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CREATING LIFE-ENRICHING EXPERIENCES IN COASTAL COMMUNITIES THROUGH EDUCATIONAL SURF PROGRAMMES
WAVES for Development believes that surf travel should benefit the people and communities where it happens.
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WAVES creates life-enriching experiences through education programmes, which develop youth into healthy and empowered adults, and surf volunteerism programmes, engage travellers and transform their views of the world and themselves. The idea originated in late 2004, when a group of local and international surfers shared a desire to help local youth who had few resources and enjoyed surfing.
WAVES is based on a dual mission: help the coastal community members, youth in particular, and engage and provide a lifetime experience to surf travellers who would like to volunteer. This allows a great cultural exchange and mutual understanding contributing to the success of the programme.
Since the launch of the programme in 2008, around 270 volunteers have served in Lobitos for in excess of 702 weeks, contributing roughly 7,592 volunteer hours. Their presence, work and contribution are necessary for the programme’s success.
WAVES for Development
Local mission and focus
WAVES for Development believes that surf travel should benefit the people and communities where it happens. In Lobitos, roughly a third of the local youth finish high school. Those who drop out of school generally undertake a traditional local job. WAVES specifically works at empowering community members, youth in particular, to pursue educational activities including setting career goals and living healthy lives.
Improve public health and well-being
One of the key reasons behind the creation of WAVES is to help the coastal community members, youth in particular, and empower community members to pursue education activities. WAVES funds English classes for local youth in the school and adults in the community. It also funds an environmental education teacher for local youth in coordination with the local school.
Provide equal access to sport
A pillar of WAVES is to provide equipment, swim and surf lessons to local youth. Swimming and surfing programmes foster a healthy young community and provide a creative outlet for self-expression.
The dedicated website, social media and word of mouth are their biggest marketing tools.
The programmes are evaluated on whether or not they are helping to enrich lives. The evaluation for volunteers is undertaken by comparing responses on the volunteer’s original applications to those in feedback forms after their service. For the participants and community members, the organisation conducts a regular community consultation which entails going from house to house, in addition to tracking individual class participation and progress.