RE:13 Creative Enterprises Project volunteer information pack

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 in Zimbabwe. This will be achieved through 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

Through the combination of these activities, and with support of volunteers from both the UK and Zimbabwe, the aim is for RE:13 to identify, train and support the development of creative businesses amongst men and women in communities across Zimbabwe.

Why Enterprise?

With some estimates putting Zimbabwean unemployment at 95%, and of the 5% who are employed, stats say that 84% of those employment activities are in the "informal economy", it is clear that there is a serious challenge with employment opportunities in Zimbabwe. RE:13 is going to join the efforts to help plug that huge gap through the provision of entrepreneurship opportunities.

With such a high level of unemployment and a severe lack of jobs available in the country, 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 Zimbabwe.

My interest and passion for Zimbabwe was born from my six months volunteering in Rusape, a small town in Zimbabwe in 2015. I followed that with a research trip in December/January 2016. People I met and worked with during these experiences demonstrated their interest in making a difference to their lives through volunteering, engaging in community development activities and undertaking work with various projects. The issue is that there aren't formal jobs or business opportunities available for people to access after taking part in these training opportunities.

RE:13 has been two years in the making, born from my own experience of volunteering in Rusape for six months in 2015. After staying in touch with (new, adopted!) family, friends and colleagues, I realised that my return to the UK after my volunteering placement was very different to that of my fellow volunteers from Zimbabwe. I was back in a full time job in my sector within six weeks of returning, as were all of the UK volunteers, whilst many of our Zimbabwean volunteers are still not in any work, a permanent role or a job appropriate to their high level of education, some two years later. This real-time demonstration of the differences in our experiences completely cemented my wish to contribute to making a difference to the lives of people in the communities in which I lived and worked.

For info about the person behind RE:13, please visit my website or LinkedIn profile.

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, 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 on an advance basis, with their fairly calculated cost being deducted from the wholesale prices of the items they produce. This will give each participant a "real" business feel and help them to understand the process of manufacturing, production costs, retail and wholesale pricing as they get started in their businesses. RE:13 will also support the businesses in providing sales opportunities in Zimbabwe, across Africa and overseas.

Is this project needed?

Meet Rachael.

Photo used with permission from R. M.

Rachael is one of many women I met in her situation 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.

As part of RE:13 Rachael and others can develop their skills, learn with others, and have access to much needed resources and training that will enable them to create small businesses for themselves and their families. For Rachael and others like her, this provides an essential leg-up to positively shape their futures. This is why I've created RE:13 - the difference that our project will make will have a real effect.

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 to ensure that they 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, 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 Zimbabwean 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.

How Does It Happen?

Community Action event, Rusape

We work in partnership with Zimbabwean organisations. This crucial element will contribute to the success of the programme and ensures that we'll have local buy-in and support. Our partners in Zimbabwe are already in the process of establishing community based partnerships and completing outreach activities on behalf of the project, ready for our first cycle of the project taking place in February 2018.

Our work is fuelled by volunteers from the UK and Zimbabwe. Their contribution of time, energy and skills will be the glue that holds the project's activities together. Working with volunteers serves two purposes:

  • it allows the volunteers to bring their skills, knowledge, experience and passion to the delivery of the project providing a pivotal role in ensuring that our overall objectives are met
  • living and working in a Zimbabwean community presents opportunities for cultural and knowledge exchange between all participants

See our volunteer recruitment video below for information about how volunteers can support RE:13 and how volunteering provides benefits to all participants. For the next cycle our deadline is 31st October 2017, with the placement taking place from 1st February 2018. Apply to volunteer with us here:

We will complete pre - and post-placement briefings for all volunteers to ensure that you are clear on your objectives for the programme, and to ensure that you know 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, eg. how to make the best of it for your LinkedIn profile, or an application form for a new job.

What will I be doing as a volunteer?

Volunteering is a wonderful way to challenge yourself, whilst you help 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 focus on Zimbabwe, UK based volunteers also benefit from the experience of working in an international context, and the cultural and social understanding that living and working in a new community can provide.

Prince Charles Point, Mutare, Zimbabwe

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 just 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.

What skills can you offer to the project? We'd love to hear from you!

As a RE:13 volunteer, your role will be undertake 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, Zimbabwe herself 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
  • 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 £1,500 for their participation in the programme. This fee, which can be collected in stages or all at once - provides a contribution towards your flight, accommodation, visa, insurance, permits, 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 idea is that once you have made your contribution of £1,500 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, I have created this guide to help you in your fundraising efforts - find it here: https://tinyurl.com/RE13-Fundraising-Tips 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. Having the experience of successfully raising funds to volunteer myself, I want to make sure that none of our volunteers feel alone in undertaking their fundraising.

Great! When do we go!

For UK based volunteers, we'll be travelling to Zimbabwe from London on the 1st February 2018 and returning on the 4th March 2018. For Zimbabwean volunteers the project will begin on Monday 5th February. Your evenings and weekends are your free time. A full itinerary will be provided prior to departure. 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 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. It really isn't a holiday...!

How do I sign up?

If you would like to volunteer with RE:13 and bring your skills and experiences to aspirant creative entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe, we would love to hear from you! Apply here

The deadline for applications is 31st October 2017.

Following the receipt of your form, we will be contact you to confirm some final details and forward our Volunteer Agreement. We will require the details of your passport and some other details for the purpose or arranging your insurance, visa and work permits. We will also advise on the vaccinations required when travelling to Zimbabwe. We'll also give you the dates for the Volunteer Briefing dates happening before departure to ensure that all of your questions, queries and maybe even fears are discussed and answered before our departure.

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!

Connect with me...

Created By
Natalie Freeman

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