operation is the will to do social good. Our main focus is to make an impact among women by creating opportunities and sharing knowledge. We do this by operating as a non-profit business model, and any surplus money we make goes straight back into the business and is used to build on our foundation to strengthen the cause.
Many of our participants are at some sort of a crossroads in their life, seeking fulfilment from helping others or looking to be part of an experience that gives them a new perspective. This could be your opportunity to step out of your day-to-day life, immerse yourself in another culture and have time to reflect. It’s perfect for women who have been considering a sabbatical or overseas travel, but who can’t necessarily commit to taking considerable time off work - our programmes run from periods of one week to one month.
Our experiences are co-created by the businesswomen that get involved and this gives you ownership over the direction of the project and what you want to get out of the experience. Our programmes are lean operations which means that we learn as we go, adapting and growing throughout the programme and creating value for all the women involved. If you don't have the knowledge around a particular subject, your fellow coaches will and so we will navigate through the week by helping one another as a team. This is a great way to develop your creative problem solving and cross-cultural communication skills.
Who are the women that I’ll be coaching?
The women are local, ambitious and have specific business needs to help them progress. In the past we have had women who are clothes designers, shop keepers, cosmetics makers, food producers and artists. We are looking into specific areas of growth interest such as educating women in STEM.
How do I know that the project is a genuine cause?
We are a registered community interest company in the UK and a certified social enterprise. When you meet the Gambian women and have first-hand experience of helping them solve their business challenges, you’ll understand that what we’re doing is planting seeds of change. We’re a relatively new organisation and so our impact at this stage is small compared to other NGOs - our impact is high quality, rather than high quantity.
We help the community by investing our time and knowledge in the sustainable development of the business women we are mentoring.
The Application Process
Am I eligible to apply?
If you can answer YES to these questions, then you’re eligible to apply:
- Do you identify as a woman?
- Do you have a desire to give back and help transform the lives of deserving women?
- Do you have a minimum of five years’ experience in a career role or run your own business?
- Do you speak good English?
- Are you up for a personal development journey?
How do I apply?
You can apply for the programme by signing up to our emailing list to be among the first to hear when we’re recruiting for the next programme. When we open up the application process, we’ll send you an email with a link to an online application form, which will have to be filled out and sent back to us for review. If you are shortlisted, we’ll contact you for a telephone interview.
Is there a selection process?
Yes. Once you have signed up to join our emailing list, we’ll notify you when registration for a programme becomes available. If you are shortlisted there is an interview process where we will book a time to chat about your application, your expectations and the rest of the process.
Before we open applications, we have a group of African women lined up for each programme and so we know what skills and experience we require from our UK/US/EU participants. Then it’s a case of us matching up the best partners and this is decided by the programme leader and the in-country partner.
If you are not selected for the next programme, your application may be matched with another partner in the future and we will let you know when a partner becomes available.
Are there age limits to participate in the projects?
No. Most women who apply are 28-60 years old, but please do still apply if you are outside of this bracket.
What kind of work experience do I need to join?
You need to have enough experience to be considered competent and knowledgeable in your field. Most of our previous participants have eight plus years’ experience in their professional field, a leader, a line manager or run their own enterprise. The women you will be partnered with in Africa expect you to genuinely help them improve their businesses with the skills and knowledge you have. Please contact us if you have any questions about your level of experience or field of expertise, we will be happy to help you.
Do I need any qualifications?
Most of our participants have a bachelor’s degree or professional qualification, although this is not mandatory. If you have any questions about your application and level of experience, please do email firstname.lastname@example.org who will be happy to help.
Expectations of the Programme
What skills can I gain from this experience?
The programme is an intense week of coaching, in a different climate with a group of new cross-cultural people. There are many opportunities for personal development, including reflection time and one-to-one sessions with the programmes’ coaches.
What will I do on the programme?
This is an impactful programme and so most of your time will be spent mentoring your partner, learning about their work, developing workshops and training tools to teach the group. The programme is co-created and so you will have a steer on what you do during the programme. There is some downtime for resting, reading or exploring. We have a few evening meals as a group and there is opportunity for you to make your own entertainment on a couple of evenings.
How long do the volunteering programmes last for?
At the moment, we offer two lengths of supported programmes. Our scheduled departures are one week plus travel days depending on where you are coming from. There are also opportunities for you to extend the programme for travelling and time to see the local attractions if you wish. There are individual opportunities for sabbatical and longer volunteer programmes for one month (or more!) if this is something you are interested in we can help create a programme around your requirements.
Is the work paid?
No. This is a voluntary work opportunity.
What will I gain from the project?
First and foremost, you will be able to develop your own mentoring and coaching skills. You will also learn from the other people on the programme about specialist skills such as marketing or finance for business. There is also plenty of time for reflection and personal learning. Most people feel they have been able to build on their resilience, confidence and develop creative problem-solving skills on the programme. Some also develop skills in public speaking and creating workshops for others. By spending quality time with local people and immersing yourself in their culture you’ll be able to understand, first hand, what life is like outside of your normal day-to-day life.
What sort of people come on an OWW programme?
Most of the women that join us, have a minimum of five years in a role, around 10+ years’ experience in a career or they run their own enterprise. Every participant comes with their own individual experiences, talents and skill-set and it’s these individual qualities that make them a suitable candidate. All we ask is that you are honest in your application so we can make an accurate judgement when matching you with your partner so both parties can get the best out of the experience.
Will I get free time whilst on the actual programme?
Yes. The programme is co-created and so there are plenty of opportunities for you to sculpt the journey to your preference and that of your partners’ needs. For example, there are many local restaurants/bars and a beach within walking distance for you to enjoy your free time.
Can I get a reference from OWW after completion?
Yes. Please speak with us before the programme starts if this is something you would like to request.
How much time do I need to commit to the programme?
Before we depart the experienced team meet via Zoom/Skype or in person where possible for a half-day session. During this session we co-create the programme by discussing the needs of the African women, our individual experiences and ideas and then work out an itinerary for the week.
Depending on where you are flying from, you will need to allow at least one day either side of the programme dates for travel.
After the programme there is a rolling support agreement between each partnership. This is usually an ad-hoc form of communication via What’sApp or Skype to ensure that your African partner is fully supported after the week’s programme has finished. We usually find that fortnightly check-ins and monthly catch-ups for a minimum of three months is best but this is not compulsory.
Guidance on the programme
What support and guidance can I expect to receive?
Before, during and after the one week programme you will have access to a professional coach and the programme manager who will be able to talk you through any questions or help you with any issues that may have arisen. There will also be opportunities to meet your fellow travellers and have an introduction to your partner before the trip so you can get acquainted before prior meeting. Throughout the week we cultivate a nurturing and safe environment for sharing and learning from one another. Our aim is that all participants feel supported by each other.
Can I talk to people who have already done the programme to get some advice?
Yes of course. Please get in touch and we can arrange this for you.
How much does it cost?
The price varies dependent on what the in-country costs are. Each programme has its own cost made up of the accommodation, included food, travel and other programme prices, which is written in the information pack you will receive. Flight costs will be variable depending on the time of year the programme takes place and on the airports of departure/arrival. Here is a website where you can look at flight prices. There is also a non-refundable deposit of £250 to secure your place in the programme once you have been selected. Your balance is then due 12 weeks before departure.
What does my fee cover?
Your fee covers your return flights, airport transfers, a driver throughout the week, bed and breakfast, lunches, local travel, most evening meals, bottled water and our administration costs.
What is not included in the fee?
Although most of the evening meals are catered for, there are a couple of free evenings across the week, which means that you and the group can make local arrangements to have dinner, or bring ingredients back to the homestay to cook. It’s advisable to allow around £10 per evening meal. Alcohol is not provided throughout the week and so if you wish to drink, please bring additional currency to cover this expense. In a bar, a bottle of beer starts around 80p and a glass of wine at around £2.
Also note that any medical vaccinations or preventatives you require ahead of travel are not included, so this will have to be arranged by you beforehand.
Are there any additional costs?
As a group, you may decide to take a trip or excursion and visit some of the attractions in the area. This will be pre-planned and so you’ll know how much currency to bring with you for these trips. There are also opportunities to visit local markets and stall holders so you might want to bring a little spending money to buy gifts or souvenirs. To get an idea of some of the excursions we can arrange for you, please see this page for inspiration and ideas.
Can I pay in instalments?
Yes. An initial non-refundable deposit is due of £250 to secure your position and then the balance is due 12 weeks before departure.
Can my company pay for me?
Yes. If you wish to do this, please confirm the name, address and any purchase order information for us to send an invoice to. If you or your financial team have any questions, please put them in contact with email@example.com.
Can I fundraise for my trip?
Yes, absolutely you can. There is a deposit of £250 and then the balance needs to be settled 12 weeks before departure. If you would like to discuss fundraising ideas, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need insurance?
Yes. You will need travel insurance that covers you in the country you are travelling in. Please be sure to check with your provider that this type of volunteer programme is covered by your policy. It is also wise to check with your provider if you have any specific medical conditions and if you are covered through your insurance or if you plan on bringing expensive equipment with you like cameras or a laptop.
What should I pack?
This is very much dependent on the country that you are visiting. Most of the countries are sub-Saharan and very warm and dry, so on top of the usual clothing and footwear there are a few things we suggest everyone packs. These include sunscreen as the sun is extremely hot (at least factor 30), rehydration salts because your skin will be sweating more than normal, hat/sunglasses, mosquito spray and preventative medicines such as antimalarial tablets. In terms of bringing electrical products, the plugs in the homestay in Gambia are British 3-point plugs.
How do I change my money when I get there?
Please bring either UK Sterling, EU Euros or US Dollars for exchange in country. You can also bring your debit card or any cash card with you which can be used at cash points, however the exchange rates won’t be as good but this will be useful in case of any cash related emergencies.
Will I be met at the airport?
Yes. We will arrange our driver to collect you from the airport when you arrive.
What is the accommodation like?
The homestay in Gambia is a large semi-detached townhouse in coastal area, Brufut.
In terms of the accommodation the rooms are mostly sharing with one other person - depending on numbers there may be single occupancy available. There is access to a kitchen for any cooking you would like to do, tea/coffee and unlimited bottled water throughout the days.
Who do I stay with?
You will be staying in a shared house with the other women who travelled with you. The house is on a compound owned by our host and her family. In terms of rooms, you will most likely share with one other person and depending on numbers, there may be opportunity for single occupancy.
What are the toilet facilities like?
At the homestay there are flushing toilets and showers. The running water from the taps and showers is for washing only and should not be consumed or used to brush your teeth. Some of the rooms have ensuites and others have shared facilities. Whilst toilets are flushing in the homestay and most resorts in the Gambia, you will likely come across facilities that are not what you are used to - this is part of the charm of being in Africa.
What is the food like?
The food in Gambia is very fresh and local and almost always organic. Mostly fish, chicken and vegetables with short grain rice are on the menu and the locals like very spicy food. However, in all the restaurants and at the homestay this can be tailored to taste. We cater for all dietary requirements, but cannot guarantee that all of the restaurants will adhere to our instructions and so people who have strict diets may wish to discuss their requirements with our programme leader before applying. Here is some information about authentic Gambian food.
There is access to a kitchen at the homestay if you would like to cook and you’re also provided with tea/coffee and bottled water throughout the days. There will be snacks and fruit to share for those who enjoy snacking!
This is a video of our host Ida and her cookery school which you could take part in, if you wish.
I have special dietary requirements; will I be catered for?
Yes. We cater for all dietary requirements. However, we cannot guarantee that all of the restaurants will adhere to our strict instructions. So, it is advisable that people who have strict diets may wish to discuss their requirements with our programme leader before applying.
Health/ Medical Advice
Do I need to get vaccinations or medication for my trip?
Yes, unless you have up to date vaccinations. Please check on the Government’s travel website for more information about the recommendations for the country you are visiting. Your local GP will also be able to recommend what the best course of action is. You can visit this page for more information on the vaccinations.
Can I join if I have medical issues/ Are there any medical restrictions?
Once you have all of the information about the programme only you can answer this question. Please do feel free to discuss any issues you may have and we will do our best to accommodate you.
What happens if there is an emergency?
We have risk assessed the homestay which is where you will spend most of your time. When you are off site, you will be with a local person or your driver. You will also be given a Gambian SIM card upon arrival for your phone which means that you will have cheap access to 4G and therefore will be contactable. Please be aware that whilst the Gambia is a safe country, you are responsible for your own safety when off site and to be vigilant as you would be in any foreign country.
Is it safe for me to travel and volunteer alone?
Gambia is very safe. The area we will be located in is used to tourists passing through and the people we meet are incredibly friendly and welcoming. You will very rarely be alone outside of the homestay as often you will be with your partner and, or with the other women who travel with you. When we have evening meals outside of the homestay, generally we travel as one group or in smaller groups. If you would like to explore we can provide a driver and guide to ensure your safety.
How does OWW make sure that I am safe while I am in one of their volunteering projects?
Gambia is a safe and friendly country. It is a mostly Muslim country and crime rates are very low. Our homestay is in an area near to the beach and away from most of the restaurants and nightlife with most of the people in the area being locals who live and work nearby. We have arranged security for the homestay and there are always employees on site. During the days, you will always be with your partner or other women from the programme. You will also be given an African SIM card upon arrival for your phone which means that you will have cheap access to 4G and therefore will be contactable.
What do I do in a case of family emergency and I need to return home?
Of course, in case of an emergency, you are able to return home. You will have to arrange the switching of flights and this process usually costs an admin fee. More information can be found on the airlines website. We will assist where possible and have contacts at the various Embassies in The Gambia in case of emergencies.
Can I contact home from wherever I am?
Yes. You will be given a Gambian SIM card upon arrival for your phone which gives you cheap access to 4G and therefore will be contactable. There is also Wi-Fi at the homestay and so you will be able to make contact through messaging and emailing services definitely and make calls via internet provider (WhatsApp, Skype or Zoom) should you wish.
Extending visit to The Gambia
Can I stay for extra time before or after the programme?
Yes this is possible. For example, you could stay in the country of arrival or visit another African country before or after the programme which we can help you arrange. There is also an opportunity to do a safari, boat trip or continue with your impact work. Speak with us at the time of confirming your place and we can discuss options with you.
UK Version of Programme
I like the idea of the programme but I don’t like travelling, is there a UK version?
We are building relationships in the UK with a view to providing mentoring opportunities in the near fututre. If this is something you’re interested in please subscribe here and we will send you more information when it becomes available.
What if I have more questions?
Please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.