Promotoras

Voluntourism – Model Program

Ambience: La Paloma, harp

Volunteer tourism encourages an exchange of ideas and experience between people of different cultural backgrounds. A Mexican voluntourism project is serving as a successful model that benefits both sides. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Nancy McGehee has participated in a number of volunteer tourism projects around the world. Her experience with Tijuana’s Promotoras was particularly inspiring.

McGehee: Working with the Promotoras, I learned about a system that they use where they work together training each other within the community about childhood nutrition. For example, they use texturized vegetable protein and find ways to incorporate it into recipes because it’s a product that doesn’t need refrigeration, it’s easily storable, and easily transformed into a lot of different things. So, working with them, learning about the way in which they helped each other was really an amazing experience.
Members of the community, overwhelmingly women, work and get training so that they in turn can go into the community and train other women. And so, it’s very community oriented. It’s very equitable. There’s not someone coming in and saying, “I know everything.” It’s a great opportunity to participate at a level where I think it’s appropriate. Because one of the things that concerns me with volunteer tourism is that we have people who have the best interests at heart and they want to do well, but they kind of come in with this naïve idea that they’re going to change the community overnight with their wisdom and knowledge, and that’s not the way it works. And so, I think that’s one of the reasons why I like that program so well.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.

Promotoras

Lessons learned from the people of Tijuana.
Air Date:12/07/2021
Scientist:
Transcript:

Voluntourism - Model Program Ambience: La Paloma, harp Volunteer tourism encourages an exchange of ideas and experience between people of different cultural backgrounds. A Mexican voluntourism project is serving as a successful model that benefits both sides. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Nancy McGehee has participated in a number of volunteer tourism projects around the world. Her experience with Tijuana's Promotoras was particularly inspiring. McGehee: Working with the Promotoras, I learned about a system that they use where they work together training each other within the community about childhood nutrition. For example, they use texturized vegetable protein and find ways to incorporate it into recipes because it's a product that doesn't need refrigeration, it's easily storable, and easily transformed into a lot of different things. So, working with them, learning about the way in which they helped each other was really an amazing experience. Members of the community, overwhelmingly women, work and get training so that they in turn can go into the community and train other women. And so, it's very community oriented. It's very equitable. There's not someone coming in and saying, "I know everything." It's a great opportunity to participate at a level where I think it's appropriate. Because one of the things that concerns me with volunteer tourism is that we have people who have the best interests at heart and they want to do well, but they kind of come in with this naïve idea that they're going to change the community overnight with their wisdom and knowledge, and that's not the way it works. And so, I think that's one of the reasons why I like that program so well. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.