Archive for the 'volunteering in the news' Category

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!


A Happy Thanksgiving to all our American volunteers and supporters

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

You are simply the best! and we want to say thankyou



5 social networks every volunteer should follow

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Social networks can provide lots of really useful information for potential volunteers simplythebest

Here are our 5 favourites:

outbounding not just important discussions on volunteer travel -great travel articles and advise too.

pearltrees this is where Sallie stores all the links she finds about volunteer travel

better volunteering a page created by us but lots of great contributions from others

@VickySmith a masters in responsible travel – specialising in volunteer travel but lots of insight into travel generally

passenger shaming its funny and cringe rendering at the same time – we all travel … are we guilty?




5 blogs every volunteer should read

Friday, September 26th, 2014

We read lots of blogs during the course of our work – we encourage volunteers to do as much research as they can beforesimplythebest they travel.

Here are our top 5  FAVS ( as they say)

Kick Start Ghana  Ruth’s posts are an important read for all of us – whatever our age

Lessons I learned  Daniela shares her journey – from volunteering to development work – and what she has learnt along the way

How matters written by an international aid worker that has worked with many grass roots organisations -

Go Overseas varied and interesting post on travel and often volunteer travel  passionate about community-driven development

Do you have favourites that we should add to our list?



Fake Britain … fake orphanages …

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

It wasn’t a lie … honest! We’d been misinformed …




So I apologise to everyone who tuned in to Fake Britain last night …

but I’ve found the original programme about the minefield of ‘orphanage volunteering’ – here’s a link:

BBC ‘Fake Britain’ – investigates orphanage volunteering – 7pm UK time

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Orphanage volunteering … an ever-popular “hit” with many would-be volunteers wanting to ‘work with children’ …

orphanages not the solution

orphanages not the solution


This programme was first aired in May of this year – and for anyone who missed it the first time around – PLEASE try and watch tonight’s repeat at 7.30 p.m. UK time.

We’ve blogged about the issues of child protection, orphanage volunteering, fake orphanages many times … but it is SO IMPORTANT that we’re also repeating ourselves!

To read more about these closely-linked issues, click here


BUT what are we doing to make volunteer travel better?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Here at people and places we love this travel writing site. Sallie has just made this sallie headshotSMALLcontribution

BUT what are we doing to make volunteer travel better? 

You know when you have an idea – and you realise it wasn’t such a great idea….and you still don’t let go?

My idea – to write about the positive developments in volunteer travel (call it voluntourism if you must but in my book they are two very different experiences).

Normally I write about bad practice - I thought it would be good to write a good news piece for a change – little did I realise how hard it would be. The only way I have been able to write this piece is with a number of big fat BUTs.

So here we go – and let me start by saying that I firmly believe that a well prepared, screened, skilled volunteer can make a positive impact.

I have spent nearly 10 years campaigning for better experiences for volunteers and the communities they seek to serve. I am not a natural campaigner but I found myself involved in an industry bedevilled by bad practice (that’s a whole other story), so “if not me then who?”

Those ten years have been a real roller-coaster – I have seen the best of people and, boy, have I seen the worst of people. So time to take stock. I have no idea whether any of my campaigning has been effective, but I do know that the campaign has been effective, somewhat…

So I want to celebrate the steps forward (some impressive, some tiny) that I have seen in the past 10 years.

I hate lists but everyone tells me people read lists and I would quite like you to learn more about the steps forward we have taken so …a list it shall be.

Read the whole article here

“orphanages … part of the well-trodden tourist trail” says BBC’s Fake Britain

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

well-meaning holiday-makers [and volunteers] are being conned and are fuelling a dark industry of fake orphanages and orphans”

watch the report, from about 35 minutes into the programme click here to watch 

people and places‘ Kate Stefanko speaks out during the Fake Britain expose about volunteers naively contributing to the abuse of it here


“a need for more orphans … so where are they coming from?”


“visiting orphanages and making a donation has become part of the well-trodden tourist trail … ”


“well-meaning holiday-makers are being conned and are fuelling a dark industry of fake orphanages and orphans”


“Expensive voluntourism trips the ‘least responsible’” – Telegraph

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Our first ever campaign for better and more responsible volunteering was through encouraging all volunteers to ask lots of questions. Gradually, more and more volunteers are doing their research well, and using our “questions to ask .

It’s good to see our questions quoted in The Telegraph yesterday – along with excellent research from Vicky Smith of Leeds Met and comment by Justin Francis of

children are not tourist attractions

children are not tourist attractions



Have a read – it’s an interesting article!

volunteering is really effective when it’s done well – we are cheesed off with the “bad” news!

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Kate writes:

You’ve probably noticed a lot of media coverage about volunteering (or ‘voluntourism’) in recent months … and the vast majority of such coverage takes a decidedly negative or sensationalist slant and concentrates on everything that’s wrong with volunteering …

Well – here at people and places, we’re getting a bit cheesed off  with all the ‘bad news’ coverage and want to reaffirm that when volunteering is done well, it can actually be GOOD NEWS … for volunteers and for local people.

sharing marketing ideas

sharing marketing ideas

(Years ago, when my children were young, there was a marvellous show on children’s television called “Gran’s Good News” where the eponymous elderly newsreader told interesting stories with a positive slant and the feel-good factor was strong … we hope our newsletter achieves much the same!)

We are genuinely proud of our straight-forward and honest approach, and our ethical and responsible way of working … and we know from experience that well-prepared and well-matched volunteers CAN and DO make for effective skills-share.