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TRIPs FAQ

Learn all about our TRIPs.

What will the 10 days include?

On a Simbi Foundation 10-day TRIP, you will primarily be helping us to collect data, install Simbi Foundation BrightBoxes or other relevant projects, and work with the local community to collect feedback that will continue to inform our implementations. Check out our previous TRIP itineraries here.

I’m a student, what’s the benefit of a TRIP for me?

There are many benefits for a student interested in joining a Simbi Foundation TRIP, or who are currently conducting research related to our organization goals. Firstly, not only will you have the chance to engage in meaningful learning and bridge the gap between theory and practice when on a TRIP with us, but you will also have the chance to participate in qualitative and quantitative data collection activities, and to collaborate with our local partner communities as we install BrightBoxes. 

As a research-driven organization, we strongly believe that our research opportunities have to provide mutual benefit for our researchers. And so, once you have arrived back home, Simbi Foundation provides its field researchers with support in furthering the research conducted in the field, be it by using collected data in your dissertation or thesis, (co)publishing a paper, or even presenting at a conference.

Students can also apply to join the Simbi Foundation Think Tank, which is a team of scholars of varying academic levels from McGill, UBC, SFU and others who continue to research and publish papers with us. As a Think Tank member, you will be able to continue to make your research meaningful. How? Because we use the research conducted by our Think Tank to directly inform program design, implementation, and evaluation.

You can see and read some of the papers previously published by Simbi Foundation researchers here!

I’m a professional, what’s the benefit for me?

As a professional, a Simbi Foundation TRIP is a unique opportunity for you to use your skills to impact the lives of refugee and underserved learners in Uganda and India. As a research-driven organization, we strongly believe that our research opportunities have to provide mutual benefit for our researchers. And so, once you have arrived back home, Simbi Foundation provides its field researchers with support in furthering the research conducted in the field, be it by using collected data in your dissertation or thesis, (co)publishing a paper, or even presenting at a conference.

Do I need research experience, an MA, or a PhD to join a Simbi Foundation TRIP?

No! While a TRIP is a fantastic opportunity for a Master’s or PhD student to use their research skills to create meaningful impact, there are many ways for anybody to engage in a TRIP, even if you don’t have academic qualifications. We believe that Research should be accessible to everyone, and so on a TRIP, you will have the opportunity to participate in data collection activities, in the installation of BrightBox solutions, as well as in collaborating with our partner communities! It’s also a great opportunity for individuals who would like to gain practical research experience before considering furthering their academic career. As long as you are passionate about the work that we do, and about using your skills to make impact, then we love to have you join. 

Moreover, as part of the TRIP, you will receive pre-departure and on-site training and guidance from senior Simbi Foundation staff members and researchers, the purpose of which is to familiarise you with the work that we do, and with our research processes in the field.

How many hours will I be expected to work on a TRIP?

On average, the whole TRIP would include an average of 135 working hours. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Each day spent in the Refugee Settlement is a full working day (8am-4pm).
  • Between 2-4 hours each evening is also spent preparing the research that will be conducted on the following day, and with team meetings. This time is far more relaxed, and is interspersed with learning opportunities, fun team activities, and a team meal. 
  • Once the Research TRIP has finished, we ask researchers to provide us with follow-ups of their research (data, entry, a report, a small presentation, a meeting, or even a research paper – this depends on the research or researcher!). This not only helps us to improve the work that we do, but also provides researchers with the opportunity to put the new skills they have developed over the past 10 days of a TRIP into practice.

These hours allow us to use the short time we have on a TRIP to collect the optimum data that we can, install the best services that we can, and ultimately make the biggest impact that we can with some of the world’s most underserved communities.

How much time is required in preparation for a TRIP?

Preparation before a TRIP falls into two categories. Firstly, the TRIP will require some personal preparation, which includes applying for your visa to enter Uganda or India, purchasing items for your travel, packing for the 10-day trip, getting your vaccinations, and joining two hour-long operational calls with Simbi Foundation senior staff members to prepare you for the TRIP. We estimate that these preparation activities will take you between 5 and 10 hours during the weeks leading up to a TRIP.

Secondly, you may wish to get involved with a Simbi Foundation Think Tank research project prior to departure and fieldwork. This may include learning about or getting involved with the study design, planning, or even the preparation of materials that you will be using on the ground. Since involving yourself in this capacity is a decision for you to make based on your availability, we estimate you spending anywhere between 5 and 40 hours on supporting our research projects prior to departure. 

Thirdly, we ask that TRIP attendees fundraise for us. The time needed to conduct fundraising will vary from person to person, although we recommend leaving approximately two months for fundraising!

How much do I have to fundraise? And how do I do it?

Typically, we would ask a student fundraiser to raise $1,000 CAD for us. 

For a professional, we would ask for fundraising of $2,000 CAD.

But remember, these are targets! We ask TRIP attendees to fundraise as much as they can for us! If you fundraise a little more or a little less than the above, this will not affect your ability to join a TRIP.

We are a non-profit organization, and 100% of your fundraising goes towards our BrightBox solutions, teacher technology training sessions, and other project costs in Uganda and India!

 

How much do Vaccinations cost?

The cost of vaccinations can vary, depending on whether or not you have had any of the required vaccinations in the past. We estimate a cost of between $50 – $500 CAD. If you have never had vaccinations required for spending time abroad, then you should expect a cost closer to $500.

 Simbi Foundation Tip: Don’t leave your vaccinations until the last minute! If you do, your only option for getting the vaccinations might be to go to a private clinic. This would cost you substantially more than $500!

Is it safe to spend time in Uganda?

Yes! We have established close and trusting relationships with our partner communities, who welcome us like family when we arrive, and who are excited to collaborate with us in the installation of education-support programs. 

The greatest danger that we face in Uganda is driving and road conditions, especially since our TRIPs often include long drives between airports and the locations of our partner communities, we mediate this by hiring a police cruiser that travels in front us when we undertake these long journeys. 

How do TRIPs avoid voluntourism?

We approach our TRIPs with a core Simbi Foundation value: Impact First. This means that, above all, our TRIPs are seeking to impact the lives of refugee and underserved learners who face challenges when accessing school. 

While they do include a small number of travel/leisure activities as we travel from the airport to our partner communities, Simbi Foundation TRIPs are first and foremost Research experiences. 

Why do we put such a strong emphasis on Research? Because we want to ensure that the projects we design in collaboration with our partner communities will deliver the best possible results, be sustainable, and promote community self-reliance. Collecting validating data and community feedback, and heavily pre-testing our projects on TRIPs is how we ensure success.

How much do flights cost?

Flight costs can fluctuate depending on when you book them, and on your departure location. To travel to Uganda (Entebbe Airport) from Vancouver (YVR), expect flight costs of between $1000-2000 CAD. The journey will include at least one flight change, and will take at least 25 hours.

To travel from Vancouver to New Delhi, India, and from there to our partner communities in Uttarakhand, expect costs of between $1,000-1,750 CAD. This journey will also include at least one flight change, and will take at least 20 hours.