What is RE:13?

Thank you for your interest in RE:13! We are an international development project that exists to contribute to the economic development and sustainability of communities across Africa. Our work began in Zimbabwe and we are developing a network of partnerships with organisations in other countries across the continent. We look forward to (potentially!) welcoming you on board to volunteer with us in 2019!

Our Guiding Principles

Our programme of delivery focuses on the following activities:

  • community outreach to identify project participants
  • delivery of enterprise and entrepreneurship skills sessions
  • teaching technical sewing skills, product design and manufacture for the purposes of establishing micro-businesses in creative textile design using recycled and up-cycled materials
  • wholesale and retail sales and marketing support for each of the new businesses established as part of the project
  • delivering "Train the Trainer" programmes for the purposes of increasing the reach of the RE:13 method to rural and urban communities across our programme delivery geographical regions

Through the combination of these activities, and with support of volunteers from both the UK and the host country, the aim is for RE:13 to identify, train and support the development of creative business people amongst men and women in communities across Africa, and to open a trade corridor between African communities and international markets in the medium to long term.

Why Enterprise?

With high levels of unemployment and a severe lack of jobs available in the countries where we'll deliver our programmes, enterprise and entrepreneurship focused activities provide a practical way for communities to stimulate their economic activity in a real way. Through the provision of skills, raw materials and the means of production as well as access to new markets, RE:13 is directly engaged in activity designed to provide tangible outcomes for individuals, children, families and communities across our host countries.

The idea for this project was conceived in 2017, with the first RE:13 international volunteering programme being delivered in Chipinge, Zimbabwe in February 2018. RE:13 founder, Natalie Freeman's interest and passion for Zimbabwe was born from her six month period of volunteering in Rusape, a small town in Zimbabwe in 2015. She followed her initial visit with a research trip in December 2015/January 2016.

People she had met and worked with during those experiences demonstrated their interest in making a difference to lives through volunteering, engaging in community development activities and undertaking work with various projects and the realisation that volunteerism and an active desire to create and implement local and national solutions to challenges across Zimbabwe, is very much in the consciousness and efforts of Zimbabwean people, contrary to media representations and outside perception. RE:13's project will support this work, not takeover! We are a collaborative organisation that is focused on working with local expertise, in recognition of the fact that our efforts are a support and enhancement for existing work, not a substitute or replacement for it. We are led by local need, not the other way round.

Recycle, Refresh, Renew!

RE:13 is focused on being sustainable in both its delivery and it's production methods. We will be using fabric scraps, unused garments and up-cycled textiles to create new and re-purposed clothing, accessories and home decor items. The use of recycling and up-cycling gives the project its sustainable angle, and makes use of the large amount of by-product from the garment industry. Finding a creative way to utilise this waste material to create new items of beauty and function, whilst creating an income for our project participants, is the foundation of this project. It also serves as a cost-effective entry point for the businesses we will support.

Raw materials will be made available for the project participants, with this forming part of our investment into their start-ups. Through the programme of business skills training, technical sewing skills training and access to sewing machines and other sewing resources, RE:13 provides a full-range of support to help grow and develop aspiring businesses, and further assists in providing sales opportunities in the host country, across Africa and overseas.

Is This Project Needed?

Meet Rachael

Photo courtesy of permission from R. M.

Rachael is one of many women I met in similar situations when I was volunteering in Rusape. Her daughter keeps her very busy, but this doesn't cover the fact that she is economically inactive and in a very unstable position, and this of course has a massive impact on her life, health and choices. We also know that the life of her daughter is likely to be subject to the same challenges, if things don't change for her parents. Rachael's experiences are echoed by many young women and young people across the continent and our project exists to support the changes that are required to make a real difference to her life and others like her.

Enterprise Skills Sessions

The foundation of the project will be the enterprise skills sessions that will be delivered to a wide range of aspiring entrepreneurs with businesses or business ideas from a range of sectors, and not limited to those interested in garment construction and textile based business. This approach will ensure that as many participants as possible are equipped with the knowledge and skills to make money from any business that they'll start or grow. Topics will include: market research, product design, pricing, cashflow planning, resource mobilisation, social media management, retail skills and more. RE:13 creative business participants will be identified from this larger group and taken forward to starting their businesses with us.

The enterprise skills sessions will be strongly rooted in the local experience and context. These sessions will be supported through the provision of RE:13 Enterprise resources. These transferable skills will be applicable to any number of enterprises, and these sessions form part of RE:13's aim to provide opportunities for practical learning and engagement to as many people as we can reach with our time and resources.

How Does It Happen?

We work in partnership with host country organisations, charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Our delivery partner in Zimbabwe is F.A.C.T. (Family AIDS Caring Trust) an NGO focused on delivering a range of interventions to support those affected by HIV and AIDS. The RE:13 programme sits within their Economic Strengthening thematic area, providing an enhancement to the already fantastic and effective work that is taking place across six districts. Our partnerships, backed by a contract and Memorandum of Understanding ensure clarity on deliverables from RE:13 and our host organisation. Our commitment to building partnerships with in-country based organisations ensures that we have local buy-in, expertise and support.

Our work is fuelled by volunteers from the UK and our host country. Your contribution of time, energy and skills will be the glue that holds our project's activities together.

The fabrics for the project are generously donated by creative businesses, designer makers and hobbyists with an abundance of off-cuts and unused fabric around their homes or studios. We have been lucky to have been supported by some extremely generous creative business owners who have given us lots of material and fabric. We are always on the hunt for more - so if you or anyone you know has a room, cupboard or box full of unused fabric, please put them in touch with us! We will arrange collection or delivery of the fabric at no cost to the person donating.

Graduating group of young entrepreneurs, Mutare, Zimbabwe, July 2018

Why Volunteering?

1. It allows the volunteers to bring their skills, experiences, knowledge and passion to the delivery of the project, providing a pivotal role in ensuring that all of overall objectives are met

2. Living and working in a host country community presents opportunities for cultural and knowledge exchange between all participants

3. The are numerous opportunities for personal and professional development and growth, through the challenging of the volunteers' perceptions, working in an international context and being out of one's "comfort zone"

This picture is of Karen, at Prince Charles View in Mutare, with a view overlooking Mozambique. She volunteered with RE:13 in July 2018.

Watch our volunteer recruitment video below, for information about how volunteers can support RE:13 and how volunteering provides benefits to all participants. The dates aren't relevant any longer, but the information definitely is!

Volunteer Preparation

We are delivering international volunteering placements throughout 2019. Once we receive your application, we will contact you to discuss your available dates for your overseas placement.

We will complete pre- and post-placement briefings for all volunteers, to ensure that you are clear on your objectives for the programme, and we are both clear on what you want to give and get from the experience.

Once we return to the UK we will hold a "Debrief, Download and Review" session to discuss the project and your experiences in detail, and I can assist you to think about how you will use the volunteering experience for your benefit, e.g. how to make the best of it on your LinkedIn profile, an application form or new job, or to share the experience to inspire and encourage others!

What Will I be Doing as a Volunteer?

Volunteering is a wonderful way to challenge yourself, whilst helping others. It's an incredibly rewarding experience, that involves the exchange of skills, knowledge and ideas between volunteers and project beneficiaries. With RE:13 and its current focus on countries in Africa, UK based volunteers also benefit from the experience of working in an international context, and the cultural and social learning that living and working in a new community provides.

Let volunteering expand your comfort zones!

As a volunteer on the project, your role will be to contribute to the successful delivery of all elements of the programme, helping to ensure that they are well managed, organised and that all participants are getting as much as they can from the project. You will be supported throughout your placement with regular supervision to ensure that you and your experience are on track. For RE:13 the outcomes for our volunteers are of utmost importance - we know and expect that volunteers will have their own objectives in regards to taking part and we will work with you to ensure that these are met, too.

UK Volunteer showing participants the principles of bag-making in Mutare, July 2018

As a RE:13 volunteer, your role will also include undertaking a range of tasks that will work together to support the project and ultimately the creative businesses of our aspiring entrepreneurs. We encourage autonomy in our volunteers and wish for you to bring your ideas and creativity to the project. We have a broad range of activities that we would like volunteers to be involved in, from planning to implementation through to evaluation. These will include:

  • facilitating workshops and enterprise skills sessions - bring your knowledge of icebreakers!
  • supporting the product design and manufacturing processes of making clothing, home decor, accessories and jewellery
  • setting up and managing social media accounts for the purposes of detailing our activities whilst we're away and creating a buzz about the products our businesses will produce
  • establishing online stores - experience of Etsy, Shopify, Big Cartel and other platforms will be very welcome here
  • business start-up advice and guidance - this could be personal or professional experience, so you may be an entrepreneur yourself or be a professional that works in the field of enterprise and entrepreneurship
  • photography - taking pictures of volunteers, project participants, our host country and our products for our online stores and social media platforms
  • bookkeeping and accounting - a person who is a whizz with numbers will be required for the project and to help our business owners
  • setting up and creating content for a blog
  • organisational planning and logistics
  • filmmaking - creating a short film of our project and conducting interviews with volunteers, project participants and other stakeholders
  • anything else that will be of benefit to the project and our beneficiaries

"OK I'm in! Is it free?"

Like other international volunteering programmes, there is a fundraising requirement for each participant. For RE:13 each volunteer is required to raise £1,885 for their participation in the programme. This fee, which can be collected in two installments or all at once - provides a contribution towards your flight, accommodation, visa, insurance, meals, internal travel and a small weekly stipend. All other project costs are covered by RE:13. Any expenses outside of this are at your personal discretion, but the point is that once you have made your contribution of £1,885 you don't have to bring any other funds with you, unless you wish to.

RE:13 are able to offer you support in relation to your fundraising activities, as I know it can feel like a daunting task. From my experience of raising money to undertake my own volunteering placement and to run this programme, we have created the RE:13 Fundraising Tips Guide to help you in your fundraising efforts. You are welcome to contact me at any time for support, encouragement and to generate ideas of how you can achieve your target.

You may also be asked to take part in RE:13's own fundraising activities - this is optional. However, joining our efforts together will aid with ensuring the project's success and longevity. It's important for RE:13 that no volunteers feel alone in undertaking their fundraising.

"Great. When do we go?"

UK based volunteers will be travelling to our host countries from London at various times in the year. Final dates will be confirmed once your application has been received. If you have any periods where you cannot commit to a four week period away, please let me know via your application form.

Your evenings and weekends are your free time. An itinerary will be shared with all volunteers before departure, however it is important that you are aware that this is subject to change, depending on the needs of the project. We will ensure that any changes are communicated as early in advance as possible.

Please note, this is a volunteering activity that is focused on working to ensure the success of our project and will be intensive in terms of our working days, activities and brain power! It really isn't a holiday. We may get the chance to do some local sightseeing, but it must be stressed that this is not a holiday in any way, shape or form.

It is a job, just with different terms and conditions, and requires the same level of commitment, effort, energy and focus that we give to our day jobs or businesses. It really isn't a holiday...yes, I've repeated this so it's really clear!

How Do I Sign Up?

Ready to volunteer with RE:13? We would love to hear from you!

The deadline for applications is 10pm, 13th January 2019. However we will assess applications on a rolling basis, so please feel free to complete and forward your application at any time before the closing date.

Following receipt of your application, we will be in touch to confirm some final details. You will also be required to complete the following documents which will be sent to you:

  • sign and return the Volunteer Agreement
  • sign and return the Terms and Conditions
  • provide your personal and passport details for the purpose of arranging travel insurance, visas and any permits as required

You will be advised on vaccinations required when travelling to our host country and we will confirm Volunteer Briefing dates which will take place at specific points before departure, to ensure that all of your questions, queries, and maybe fears, are discussed and answered before we leave the UK. Our admin processes can completed online, and via online meetings, so if you're not based in London this isn't a barrier to taking part.

If you have any questions about any of the information here, please feel free to email me and I'll be happy to answer your questions.

RE:13 looks forward welcoming you!

RE:13 Global - partner organisation and trading name of 13 Rhythms Ltd Company registered in England and Wales, Company no: 11377957, Registered Office: 4th Floor, 86 - 90 Paul Street, London, EC2A 4NE, England, United Kingdom

© 2017 - 2018 13 Rhythms. All rights reserved

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