PIS 2nd Grade
EAST AFRICA 2020:
RWANDA & UGANDA
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Selection & Application
When is the application deadline? What if the deadline has passed?
The priority application deadline is November 25, 2019. GEA usually fills up the majority of participant spots with priority applicants. The final deadline is February 1, 2020, however, even if you learn about the program after the deadline, please email to see if there are any open spaces still available for consideration.
How many participants will be selected?
There is not an exact number for every experience, however, it will be largely based on the size of the vehicles we will be using and the number of beds we have secured for accommodations. We are estimating that the main program, safari, and community immersion experience will have between 20-30 participants. This number may change due to higher or lower demand.
Why do you need my passport information?
Passport information is required for all guests participating in flights, cruises and even some accommodations booked by GEA. Without your passport information, these locations do not allow us to make reservations. If you have concerns about the confidentiality of providing your passport information please contact a GEA representative.
What are the main criteria that will be used to select participants?
Perhaps the most important selection criteria will be demonstrating a flexible, positive and open-minded attitude and ability to travel well and contribute to the overall group experience. Applicants should be in generally good health and have energy levels that will sustain them during a very full program schedule. GEA is looking for educators who have a strong desire to improve, contribute and collaborate with educators worldwide and to find ways of using what they gain from their experience to benefit others. GEA will also seek to select as diverse of a group of educators as possible including participants from as many school districts and locations as possible and from a wide range of disciplines, grade levels, and school types or positions.
What will the selection process include?
What do accommodations in Rwanda look like?
The accommodations in Rwanda are more basic than Uganda, however, they are still very safe and clean. Below are some examples with a few pictures to give prospective participants more of an idea of what to expect.
What do accommodations in Uganda look like?
Safari Tour: Accommodations will include double and triple rooms at: Fort Murchison Lodge; and Amuka Lodge at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
Will accommodations have warm water, electricity and internet access?
All accommodations have warm water, regular electricity and some outlets, however, power outages are not uncommon and should be expected at some point during your African experience. The water heaters do not always function, and while the internet access will be fairly regular, it is not guaranteed on a daily basis. Most accommodations will have either wifi available or nearby, but often the signal is weak (especially when your fellow participants will also be trying to access it!). In general, participants should prepare to not be able to charge and use electronics as regularly as they are used to doing at home.
Fundraising & Donations
Who will need to fundraise?
All participants will be required to fundraise. The amount will depend on what experiences are chosen. Participants are encouraged to fundraise to help with local educational and community projects in which we will be engaged, or to help raise money for their own fees. We will also welcome others who are unable to participate in one of the 2020 experiences to make a donation to go directly to a child’s education or one of our partner schools.
What will the donations be used for?
Participants will have the opportunity to choose how their donations will be directed. Many of the donations will be used to complete a secondary school for Peace International Academy that GEA has been working to support for nearly five years. Additional funds are used to sponsor or co-sponsor an individual child’s education and related fees (such as school uniforms, supplies, bedding, and food). Other donations may be used or combined for a specific project that educators may work on together during their immersion experience. For example, assisting with a library, toilet facility or classroom construction project, creating or improving a water source at or near a school, or facilitating an income-generating project for a women’s group. There are several more possibilities that will be determined once participant selections have been made and their interests and skills have been assessed. All donations will be used directly to benefit students and schools and none will be kept by Global Education Allies.
What are some ideas for how to fundraise?
GEA will be providing a number of ideas for how participants can go about collecting donations and raising funds to assist with the educational projects and students in which we will interact. GEA will also provide some templates and PR materials, etc. to make the task easier! Check out our fundraising page for more ideas.
Will any of the donations be tax-deductible?
All donations to our partner projects or for a child's school fees of $25 or more from one individual will be eligible for tax-deductible receipts from our partner charity organizations. Participants will be provided with a form to track donation information involving a tax-deductible receipt request.
Are we collecting donated items and bringing them to Africa?
We do not encourage a great deal of donation collection of physical items to take to Africa for several reasons: 1) educators will be limited to one carry-on size piece of luggage in order to facilitate easy group travel and to fit in our vehicles in-country, and therefore will not have the space to bring donated items; 2) donations can sometimes cause problems or be confiscated at customs when entering the country; and 3) we would like to support the local economy as much as possible and needed items can be purchased in-country. It is usually better to use donations to purchase what is needed from local merchants.
Is there a deadline for fundraising?
The preferred deadline will be May 1, 2020. The latest deadline will be in-country in cases where donations may be used directly onsite to purchase materials and supplies for individual children, schools or specific projects.
How and to whom will the donations/funds raised be submitted?
There will be a way to submit donations directly online through our partner charity organization websites. GEA will provide specific details and instructions once participants have been selected and they have chosen or been assigned to a specific project that is connected to our fundraising efforts.
Can a participant fundraise for their own fees?
Can a participant just pay the fundraising amount required for an immersion experience on their own and not get donations or fundraise?
Yes, if a participant prefers not to do any fundraising or solicit any donations, they can pay the fundraising fee and receive a tax-deductible receipt from one of our charitable partner organizations.
Can people not participating in one of the African programs still fundraise and be involved?
Of course! We would love to have more help with making as big of a difference in the lives of students and teachers in East African schools and communities as possible!
Travel, Safety, & Logistics
What vaccinations are required?
There are several recommended vaccinations that participants should consider when traveling to Africa. Upon acceptance, GEA will provide selected participants with a list of recommended vaccinations, as well as required ones such as for Yellow Fever. Several malaria preventions are available and the pros and cons of each will be provided. This information will be covered thoroughly in our pre-departure orientation materials and should not be a major concern for participants at this time.
What kind of travel insurance is included in the program price?
Will participants arrange their own airfare?
Yes, given the number of package possibilities and dates as well as the GEA experiences involving more than one country, and participants coming from different countries and many different US states, everyone will be responsible for finding and booking their own airfare to and from Africa. GEA will provide several suggestions for flights and connect participants so that those participating together can consult each other and find travel companions. GEA will recommend certain flights and times for each arrival and departure in order to save participants time and money searching for options and to coordinate airport pick-ups. That said, participants will be free to travel before and after their GEA experience(s) and may wish to have stopovers on the way to or from Rwanda or Uganda.
What is the approximate price of airfare?
Airfare will likely be the most expensive part! Airfare between Utah and East Africa will likely be between $1500 - $2000. Flights from the East coast or other US cities may be a few hundred dollars cheaper. Simple searches can easily show higher prices, but careful searching and planning can sometimes yield tickets as low as $1000 from some US cities (and can be less, but not usually during summer months when the program will be taking place). Participants may consider seeking frequent flyer donations or using their own miles to get at least part-way to Africa! Tickets between Finland and Africa will likely be at least half the price, in the $800-1000 range. Again, GEA will be looking for the best airfare deals possible and sharing them with their selected participants!
What airport(s) will be best to fly in and out of for each experience?
The main program that begins and ends in Rwanda will be using the Kigali International Airport (KGL is the airport code) in Rwanda. Experiences that begin or end in Uganda will require flying into or departing from Entebbe International Airport (EBB is the airport code) in Uganda. Participants who are participating in package #2 (Rwanda and the Uganda Safari) or package #4 (the entire experience) will be provided airfare between Rwanda and Uganda as part of their package pricing.
What kind of in-country transportation will be provided?
The main program and immersion will be using mini-buses or vans to transport participants as a group. The safari tour will generally be using safari vans or trucks to transport participants which can also be used for game drives as well.
What will the suggested packing list include?
Selected participants will be provided with a recommended packing list as part of their orientation and pre-departure materials. No one needs to begin packing this early! Be prepared to pack light as participants are limited to one carry-on size piece of luggage, and this is a strict program requirement, not a suggestion. Don’t worry - there will be laundry options available throughout the experience.
In addition to a valid passport are any visas required?
Participants going ONLY to Rwanda can purchase a visa upon arrival at the Kigali airport for $30. Participants traveling from Rwanda to Uganda will need an East African visa which will cost $100. Participants traveling only to Uganda will need a Uganda visa that will cost $100. GEA will provide information on how to obtain visas, however, participants will be responsible for obtaining their own. Participants must also have a valid passport by March 1, 2020 that does not expire before February 1, 2021.
What are the best way to manage money and currency exchange?
This information will be provided to selected participants in their pre-departure orientation handbook.
What kind of food will participants usually be eating and what is the drinking water situation?
Typical foods in East Africa include staples such as rice, potatoes, yams, and plantains with various tomato-based or peanut sauces. Chicken, beef or goat are typical meats and when eaten, tilapia is the most common fish. Fresh pineapples, mangos, avocados, and other fruits will be a favorite among the participants, as well as chapati which is like a thick freshly made tortilla. Most meals will be catered and prepared specifically for our group. Participants will want to plan on buying some snacks along the way and GEA cannot guarantee to be able to provide all special dietary needs, however, we will work with guests as much as possible to assist with special food needs. Participants will primarily drink bottled water. When non-bottled water is provided at restaurants or at our accommodations, it will be boiled, purified, and safe to drink.
Is travel to East Africa safe?
Thousands of international visitors travel to Uganda and Rwanda every year and have a great experience. GEA operates in safe areas and within close distance to all services. Despite this, we recommend using common sense and staying with your group. Further ways to ensure your safety and well-being will be discussed at our orientation meeting.
Program, Immersion, & Tour
What is the main difference between the main program and the community immersion experience?
The program is a more formally organized and guided professional development experience that is focused on the particular theme of conflict transformation and resolution and has a training component to it where the GEA participants will both receive training on how to manage conflict alongside Rwandan educators, as well as conduct a mini-training in an educational training at the end of the program experience. The community immersion experience will include a broader range of community and educational organizations and will include some smaller group experiences that are more customized to an educator’s interests and skills and which will require greater initiative and independence on the part of the educator. The main program is also an 8-night experience while the immersion experience is a shorter 5-night experience.
What kind of activities will be happening on the safari tour?
Participants will have the opportunity to stay at a Rhino Sanctuary and track rhinos that are being raised in an effort to repopulate Uganda parks over time. This is an educational organization that promotes anti-poaching and will provide participants with an insight into how this issue has been dealt with in Africa. The safari tour also includes two nights at the largest game reserve in Uganda, Murchison Falls. During this visit participants will have the opportunity to participate in a water safari to the falls as well as the option of hiking to the top of the waterfalls. There will also be two game drives - one at dusk and then a longer early morning drive.
Will educators receive professional development hours or credit?
GEA will issue each participant a licensure certificate that documents the total number of professional development hours that the participant engaged in both in Africa and during pre-departure orientations and other related activities. Participants will also have the option of registering for continuing education units (CEUs) from Utah Valley University for a $50 fee. This option requires a final writing assignment as well as keeping a learning journal throughout the experience.
Payment, Orientation, Guests
How will payments be made and when will they be due?
All payments will be invoiced via Zelle (which most online bank accounts offer). There may be PayPal or Venmo payment options, however, any use of credit cards to pay the fees will result in an additional 3% credit card fee that is charged by PayPal or Venmo (when not using direct bank account transfers). A deposit will be due within one week of acceptance. A complete payment schedule with instructions will be provided in the participant acceptance letter. The full fees are broken down into three payments including the initial deposit made shortly after acceptance, a second payment that will be due in March 2020 and a final payment that will be due in early May 2020.
What kind of pre-departure orientation will be provided?
GEA will be providing one or more webinars for the 2020 East Africa participants, including possible in-person and online meetings in May 2020. There will also be required reading materials and a pre-departure manual that will be provided to all participants in advance of the orientation.
When will I know if I can bring a guest?
Decisions about whether guests will be allowed to participate will be made by December 22 when the priority deadline applicants are informed of their acceptance status. Guests will be expected to be part of the interview and may be asked to complete a guest application before a final selection decision is made. The primary consideration for guests is to ensure they would not be taking the spot of an educator, therefore, there may be certain experiences that become guest-eligible, but that will be determined after the priority deadline and once GEA staff are able to assess overall demands for each of the experiences or package options.
Why do guests have to pay 10% more than educators?
GEA’s primary objective is to provide professional development experiences for educators and we want to ensure that educator needs are our primary concern. That said, we understand that many educators want to share their (hopefully) life-changing GEA experience with a special companion and we feel non-educators can benefit greatly from a GEA experience too. Rather than thinking of there being a 10% increase for non-educators, it may be better considered that educators receive a 10% discount!