In recent years ‘Voluntourism’ has become extremely popular among those wishing to spend time in a different country and give something back at the same time. However, in some cases, despite the good intentions of those wishing to donate their time and skills, the intentions do not always match the outcomes.
Time spent abroad volunteering is not a replacement for a ‘traditional’ holiday. Although rewarding, volunteering is a very challenging experience. So, how do you ensure that your team’s experience is truly ‘sustainable’? By asking yourself the following questions, you will be able to decide on the right program to help your team and the community work together sustainably.
- Do my team’s skills match the project?
- Is there any evidence that the project is based on local need and is there a transfer of skills between volunteers and local people?
- Do you know how and where your team’s money will be spent?
- Are you provided with evidence of how the program benefits local people and the local environment?
- Will you be provided with pre-trip training on local customs and culture that will enhance the experience for your team and locals alike?
- What level of support will be provided to your team if something goes wrong?