Who we are.
Developing World Connections provides International Volunteer Experiences to people of all ages and backgrounds. We connect volunteers to communities in developing nations to work on sustainable projects that better the lives of some of the world's most impoverished people.
We are a grassroots, registered non-profit, and Canadian Charitable Organization with no professional, political, or regilious affiliation.
In 2000, DWC President Wayne McRann and Board member Dan Miller were working on a Rotary project in the jungles of Guatemala. They were assisting in the installation of a water system to improve the livelihoods of local community members. The desire to share the joy of this experience spawned the concept of Developing World Connections. What began as an idea became a reality in 2004 when DWC was formed. Shortly after, the tragic Boxing Day tsunami hit Sri Lanka. Developing World Connections quickly mobilized a grassroots response to help rebuild lives. We became a registered charity in 2005, and we began a grassroots movement. Since then, we have sent nearly 2000 volunteers to work on sustainable projects in host communities in 13 countries.
We believe that working alongside local people in the developing world on a poverty alleviating project builds hope. Hope for the community, hope for the volunteer, and hope for a better, more peaceful world.
It is our mission to be a conduit for hope and to make a positive difference in the world. We exist to connect regular, everyday people with communities in the developing world to work alongside each other while making a real and lasting impact for the benefit of our entire global community.
Our vision is a sustainable, socially-just, peaceful, and poverty-free global community where people experience the difference they make and the hope they build, all while working alongside each other.
We believe the footprint we leave behind should be gentle, the friendships great, and the memories we bring home should positively and profoundly impact our lives.
Developing World Connections strongly believes that we must respect our host country's culture and environment and that great learning comes as a result of being of service and working with people from all nations. Volunteers are guests who must honour the goodwill extended to them during their visit. It is not our purpose to change the culture of our host country, but rather, we embrace local culture and use it to better understand the differences that give equal value to each society.
Being of service: Being of service puts you in touch with the needs of humanity and helps you understand that changing the world is a community effort. Often we ignore the call to give support, comfort, and assistance to others because we feel we have nothing of value to contribute or aren't sure what is needed. However, when you use your skills, time, and resources to benefit people less fortunate than yourself, you will observe that a single individual can make a difference. You'll see your efforts in the context of the worldwide struggle to improve conditions and feel like part of a larger community - the global community.
Developing World Connections' International Volunteer Experiences and projects benefit all. The volunteer enjoys a meaningful and satisfying experience. The project beneficiaries gain an increased understanding of the visitors' culture and directly benefit from the projects. The host country enjoys the significant contributions made to its local economies. Developing World Connections is rewarded by being able to continue providing these valuable experiences and world connections.
What is the difference between "service" and "aid"?
We aim to create mutually beneficial relationships with communities and development partners. These relationships provide the opportunity for our volunteers to make a difference as our hosts leverage their efforts according to their priorities. These relationships we nurture offer everyone involved greater opportunity to learn about their global community and to enrich their own lives.
Aid is a top-down approach to international development that carries a patronizing tone and divides charity into the "donors" and the "recipients." Aid programs are often implemented without the input from the impacted communities and, as a result, often lack community support to create economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable development.
Service can be regarded as a bottom-up, democratic, and grassroots approach to development. Service organizations aim to create sustainable community development programs by focusing on facilitating participatory community consultation processes. Our projects are service oriented and are chosen by the host communities themselves. Our teams have been invited by the community to participate. Our volunteers work alongside local villagers and have an opportunity to learn their customs, beliefs, and struggles. Our vision is a sustainable, socially-just, peaceful, and poverty-free global community where people experience the difference they make and the hope they build, all while working alongside each other.