Archive for the 'good and bad practice' Category

Nepal – volunteer work permits and visas – and tourism

Friday, July 17th, 2015

As you will appreciate we are desperate to enable our volunteers to return to Nepal as soon as they wish to. However, it is Nepalstill illegal to volunteer in Nepal without a work permit and it is still a lengthy, costly and problematic process – which realistically precludes our volunteers from travelling there. Sallie is working closely with various people in Nepal to try to resolve this problem – but it’s taking time!

But please do not let this stop you visiting Nepal – Nepal needs tourism much more than aid now – and the vast majority of Nepal is safe to visit.

If you are on Facebook and interested in how important tourism is to Nepal – https://www.facebook.com/groups/NepalTourismRecovery/ (created by our partner Raj) – you need to be logged in to see it!

We are optimistic we will resolve the work permit issue soon – so if you are keen to get back – or visit for the first time – please do let us know.

 

The Guardian – positives and negatives of ‘voluntourism’

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Seems to be a ‘media day’ …  this article in The Guardian today asks, yet again, whether ‘voluntourism’ does more harm than good …

“If volunteers are truly to help communities overseas, charities and NGOs must take the time to match their skills with the right projects,” says Matthew Jenkin, editor of Guardian Careers

mutual learning, sharing, hugging!

mutual learning, sharing, hugging!

Key word: “MATCH” …

Our own approach here at ‘people and places is – and always has been – to begin with an understanding of local need in order to match each volunteer’s skills and experience to local need. This matching process – vital in facilitating mutually rewarding and beneficial placements – takes time and is paramount!

Sallie gives a brief synopsis of our approach:

“There are a number of cultural issues – will the local community be comfortable with strangers in their midst? How will they make sure that their culture is protected and respected? They need to make sure that the recruitment organisation has devised a code of conduct and, if there are children present, a child protection policy. A needs assessment must be done.”


Read about our matching process here
.

volunteering in projects abroad: how to do it well

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Really useful tips, advice and pointers in this article to guide your research when you’re beginning to think about volunteering in projects abroad … how to find the right project for you …

tips & advice

 

 

“short-term volunteering – how to do it well”

Begin by asking lots of questions … and expect full answers !

Sallie is quoted, as is Michael, our local partner in Cambodia, where our volunteers work in this community project in Siem Reap.

Michael’s question 1: “Does the project where you’ll be working meet a real need, and is it the appropriate response to that need?”
and from Sallie: “Would I be allowed to do this work in my own country?”

good news from Nepal – ‘ban on new orphanages’

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

An article in the ‘Nepali Times’ yesterday … certainly the right way to go in the wake of the inevitable post-quake disruption … http://www.nepalitimes.com/blogs/thebrief/2015/05/20/ban-on-new-orphanages/

We know there are some institutions which are well-run, and organisations which concentrate on re-homing children with their extended families and communities … Here are some links to research more thoroughly:

OCCED – Naxal, Kathmandu

ChildSafe Network

UNICEF Nepal

Family for Every Child 

check out this Facebook page for recent posts, resources and information about Better Child Protection

Who thought this was a good idea?

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Win a childcare experience

angry

All too often we are horrified by the “opportunities “offered to well meaning people – we publish few but this one is so irresponsible we had to share it.

Well, actually, we are sharing Dave Coles  recent blog post (he does wonderful work heping LSE students find responsible volunteering opportunities.)

Bravo Dave – wish we’d written this piece.

“since when did it become acceptable to offer time with children as a prize? Would you be happy if your son, sister, nephew or grandchild was being offered up as a competition win for people from thousands of miles away? Have the families of these children given consent for their youngest to be sold in this way? There is a reverse lottery at play here. The children in Nepal, Mexico or Thailand don’t know if they are getting a “good” volunteer of a “bad” one. The difference being is that they didn’t enter that competition.”

read the whole blog here

and if you would like to see the original offer of the prize

put GVI childcare prize into a search – we ain’t goona promote it! 🙂

ethical volunteering in South Africa – community needs are key !

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

“Our programs are not designed to meet the expectations of volunteers to do ‘something new’.

Our programs meet the needspaul of the communities in which we work.”

Paul Miedema, our local partner at Calabash in South Africa, wrote this excellent article about the priorities for ethical volunteering.

http://www.tourism-watch.de/content/entwicklungsprioritaeten-verteidigen

The article is in German, but there’s a translate button at the top right of the article,

Well said, Paul 🙂

people and places – major changes to the way we work with our projects abroad

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

This was first published way back when – sadly – it still holds true!

Here at people and places we are constantly struggling to get enough volunteers for our programmes – there are other sending organisations that manage to attract thousands of volunteers every year – we don’t  and I now know we have got so much wrong – so here’s my proposal – I’m sending it off to our advisory board tonight: time for change

1. We’re going to start talking about our projects – after all, how could they possibly run without us?

2. Forget about getting informed consent from the projects that volunteers will be working with – we will save a huge amount of hassle for ourselves and volunteers if we just send them – and hey – the projects are poor so they’ll be grateful for anyone.

3. From now on, the most important skill any volunteer can possibly have is the ability to give us their credit card details

4. In future, all the expenses of travelling etc., incurred by those of us in the UK, will be allocated to “project development” – how would the projects develop without us – and all marketing will be called volunteer recruitment – and we need volunteers to develop projects so it’s project development – SIMPLE

5. We are discontinuing the bespoke screening and preparation process for volunteers – a one size fits all application form and a pre departure pack has  been developed – we caused too much confusion before – and we are the best ones to judge after all.

6. We aren’t going to allocate any of the fees to pay our local partners on the ground to care for the volunteers – we have 24/7 cover with our UK mobile numbers.

7. In fact we are going to do away with local partners – who needs  ’em? We know all our projects are “community driven” and we got local consent years ago.

8. We are not going to insist that volunteers sign up to and comply with child protection policies  – of course we have the best interests of children at heart – so why complicate things?

9. work permits – don’t worry – you can slip in under the radar on a tourist visa – who will know?

10. talking about work, who cares whether volunteers have the right insurance or not? Insurance is only a problem when there’s a problem.

11. What a time waster all that work we put into ensuring that volunteers are contributing skills the projects needs – so what if the 1000th volunteer is singing “head, shoulders, knees and toes” for the unmpteenth time with the children? They’re all having fun aren’t they? And building programmes – we are going to start those – obviously local people don’t know how to rebuild a bridge or a toilet block over and over again.

12. And most important of all – all children should be loved and hugged – by anyone

13. and finally – perhaps our biggest mistake – none of our volunteers get a T-shirt that says “I saved the world” … well I’ve just put an order for 2000 in – so come on down!

(and I must do a hat tip to Justin Francis at www.responsibletravel.com who wrote a piece many years ago explaining why he was turning his back on responsible travel – sorry Justin can’t find it – if you do Im happy to link to it here!)

“Should I volunteer abroad?” – an article we contributed to

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

people and places placements director, Kate, has been interviewed by World Travel Guide for an article about the plusses and minuses of choosing to volunteer abroad …

Should I volunteer abroad?

Should I volunteer abroad?

 

 

“We believe that a carefully placed, thoroughly screened, well-prepared, skilled volunteer can – and does – have a positive impact,” says Stefanko. 

All volunteers through People and Places have to apply for a position. Then, if accepted, the volunteer is matched with a … project that can benefit from their skill set.”

 

read the full article here

Volunteer publication is a must read and not just because………..

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

……….Sallie contributed.

This publication – Adventures Less Ordinary: How to Travel and Do Good – is  due out in January and promises to be an important read, drawing on the combined expertise of two dozen leading voices advocating for travel that makes a difference. It’s for travellers,volunteers, volunteer sending and receiving organisations and academics. The list of contributors is impressive – people who have a wealth of knowledge about volunteer travel. Register for  a copy on publication here

 

Here is  Sallie’s contribution –

 

While You Act: Make Bullied Communities and Disappointed Volunteers Things of the Past

By Sallie Graysonsallie headshotSMALL

 

While many have celebrated the merging of community service with tourism, others are highly critical and correctly so. Three particular issues need close investigation:

 

(1) Where does the money go?

(2) Do the negative impacts outweigh the positives for local communities?

(3) How much do the local communities know?

 

In search of clarity about these issues and more, potential volunteers and fundraising motivators need to ask questions. But they need to be the right questions!

(more…)

If you volunteer abroad with people and places you will be part of a plan!

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Here at people and places, we constantly try to raise the bar to ensure volunteering is the best it can be for the projects we

a win-win situation

a win-win situation

work with and you the volunteer.

Our latest initiative is to publish on our site the goals and achievements for our volunteer programmes.

Each project on our site has a link to what we call, grandly, the development plan. Dianne has worked closely with the projects to design these – they outline the goals (as set by the projects) of the volunteer programme and how volunteers can and do contribute.

We believe we are the first volunteer organisation to do this – are we wrong?

Here is an example Schools Support South Africa