Archive for the 'good and bad practice' Category

volunteering – the right people in the right places

Monday, September 17th, 2018

I (Kate) just LOVE my job and I thought you’d like to read these snippets from 2 recent volunteers about how ‘people and places’ works closely with volunteers, right from the beginning – doing our utmost to put the right people in the right places:

SOPHIE
‘I was very impressed (and grateful!) that when my original allocated project proposed a job role that didn’t quite align with my experience, People & Places organised for me to change to Treak. This was a perfect fit and I’m glad I ended up there!’
ELLIE
‘Kate and the team at People and Places were very helpful, accommodating and efficient in
organising my time volunteering. I got in touch hoping to get away as soon as possible with short notice and they were able to make it work for me whilst managing my expectations. I appreciated Kate advising me on the country that might be best suited to me and she put me in touch with others whilst she was away so that the process could be sped up!’

working to make our support for volunteer projects worthwhile and sustainable

Monday, September 17th, 2018

One of our core values at people and places is to make sure that the work our volunteers do is of real use to the communities where we work and forms part of an initiative that can and will be continued after the volunteer goes home.  We are determined to avoid the kind of volunteering where someone goes into a community with an idea we think is good but which is in fact irrelevant to the way things work in that country, or which has already been done in a slightly different way by an earlier volunteer.

How on earth can we hope to achieve such a challenging aim?

At the heart of our work is the support plan.  Each project has a support plan, available for prospective volunteers to view on our website.   For example, click here to read the support plan for youth development in Saint Lucia.  The support plan contains a short list of aims for the work of volunteers on that project, plus some suggestions as to activities volunteers might do to help achieve them.  These aims are NOT thought up by us – they are the needs expressed by people who actually work at the projects and by our local partners who live locally and work on a regular basis with the project so have a much better idea than us of what local needs are.  The suggested activities are simply that – suggestions.  It would not be possible to write a finite list of actions to be carried out because we cannot know in advance what skills and experiences each volunteer may be able to contribute – however they do give a guideline for volunteers in seeing how they might be able to use their skills to help achieve a need which local people have expressed.  Whilst we constantly use the support plan to inform the volunteer matching process, it is formally reviewed every two years, and at that stage projects and local partners add new aims and suggested activities, remove any aims which have been completely fulfilled or are no longer relevant and they and we together detail what has been done by volunteers within those two years towards achieving existing aims.  At this stage we also add in, if the project agrees, any recommendations made by volunteers as to how their work could be built on by others who follow them.  However the support plans can be changed and added to at any time, and some local partners regularly ask us to add aims or to make other alterations. (more…)

be careful what you share on social media-you might unknowingly break the law!

Monday, September 17th, 2018

This is a cautionary tale.

Sharing images of abuse, even when the goal is to question those images and promote best practice, could be a criminal offence in the letter of the law.

Recently I (Dianne) was sent a video via social media by someone who works at one of the projects we support.  The film showed shocking scenes of violence towards children.  It was sent to me with the best of intentions by someone with whom I had have conversations about positive ways of disciplining children in a country where corporal punishment towards children (though not extreme violence) is still common practice.  The film did not originate in that country or in the UK, and had been made specifically for sharing on the Internet, but the violence it showed and the distress of the children involved were undoubtedly real.  My immediate reaction was to delete the video, but it did not seem very responsible to do that without making some attempt at least to bring the perpetrators to justice.   So I reported it to the British police.

This is what I learned. (more…)

child welfare and volunteering

Monday, September 17th, 2018

We, at people and places, sincerely believe  in the power of well-matched and well-prepared volunteers – we believe the overwhelming majority of people want to do good … but we also see the damage being done in communities where poorly thought out, managed and monitored programmes are being run. We believe volunteers and the communities they seek to serve are often exploited – and they deserve BETTER.

We started people and places because we believe that it is possible to design and manage volunteer programmes that deliver the support needed by communities – at the same time, ensuring safe and worthwhile experiences for volunteers.

Those of you who follow our news will know that our work has attracted awards for both the day to day work we do and our campaigning (in both instances as you read through the winners you can see what amazing company we were in).

None of this work have we done on our own.

We have been working closely with Friends International Childsafe Movement for a number of years and recently on their Global Good Practice Guide Lines to responsible volunteering for businesses – we believe it is a realistic and thought provoking guide – and we would encourage all volunteers to read it – it will help you assess the ethics of any organisation offering volunteer travel- take a look here

We are proud to have been part of such important guidelines – and we want to take this opportunity to thank Friends International – in helping us improve our child protection policies – and thus support volunteers in their search for ethical ways to volunteer for children.

take a look here at our statement about why we do not work with orphanages

a new guide for turning good intentions into effective results

Friday, August 31st, 2018

We at people and places have been asked to advise on many volunteer guides in the past – here is one we can wholeheartedly recommend.

 You can buy The Essential Guide to Volunteering Abroad direct from the publishers here.

The Essential Guide to Volunteering Abroad offers a powerful and transformative new approach to international volunteering. The “learning service” model helps volunteers embrace the learning side of their adventures—and discover how cultivating openness, humility, and a willingness to reflect can enhance help them do good better. It’s not a lightweight ‘how-to’ handbook, but a thoughtful critique, a shocking exposé, and a detailed guide to responsibly serving communities in need.’ (Bennett et al)

We are proud to have been a part of it.

orphanages-why are we asking you to rethink volunteering or donating?

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

We want to start this post by saying very clearly that we know that some of you support orphanages – and we are not, for a moment, suggesting that you should immediately stop supporting those orphanages. We want to encourage people to look at alternatives and encourage the organisations they support to seek alternatives.We want to encourage people who are thinking about supporting an orphanage for the first time to consider the alternatives – we want to warn people that many orphanages – not all- are commercial enterprises where children are trafficked.

We are asking everyone to rethink the way we support children in poverty – children who are very often separated from their families because of poverty.

We at people and places made the decision nearly 10 years ago to work with programmes that work to keep children in their families not in orphanages – why?

(more…)

we need your teaching skills – and not only in schools

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

Definition of teach: “cause (someone) to learn or understand something by example or experience.”

Definition of skill: “The ability to do something well; expertise.”

That’s what we are all about in all our volunteer projects

{As an aside we are proud that our programme is a skills-share programme. However, we need to use the term “volunteer” because in this Google search age the vast majority of people use the word “volunteer” when they do their searches – not “skills-share”.}

Many of our “education” volunteer programmes are not based in schools – many are.

All of our programmes need volunteers to share their skills – e.g. teach.

Here are some examples of where we need teaching skills – not only in schools but in community, health and vocational programmes too.

Please read on to learn more about the projects we work with that need and would warmly welcome your teaching skills .

(more…)

volunteer in Nepal – new projects and an old friend

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

We are working in Nepal again!

As many of you know we stopped working in Nepal a few years ago – firstly because of the legal issues of volunteers needing ( almost impossible to obtain ) work permits – and then post the devastation of the earthquake we felt it was inappropriate to send volunteers

Well HOORAY we can now announce that we are working again in Nepal.

Our programme causes no problem with work permits because all our volunteers are self funding skills-share volunteers

So take a look at the projects we are working with in Nepal

Education Support

Nursery school support

Business Skills

Business support in Patan

Child development in rural Nepal

Nursery support in Kathmandu 

Community Support

 

 

 

supporting people in developing countries – a video presentation

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Dianne, our Volunteer Programme Adviser, has made a number of presentations about how to volunteer responsibly – here is one that she recently gave … and it’s not a sales pitch for people and places – rather a guide to the challenges of making sure you do more good than harm when you volunteer or donate. Dianne discusses building projects, wealth creation projects, education – as well as why it’s so important to avoid orphanages, and what alternatives are available to volunteers and donors.

see the video here

 

NEW! an easy and safe way to donate to your volunteer project

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

We do not ask or expect volunteers to donate more to the project they work with, other than the initial sum detailed in their placement costs.

But we are constantly humbled by the number of volunteers and their friends and families who wish to give additional support.

We are thrilled that now we have an easy, cost effective and safe way to help with those donations.

Our sister charity, Travel Philanthropy (Charity No 1122270), now enables us to offer this opportunity for each project and community where we work.

We are working with Total Giving – a CSR initiative – no fees are charged – much more money reaches the projects than through other traditional donation sites such as Just Giving.

HOW – simply visit the Travel Philanthropy page on Total Giving

Scan down the page to find your project – click on the image – and follow the donation instruction. Each project has an individual link, so you can give that link to your family and  friends – and they can find out more about the project and donate themselves.