Six Smart Strategies for a Transformative Volunteer Experience

07/08/2014 10:29

"Voluntourism" will be fast becoming the buzz for both both new and experienced travellers who wish to experience the culture of their destination in depth as well as spend more time engaging with local people. It has been a source associated with controversial reports regarding the effect on communities as well as the potential for exploitation of youngsters and other disadvantaged sectors from the society directly into which volunteers enforce themselves. In this post, we fulfill Ingrid, an Foreign volunteer who has come to South africa, and Ben, who operates a community-based organisation in Nairobi's slums that hosts foreign volunteers. They offer their particular advice to individuals considering such as some helping out in their moves.

1. Speak to someone who is familiar with the project you'll be volunteering from and ask concerns

Most helping out experiences are found in developing countries, inside cultures which can be vastly different to what we are usually used to inside the developed world. And the projects many volunteers go to come in slums or disadvantaged areas of which developing nation. If you do not understand what to expect, the culture shock can be disarming.

Ingrid tells of her connection with not getting adequate information before arriving within Kenya:

"The company I registered with is based in Australia so they really weren't able to give detailed strategies to some of my own questions about this program in Kenya. I also in no way got the opportunity to talk with, Skype or see any nearby staff right up until I walked out of the airport terminal in Nairobi. If I got the chance to relive the ability I would ensure this was something the Volunteer organisation supplied and/or that they had a representative who experienced recently visited the Volunteer program in South africa who I really could talk to.Inch

She provides:

"Ask lots of questions before you sign upward for something - it is so worth as a question bug rather than leaving (and spending) for the unknown. If you have any kind of friends or family who've volunteered, inquire further what they considered, if they would recommend their own program and first hand assistance."

Some good questions to ask the volunteer organization include:

• When was the last period someone from the agency been to the program inside country?

• How extended have you dealt with the Volunteer program? And the way many volunteers happen to be there because starting with all of them?

• Ask to see reviews from previous volunteers who volunteered for longer than a month (try to find excellent, bad and also average evaluations)

• Ask any and all questions about the program, the duties you will be doing, placements as well as the people you will end up dealing with (hosting companies, managers, staff, schools, orphans and so forth.)

• Ask for a comprehensive invoice of most program fees and flights/insurance (when included) and attempt to find out the amount of cash that actually goes to the local system.

• What is the name of the nearby organisation working the program? This is a great thing to referred to as you can then perform your own study into program descriptions and also reviews.

• Where can i be remaining? Ask or perhaps do some research in regards to the town which means you know what can be expected in regards to facilities, stores, food and technology available.


Two. Use your abilities

Please do not become mistaken: as a volunteer you will not be visiting "save Africa" (or no matter what your location). The job of developing a nation can only be practiced by the citizens. But if you've skills, you'll be able to contribute to capacity development, which can be both needed and appreciated. Much of the conversation around the impact regarding volunteers is about not qualified and novice people getting on the front doorstep of a hectic NGO and hoping to be entertained for a couple of weeks. There are plenty of not qualified and not skilled people in building countries, therefore coming to the other side of the world to be able to dig pockets and lay bricks could mean that you are using paid employment away from somebody that really wants it. While this may sound tough, I have seen the outcome of volunteers doing jobs that may be given to local people and it can cause resentment on the list of community - community jobs need to entail the community first and foremost if we really care about the development of the residential areas we visit.

Ben from Amani Kibera, a community-based undertaking in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, states that they look with regard to volunteers "who would like to share their own skills as well as learn from that which you do. We encourage anybody who would like to then add value as to the we are carrying out to consider helping out with us. All of us seek individuals with specific skills or abilities that are associated with our perform."

Most volunteering experiences are found in developing countries, in cultures that are vastly different to what we are generally used to in the developed world. Know more about flights to ho chi minh city.

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