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International Community Development Expeditions


1. Expeditions and Projects

In recent years public awareness of the conditions faced by people in developing countries has increased greatly as a result of media coverage.

There has also been a growing awareness and practical concern within The Scout Association which has led to a variety of educational/fund raising campaigns and practical projects in partnership with other Scout Associations and aid agencies such as UNICEF and Save the Children Fund.

The truly international nature of the Scout Movement is evident from the fact that 70% of the member associations of the World Organization operate in developing nations. Scouts take an active role in the development of their countries through projects such as health and immunisation, water and sanitation, human resettlement programmes, craft workshops and agricultural training. 

By providing practical training in these areas Scouting helps to prepare young people to take a constructive place in society.

In the United Kingdom we have an opportunity to help our young people appreciate global issues and to understand the problems of developing countries. One way in which Scouting can help achieve this is to undertake practical projects abroad as partners with local Scouts and communities.

A wide range of expeditions have been carried out: helping refugees in Hong Kong, building projects in Ghana and Lesotho and working with the handicapped in Mauritius. National projects have helped refurbish clinics in Nepal and provide water and sanitation in Sri Lanka. In Kenya there has been a growing programme over a number of years creating income generation projects, the construction of water and sanitation systems and community hospitals/clinics. Recently a team of Scouts have been working in Tuvalu, helping to support Scouting at grassroots level.

It’s expected that more expeditions will take place in the future. These notes are intended to give guidance to those considering such projects. They are designed as preliminary notes only; there is no substitute for experience in this area and the International Office is able to provide details of those who have undertaken previous expeditions.

The Value of Community Development Projects

These projects offer the opportunity to experience at first hand life in a developing country. In line with the aims of The Scout Association, the purpose of Scout involvement is an educational one.

Here is an opportunity to appreciate the reality of life, to challenge ideas and prejudices, seeing a new perspective. Scouting aims to help young people to be involved in the community and to develop an international understanding. Working with a community abroad is an important application of this and experiences can be shared with those who support the expedition.

The work completed by expeditions in partnership with the host community has often been substantial, providing the stimulus for ongoing self-help.