The most impactful way to learn and apply business skills in the developing world
Mark Muckerheide, Director at Target Corp
GBB chapters foster dialogue and take local action for economic equality.
GBB chapters strengthen community-owned banks and consult small business to increase income.
Partnership with Deloitte
GBB proudly partners with Deloitte to increase impact on brigades! Deloitte consultants accompany our university volunteers to ensure higher quality business guidance for the community members while providing our students with valuable career insight.
For more information on receiving a Deloitte consultant on your brigade, please contact your advisor.
Volunteer, University of Southern California, Business Brigades Chapter
I recently attended new employee training at Deloitte University, Deloitte’s training hub. In one of the classes, we went through a consulting simulation. We had to decide how to allocate funds and resources to a rural community struggling from poverty, disease, poor sanitation and lack of reliable transportation, much like our community of Guaricayan, Honduras.
Because of my experiences, I had the courage to lead my team in meeting with the made-up community leaders, coordinating my peers in the planning stage and leading the final presentation of our plan to the made-up community leaders. I would NOT have had as much confidence as I had during that simulation had it not been for Global Brigades. Global Brigades was such a valuable experience and totally worth the money. It remains as one of my favorite experiences from my 4 years at USC, as it pushed me in ways I never planned when I signed up initially.
Volunteer, UC Berkeley, Business Brigades Chapter
I know that the chief purpose of my volunteer work with Global Brigades was to empower those without opportunity. But my trip to Honduras, and later trip to Panama, created a multitude of memories that have changed my perspective of the world and in a grandiose way, humanity. This is not to say you won’t change the landscape of opportunities of the individuals you meet, but you may come away with more than you ever expected.
My trips to Panama and Honduras transformed my image of volunteering. Volunteering is not charity, volunteering is much more in line with empowering those with will. In each and every case I witnessed Global Brigades didn’t throw money at problems, but rather gave individuals the means to develop their own community. In turn, slowly, but surely, they changed the communities they engaged in.
Now I am in shock with how much my trips have impacted me. My advice to you is to take the chance and go. I promise you that after all is said and done the worst part will be leaving.
Volunteer, Columbia University, Business Brigades Chapter
My classmates and I held a financial literacy clinic, where we implemented a shareholder model in the community development fund and sold 500 shares to villagers. For me, witnessing concrete change in the community, along with awesome enthusiasm for the undertaking from all sides, reinforced my belief that sustainable development through microfinance is completely possible. Global Brigades has given me the opportunity to meet and learn from incredible people–students, villagers, and GB staff–an experience that has been incredibly rewarding. My involvement with GB has inspired me to pursue my interest in development both in and outside of the classroom, and has undoubtedly enriched my experience living in a city as diverse as New York.
Volunteer, Indiana University Bloomington, Business Brigades Chapter
Before I visited the village of Tomatin, I was skeptical to say the least. This opportunity to help others by educating them in the language of Microfinance almost seemed too good to be true. I was expecting more like a show and tell, something along the lines of being guided around and being instructed every step of the way. However what I experienced was much different. As soon as we landed in Tegucigalpa, our objectives were laid out and it was up to us to complete them. After a week, not only did we change the Caja, we changed their lives.
The opportunity to not only instruct but to educate is invaluable. In the end we set up bank accounts for the children of the village, instructing them that they were not to withdraw cash until they turned 12 years old. The hope being that by this time they will have seen their money grown and have decided to keep the money in the Caja, allowing them to spend more in the future. This valuable lesson in saving is a message we hope that the children will carry on to their own kids when the time comes. This tradition will be instilled in the village, and without a dime of American financial support, and a wealth of financial knowledge, the village of Tomatin will pull itself out of poverty.
However while this teaching experience was directed at the population of Tomatin, it was us as students who left learning about the culture of Honduras and about ourselves. My experience was unique, with the fluency of Spanish I already had, becoming friends with everyone in the Caja was a very rewarding experience. I had the opportunity to share my life with them like they shared their life with me. Every day quickly turned into a treasurable memory, every minute was an opportunity for a shared laugh. I learned from the people of Tomatin that life is only lived once, so why not be thankful for it. They continuously thanked us and when in the end, it should have been us thanking them.
Volunteer, Johns Hopkins University, Business Brigades Chapter
Going on community visits was vital to the Microfinance Brigade, learning about the financial situations of these community members. With each and every house, we were greeted with much hospitality: parting gifts of coffee and oranges. Not only did the financial confessions open up my eyes, but merely the journey to get to those houses. We had to cross little rivers, hike up and down mountains, and dodge stray dogs during our ten to forty-minute walks. It was not a game I was playing but it was real life.
Everything was so real and I knew I had to put my best foot forward to make a real life change.
I came up with the idea to make long-term financial plans with each household, because, though there might have been a language barrier, there is no such thing as a number barrier as math is an international language. This really helped in getting the message across because the plan remained even after we left. Speaking to people of all ages who were in worse positions than I was empowered me to make sure to produce the best advice possible.
Once returning to the United States, I have definitely decided to travel more. There is so much to experience in the world. I have vowed to myself to go back to Honduras, be it for another brigade trip or for doing research about income disparities and its socio-economic effects in different communities.
Volunteer, University of Southern California, Business Brigades Chapter
As a result of my life-changing experiences with Global Brigades, I am now seriously considering it as something I can hopefully continue doing as a career option after graduating. The entire staff at Global Brigades is extraordinarily kind, driven, and easy to get along with, all of whom I am honored to have worked with. This definitely also includes the translators, security, and our beloved bus driver! The relentless combined effort of the Global Brigades staff is what brings people together from across cultures in order to learn from each other skills and values. It is not a one sided relationship, but a mutual one, which is what makes the experience so incredibly rewarding for everyone.
Volunteer, Indiana University, Business Brigades Chapter
Personally, my most enjoyable experience was designing and introducing new spreadsheets with the women to organize their books for the agriculture store. Their readiness to learn inspired me, as did the tone of the teenagers I talked to during our final community fiesta. As they shared their hopes for studying business or computer programming in the university in Tegucigalpa, their infectious spirit and drive convinced me that the work was real – change could be sustained.
Volunteer, Miami University, Business Brigades Chapter
While only so much is possible within the 8 day span of a brigade, it can be difficult to truly grasp the purpose of the organization before going on a brigade. Accordingly, while I thought I had a done enough research and was open enough to be prepared for my first brigade in December, that was not the case, and my mind was thoroughly blown. It wasn’t the conditions of the village or the educational material we presented which caught me off guard, that much I had more or less prepared for. What I hadn’t anticipated, however, was the passion which I discovered flourishing within the individuals I met with and power with which that personal connection would affect me. Seeing what they had already done with so little allowed me to grasp on to their vision for the community, and made believing in their capacity to achieve change come second nature. For those 8 days I poured myself into the efforts of the community, and if but for a brief period, my self seemed to melt away into the greater communal goal of attaining quality of life. It is that feeling which I am grateful to the people of Piriati, Panama for allowing me to experience with them, and while I knew that those 8 days were simply a taste, I’m happy to say it left me hungry for more. I only wished that more of my fellow brigadiers had shared the powerful experience that I had.