The best trips I’ve ever taken were those where I was a part of a community project. Some memorable moments include teaching microfinance to women in Ghana, faciliting construction projects in rural West Virginia, and boosting morale at an old-folks home in Ireland by dancing the Cotton-Eyed Joe 20 minutes a day.
The people I encounter during my travels constantly inspire me to work towards selfless initiatives. Making an impact on the global community can be challenging, however; even small projects, like collecting medical supplies to be sent to Haiti, or setting up a community beach sweep, require a lot of time and a lot of support.
It’s frustrating when you have a project that can benefit the greater good, and all that’s missing is someone who will take a chance on you. It can be easy to give up. But here’s why you shouldn’t:
The G Project, a unique opportunity presented by G Adventures and the Planeterra Foundation, wants to help put your world-changing ideas into motion. It’s “more than traveller philanthropy or charitable giving. It’s a unique initiative designed to bring people from different backgrounds together to lead, build and foster positive change all over the world.” So far, over 190 projects have been presented on the site, including:
- 10 Pieces for a Cleaner World: Encourages travelers to pick up at least ten pieces of trash and deposit them responsibly during their trip. Simple as that — small idea, big impact.
- Actors 4 Action: Helping youth of sub-Saharan Africa educate their communities on a variety of critical issues, such as HIV/AIDS awareness, via theatrical performances, mentorships, and increased advocacy for social change.
- The Heart of Gold Project: Supports small-scale farming in Costa Rican communities. From collaboration with outside sources, independent farms in Costa Rica will learn skills to sustain their current economy against corporate farming, and educate communities around them to create a countrywide web of support.
- The Passport Party Project: In a country where only 39% of the population has a passport, this project aims to increase global awareness through access. 100 underserved girls from the United States will receive their very own passport, and several more will participate in online global awareness training workshops in an effort to get their passport stamped for the very first time.
- Change the World Two Wheels at a Time: Takes donated bicycles and delivers them to India, where they will be distributed to community members who can use them as an easier way to access healthcare, education, and jobs. These areas will become self-sustaining bicycle communities, trained in cycle repair and providing informational workshops.
Even the selection process is organic: 16 semi-finalists (four from each project category: Freedom, Beauty, Knowledge, Community) will be chosen by a public vote — which is cool, because the more votes you see, the more people there are who believe in your idea and want it to become a reality. That’s an awesome feeling.
If you can get 125 of your Facebook friends to “like” a meme about vampire cats, think about how many more people will support a project that can change the world, an idea that actually means something.
The G Project has partnered with big names like primate scientist Jane Goodall, Lonely Planet’s Tony Wheeler, and Survivorman‘s Les Stroud (to name-drop a few) to select the final four finalists who will win an all-expense-paid trip to Costa Rica. Finalists will present their ideas at Summit in the Jungle, a conference focused on creating global change, where one G Project will be chosen to receive $25,000 to transform the idea into a reality.
It’s easy to submit your idea on the G Project website, and you can create more than one project as well. Use your social media prowess to promote your project, receive direct feedback from supporters, and collaborate with other participants. Don’t underestimate your plan — lots of small ideas end up making a big impact. If you’re stuck, think about the changes you’d like to see in your local community, and develop your idea from there. You deserve to live in a place that doesn’t suck.
And you deserve to be a part of that change.
This post proudly produced in partnership with The G Project.