Archive for the 'media' Category

TV reports on volunteer input for Saint Lucia National Trust

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

WOW – just goes to show what well-prepared and well-matched volunteers can achieve in just a few weeks !

Towards the end of his time in Saint Lucia, volunteer Kevin – who has experience in business and consultancy- talks about the results of his work with the Saint Lucia National Trust – identifying historic buildings at risk, and helping to develop plans for local government departments and NGOs to formulate ways in which the nation’s historic cultural heritage can be preserved.

Kevin’s business and consultancy experience have been well-used !

Watch theTV reports here … and … here  … and read more about the project here.

the old presbytery in Anse-le-Raye

the old presbytery in Anse-le-Raye

Your project needs YOU !

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

 

YOUR PROJECT NEEDS YOU

The Lord Kitchener poster is in my mind when I paraphrase slightly and say: “YOUR PROJECT NEEDS YOU”  … to tell your story and help us find more volunteers to continue your work.

I know that many of you already do this through giving talks and presentations to school groups, church groups, clubs and associations of work colleagues … for which we also thank you.

But here’s a thought:

How about approaching the local media – newspaper, magazine, TV station … They are always looking for interesting local news stories – and what could be better than your own story? Why did you decide to volunteer overseas with people and places? Where did you go? What did you do? How did you share your own skills and experience with local people and projects? What were the challenges and what were the rewards?

You no doubt have loads of photos of your volunteer experience – and we know how the media loves a good photo!

If you would like our help with additional information and photos of your project, please let us know! We’ll be pleased to help you to help your project.

Volunteering in the news

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

A few articles and programmes we would like to draw to your attention – they’re well worth taking the time to check them out:

1. Undercover World Channel 4 investigates orphanage tourism including volunteering watch it here

2. Martin Stevenson talks eloquently and amusingly about the challenges of finding an ethical volunteer programme – listen here

3. Shanty Tourism – you can do it in comfort now apparently – read a critique here

4. Follow all the latest volunteer  news positive and negative here

5. Excellent articles about orphanage volunteering & alternatives  from UK charity Tourism Concern read them here

6. Progress and Failures in Voluntourism 

So what do you think? We’d love to know, so please share your thoughts and post your comments!

 

We won!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 8th, 2013

5. Best for Responsible Tourism Campaigning – sponsored by the _SJH6517_c0dd8Caribbean Tourism Association

 

Winner: people and places, UK – www.travel-peopleandplaces.co.uk/

 read the full story here 

Judges’ reasons for winning: “Highly commended in 2007 in the Best Volunteering category, they won this same category in 2009. The judges were impressed by their campaign for responsible volunteering; they have also been active in campaigning for child protection whilst running their small business. Their campaign has been funded entirely through their business. Making extensive use of the social media the two directors have given their time freely to fight for change. Over the last few years, practice in volunteering has improved, although there is still much to be done – people and places have been at the heart of that movement to raise awareness and demand action, working with many partners in the UK and abroad”.

Sallie has a rant – prompted by Guardian article

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Most of our volunteers are way to busy to indulge in ( waste time with!) FaceBook so heres a copy of Sallie’s recent rant prompted by a Guardian article  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/05/100-top-things-dont-need

agree with Annie Bennet  dont pay to swim withdolphins – they will let you know if they want to swim with you -

my contribution to 100 things you should not do
1. Volunteer with vulnerable children – unless you have appropriate skills.
2. Visit an orphanage for a couple of hours. EVER! I mean EVER!
3. build a school – unless you also commit to supporting local teaching staff once school is open
4. build an orphanage – there are plenty – support a community initiative supporting economically poor families instead
5. volunteer with any organisation that asks for your credit card details before they ask about your skills
6.go thru a bad volunteer experience and not report it and name and shame – otherwise others will experience same disappointments as you
7.believe that “volunteering” for a couple of hours or days in a culture that  is not your own can achieve anything meaningful
8. believe marketing that tells you you are going to change the world – you may – but the chances are a gazillion-gazillion to one
9. sponsor children – its fraught with dangers – someone somewhere is lying to someone!
10.drop into a project and volunteer – “they should welcome me Im offering my time for free” – how do you know the project is sound – how does the project know you are sound –  without a dialogue?
11 teach without appropriate qualifications – who the feck told you ,you could teach -

there I feel much better now…..so what are your DO NOT DOs

“Putting responsibility back into responsible volunteering” by Kathryn Burrington

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

“I was really delighted when I heard that The Gambia Experience were teaming up with the award-winning

Dianne with a  school principal

Dianne with a school principal

volunteer organisation, people and places. The day before my last trip to The Gambia I met up with Sallie, Katie and Diane from people and places and I was really impressed, not just with what they do, but also with the way they do it.

Why volunteer with people and places?

As a volunteer organisation they take their responsibilities to both the local community and the volunteer very seriously, ensuring that both benefit from the experience. The volunteers always work alongside the community and never instead of. The volunteering is all about exchanging skills. For example, volunteer teachers always work alongside a local teacher and if the local teacher doesn’t turn up for a few days they are under strict instructions not to work until they return. This ensures that the school hasn’t dismissed the teacher thinking that the volunteer will do the work. responsible volunteering Its all too easy for a volunteer to do what they think a community needs rather than what the community actually needs. The host community is too polite to say ‘no’ and will say ‘yes’ to any suggestion, irrespective of whether they actually think it will be useful. Not so with people and places who always consult fully with the community on possible projects, finding out what the community thinks it actually needs help with. In each country people and places work in they have a local partner, chosen in part because they have an understanding of the volunteer’s cultural background as well as that of the host community. This ensures that they will understand what preconceptions and concerns the volunteer may have. In The Gambia the local partner is a well-known sustainable tourism expert Adama Bah. Both he, and his assistant Lamin, have studied in England so are familiar with our culture. (more…)

volunteering in orphanages – what do I need to know?

Monday, July 29th, 2013

This was a question I was asked right at the end of last year by a friend and colleague in responsible travel

Given the recent announcement by responsible travel.com that they are to suspend offering orphanage volunteer trips   I thought Id publish my reply -

what do you think what have I missed?

Dear…………

These are my immediate questions…and the fisrt questions I ask when doing due diligence on our childcare projects

1. Is the orphanage properly registered and operating under local law

2. How are the chidren “selected” in the orphanage/home? They need to come thru credible government or NGO agancies.

3.What working relationship do the homes have with outside experts and ngos – ie child abuse counselling – occupational therapy etc – if these are available.

3.What efforts are made to get the children back to thier own families if atall possible

4. What happens to the children once they are no longer children???

4.I note that the organization you mention offers two different “volunteer “opportunities – short missions and longer term placements.It is not clear what is done during either of these placements. I would be very concerned if the volunteers on the short missions have  close engagement with the children? The copy certainly suggests that there is a guarentee that the volunteers will be able to “hold ” the children.

Is there skills transfer in the longer term placements – do the volunteers work with or instead of local people? What is the long term goal of the volunteer programme

5. What are the screening procedures for volunteers and have risk assessments been done.I can see no requirement for criminal record checks for example

6 What are the rules about staff/volunteer ratios – how often are there groups of volunteers  at the homes? Children should not be paraded .

6. Do they have child protection policies that the volunteers are briefed on and made to commit to in advance

7. What systems are in place to prepare -brief and  support in situ and debrief the  volunteers and the local staff.

I do not know this organisation but as I say any organisation that encourages short term engagement with vulnerable children worries me!

To read people and places child protection policy take a look here 

volunteer in an orphange? not with responsibletravel.com

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Many of you will know that we at people and places have some concerns for some time about the integrity of  many volunteer programmes in orphanages – we have been campaigning for some time through the better child protection and better volunteering pages on FaceBook as well as here on this blog – we tweet about it a lot too!.

So we are thrilled to share the news with you that responsibletravel.com has exercised real leadership and removed ALL volunteer trips to orphanages from its site until they have worked with industry leaders to develop best practice guidelines and criteria for the child-focused volunteer trips they offer.We look forward to working with them on those criteria.

BRAVO responsibletravel.com

here is the statement on their blog

please do promote it.

” responsibletravel.com have been finding the issue of voluntourism trips to orphanages around the world of increasing concern.

After a lot of thought, research and consultation we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily remove all volunteering trips to orphanages from responsibletravel.com. This is a total of ten trips from 6 operators. We will not be taking on any new ones for the time being.

The removal of trips is a temporary measure, whilst, over the coming weeks we work with industry leaders to develop best practice guidelines and criteria for the child-focussed volunteer trips we offer via responsibletravel.com.

We want to ensure we only market volunteer trips that we have 100% trust in and that, as a community of responsible operators, we are leading the way and raising standards around best practice in this industry. We hope that by being independently created, the new criteria will help sustain the exemplary operators while removing those that may potentially tarnish the sector. (more…)

An ice blue ford anglia – Phili cheese steak sandwiches and responsible volunteering!

Friday, July 26th, 2013
 This was a fun interview to do –  first published on travelbuzz read it here
Sallie Grayson

Sallie Grayson

What was your first travel experience?

I’ve travelled all my life. My father was in the Royal Airforce – my first memory of “travelling” was a family journey in a pale blue Ford Anglia with my family. We drove up from our home on the coast to the mountains in Cyprus. I couldnt get over being warm in the sea and in snow all in the same day – it was 1960 and I was 6.

Where in you opinion is the best place to spend a summer holiday?

Meeting interesting people somewhere warm.

Describe a travel experience that changed your life.

At the beginning of this century I travelled to volunteer in The Gambia – there I met Prof. Harold Goodwin – and we spent a lot of time comparing how poorly served volunteers and communities were by many traditional sending organisations. We thought first that we would go to the press and name and shame – we realised that would be very short lived – so – people and places – was born.
people and places works with communities to identify the skills they need to help them build the future they want for themselves – we then go out, recruit and prepare skilled & experienced volunteers to work with them. I am so lucky – I love my work. I work with and meet some inspirational people all over the world.

What country’s stamp do you most want to add to your passport?

The next country we’ll be working in – wherever that may be.

What was your best meal while traveling?

Oooh too tough – the chicken I shared in Tachdirt – a Berber village in Morocco, the crayfish I ate in Durban, MoMos in Kathmandu, lamb kebabs on a tiny beach in Greece… and Philly Cheesesteak in Philadelphia.

“Volunteer overseas without giving up your creature comforts”

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Travel photographer and writer, Kathryn Burrington took an opportunity on a recent trip toP1000051 The Gambia to meet some of the people we work with and  also volunteer Anke who was working on the Wealth Creation volunteer project. A week previously Kathryn and Sallie had met up for the first time – having been twitter friends for ages!

“When most people think of volunteering abroad they imagine having to stay in very basic accommodation or perhaps living with a local family where they can really get to know the culture and this in itself is part of the attraction. In the past it was taken for granted that volunteering had to involve some kind of deprivation on the part of the volunteer but the award-winning company People and Places take a very different approach.

“Some of our volunteers choose projects where the only available accommodation is a tent, but many more have a range of options and can choose to live with local families or in a locally owned guesthouse or hotel. We believe that effective and responsible volunteering is all about skills transfer – working with local people to help them build the future they want for themselves – and if volunteers are comfortable with their surroundings, they can achieve far more!” says Sallie Grayson, Programme Director, People and Places “

Kathryn writes

“I was really impressed not just with what People and Places do but also with the way they do it. Volunteer tourism has a got a rather bad name for itself and I’ve heard a few horror stories such as instances where local teachers have been dismissed because the school knew that a volunteer teacher was coming or where volunteers have turned up at a community who didn’t know they were even coming.

People and Places take their responsibilities to both the local community and the volunteer very seriously, ensuring that both benefit from the experience. The volunteers always work alongside the community and never instead of. The volunteering is all about exchanging skills.  For example, volunteer teachers always work alongside a local teacher and if the local teacher doesn’t turn up for a few days they are under strict instructions not to work until they return. That ensures that the teacher is not being lazy and thinking they can have some time off. It is also a way of checking that the school hasn’t dismissed the teacher thinking that the volunteer will do the work.

So often, in other organisations, the volunteer does what they think a community needs rather than what the community actually needs and the host community is too polite to say ‘no’ and will say ‘yes’ to any suggestion, irrespective of whether they actually think it will be useful.”

Thanks Kathryn for a great article – and its is SO true – volunteers do not have to rough it  - the most important thing is that they share tei r skills –  read the full article here