Want to make a difference during your trip abroad? Making sure you choose a project that makes a real positive impact can be tricky. Read on for 5 things to look out for in your search of a truly ethical volunteering experience…
- Partners – Does the volunteer organisation collaborate with local project partners? Are the local community involved and benefiting from the project? If so, the project is more likely to be effective and put your skills to the best use. Ask about the project’s overseas partners to see if their mission matches what you want to get out of the trip.
- Money – So perhaps you’re paying a year’s worth of savings for the trip of a lifetime. Where exactly does it all go? Find out how much money goes to the project partner. If your travel operator plans to pocket all of your financial contribution, it’s time to ditch them and find a company who is as serious about making a difference as you are.
- When you leave – Do your research and find out how your efforts will fit into a long-term development plan. Will the next set of volunteers pick up where you left off or start from scratch? Don’t be afraid to ask ‘how will I be making a difference?’ A truly ethical organisation will give you a reply which will make you want to sign up there and then!
- Volunteer selection – To ensure their impact is a positive one, volunteer organisations will want to be sure that you are the right kind of person for the job. Interviews and detailed application forms are a good sign! If they seem to be saying whatever they can to get you on board without knowing much about you, perhaps it’s time to reconsider.
- Dedication – Look behind the scenes… is the company run ecologically both overseas and at home? Look for an inspiring page on ‘ethics’ or ‘values’ on the organisation’s website. Can’t find one? You know what to do…
Some links you may find useful: