Voluntary Community Service
Welcome to GC3: Voluntary community service
Many students do voluntary community service while at UCT. For some it is a way to give back to the community, for others, it is a continuation of voluntary service they might have begun at school or through another group.
The UCT Global Citizenship Programme believes that service in itself is an important component of being a citizen and it underpins the GC ethos. Using your skills and knowledge to benefit the wider society, being able to give to others, to work with others and build relationships with people who aren’t just like you, and learning to engage with people form very different socio-economic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds is all part of this. Therefore engaging locally and understanding the challenging issues in our immediate environment is important; learning about them in the classroom, while useful, can never replace seeing these issues for yourself.
How does it work?
You need to complete 60 hours of self-organised community service during your time at UCT. You can do these hours at ANY STAGE, over as many years as necessary, whilst you are at UCT. You don’t have to work with one organisation for all 60 hours, however, we do encourage you to commit to doing service for a decent period of time at any one organisation.
GC does not facilitate your community service – you are personally responsible for locating an appropriate organisation, arranging your own transport and sorting out any other logistics.
You will need to sign up and register your intended service with the GC Programme. Once you have completed the 60 hours of service, to get these recognised you will need to submit a short report describing what you were involved in; a reflective essay about your experience (guidelines are provided) and a record of your hours signed by an authorised person in the organisation/s for which you volunteered.
What kinds of organisations & service activities count for GC3?
While we appreciate that there are many organisations on campus doing really good work, one of the issues central to the GC programme is confronting and dealing with the gross inequalities facing South African society. Because we believe that direct voluntary community service can provide an opportunity to confront inequality and through this, to work towards social justice, we require that the bulk of the volunteering involves you in direct service relationships with organisations that work with marginalised, under-resourced groups – on or off campus. Organisations which might fit the bill include:
- Registered NGOs
- Student service organisations
- Faith-based organisations
- Community-based organisations
- Activist/advocacy groups
- For the GC Programme, we put the emphasis on direct community service with a local & disadvantaged community. While we do understand that much preparation and travel time goes into these activities, we do not count this time towards the 60 service hours.
- Some students’ service work might involve leadership and administration roles in building and supporting student organisations. Because this is essential work to the functioning of the organisations, we will recognise a portion of this time as part of the 60 hours of service. Please discuss this with the co-ordinator.
- Once you complete the online application form you’ll get added to the Vula site and will receive relevant announcement.
- Log your hours (signed off by an official of the organisation) as you progress.
- At the end of your 60 hours, compile a short report with a profile of the organisation and description of the particular voluntary work you were involved in.
- Complete the critical reflection assignment (on Vula) which will help you identify your key insights and learnings.
GC3 is open to all UCT students, and is free. You can apply online here: