Volunteer for SAMI projects
We have ongoing projects such as the Digital Communities Initiative and Maths Club Initiative to improve the infrastructure of maths education. Please email us if you are interested in volunteering abroad or at home on any of our ongoing projects.
Volunteer at maths camps
SAMI provides a unique and exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in our core programme and volunteer at maths camps held across Africa. Planning for the 2020 camps is underway and we will be announcing more details about our volunteer recruitment in February. Please let us know if you would like to be included in our updates for summer 2020 volunteering. Below is a tentative list of camps:
- Ethiopia: July hosted at Bahir Dar University
- Rwanda: July hosted at AIMS Rwanda
- Kenya: Mid August hosted by AMI at Manor House, Kitale
- Ghana: Early August hosted at AIMS Ghana
- **Togo: Late July hosted in coordination with ASCIN
- Cameroon: August
- **Benin: July
- Uganda: to be confirmed
There will be at least one experienced volunteer at each camp. Further, we aim to have at least one international teacher at each camp, either a current teacher or a retired teacher. We aim to also have three student international volunteers participate in each of the AMI camps, with the volunteers being a mixture of undergrads and postgrads/researchers. We would be happy to hear from people in other walks of life who feel they have something to contribute, and we would consider recommending high school students for this experience.
We will start recruiting international volunteers on the 1st February 2020, considering applications on a rolling basis until the start of the camps. You can mention a preference for a camp in your application, but you don’t have to. Decisions on applications will be made by the SAMI Trustees, who then recommend suitable candidates to the local organisers of the respective camps. Note: all camps are run through local partners. As such, dates and venues are subject to change. Do not make any flight or accommodation booking until you have confirmed the camp dates with the local organiser. SAMI cannot accept responsibility for any financial loss occurred due to the changes in dates or venues for any of the camps.
FAQs can be found below. If you would like to know more please write to [email protected]. We’re happy to give you more information by email and would be happy to meet you in person.
February – Applications open
March – May – Interviews take place
April – June – Accepted volunteers are put in touch with local organisers
July – August – Camps take place
It's my first time attending a camp, what should I expect?
The activity sessions are run in teams (with more volunteers on-hand to provide support), and it is hoped that by the end of the week you will feel confident to take the lead for one or more of these sessions when the students arrive. The camp week itself is very busy, which is why we try to get lots of the planning done in advance. When you are not running activities in your team you will likely be lending your support to other sessions or daily challenges (the fun never stops!). The final activity after dinner is usually card games, after which students and volunteers go back to their respective accomodation to reflect on the day and take a well-earned rest, ready for the next day to begin!
Can I come for only part of a camp?
What about travel arrangements?
What’s the food like?
During the camp week, food will be provided. Food varies from country to country and may be different to what you are accustomed to. Local organisers will make arrangements for meals in the planning week, e.g. a canteen or taking volunteers to restaurants, but volunteers are expected to pay for their food in this week. Please let us know if you have any particular dietary requirements or concerns.
What’s the accommodation like?
International volunteers are generally stay in local guest houses in walking distance from the university campus, in student residence halls on the campus, or by local lecturers close to campus.
The accommodation varies from country to country and can change at the last minute. You should expect simple, but clean and comfortable accommodation that is in a safe area. Electricity may go on and off and hot water for showers can’t be guaranteed.
What about vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis?
You should check that your vaccinations are up to date before travelling to Africa, and there may be certain additional vaccinations you need for specific countries. It is also likely that you will need to take malaria prophylaxis.
You should visit your GP or a travel clinic (e.g. Trailfinders) or Imperial College Health Centre if you are an Imperial College student, 6-8 weeks before your departure. They will provide you with up to date information about vaccinations required for the area you are travelling to and any other relevant health information. During the maths camps, you will not be working with animals.
http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk gives up to date information on health considerations
What about insurance?
Do I need a visa?
It is best to get a visa in advance for each country. Please allow at least six weeks prior to travel to arrange this. The local organisers will provide an invitation letter once you know you are coming to a camp.
Can I come earlier or stay longer to visit the country?
What kind of people is SAMI looking for?
Do I need to have teaching experience?
How old are the students?
What is being taught and what is the structure of a typical day at the maths camp?
One of the main ideas behind the maths camp is to make maths an interactive subject. All lessons are designed to teach maths that students wouldn’t normally be taught in a standard high school curriculum. In the past, topics have included mathematical modeling, number theory, computer programming, mathematical thinking and spherical/hyperbolic geometry. Days at the maths camps are long and generally include problem solving sessions, activity sessions, computer sessions, physical activities and evening card games. After dinner, students and volunteers come together for card game sessions. Card games are an integral part of the camp as they teach logical thinking and strategy in a fun relaxed way. Passionate card game players are especially welcome, and if you are not, you probably will be by the end of the camp.
How much will it cost me?
On arrival at the camps, the cost of living will not be high. Costs vary between each of the camps so please contact a SAMI representative for the most up to date information. Roughly £200 to £400 should be sufficient for the two weeks, and it may be less if you are happy to stay in simple, shared accommodation. The main cost is the flights, which you will have to pay for and book yourself. These will be in the region of £500 – £900 depending on when you book, flight times, changes and duration. For Kenya and Ethiopia an internal flight will also be required.
Which camp should I apply for?
Many details of the camp are organised locally and so they do differ from country to country. However, the core principles and aims of the camps, to inspire students interest in mathematics through engaging, interesting topics, are consistent across the countries. Firstly, you should check the camp dates and see which dates are most suitable for you. You might then want to do some research about the individual countries and see if one interests you more than others. If you have specific questions about one of the camps, please contact us. We can also put you in touch with previous volunteers who have experience in these countries.
How can I fund my travels?
We are not able to provide funds for travel expenses of international volunteers. In the past, volunteers have covered their own costs, sometimes through fundraising or taking up extra paid work. Here are some possible external funding options, but please also do your own research:
- Sir Tejinder Virdee Africa Project Grant Scheme: If you are a member of the Institute of Physics (IOP), you can apply to this new grant scheme which aims to support STEM development in Africa. All Imperial College Physics students are automatically members. You can become a member for free if you are an undergraduate in any Physics related field, or for £21 if you are a postgraduate.
- IC Trust (General Fund): If you are an Imperial College student, you can apply to the student-led project funding of the IC Trust which is for any project that has a voluntary/charitable aim.
- European Mathematical Society Travel Grant: Aimed at fostering the development of mathematics in economically less-favoured regions. Decisions will be taken at two deadlines every year (April and October).
Do I need a police clearance / DBS check?
As you will be working with children, it is important that appropriate measures are taken to safeguard all involved. Alongside our own application vetting procedures, we also follow guidelines and requirements from our local partners. If this involves a police check we will inform you. For volunteers from other countries you will need to follow your own government advice procedures.
Please note, whilst we expect everybody to work together to ensure students are kept safe, it is the local team who will ultimately be in charge of pastoral duties and care of the students (you’re there to teach!).