I’ll say it again Caveat Emptor! How can you check out volunteer programmes

By Sallie Grayson. Filed in Uncategorized  |  
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We at people and places are not great believers in codes of practice and kite marks – in my experience they are either prohibitively costly to police or meaningless and become too easily adopted by the “smoke and mirrors” charlatans.

That’s why  people and places opted for an independent audit – learn more about it here – simple –  someone independent came in and checked our promises and claims against the reality.

So why I hear you ask  (well those of you in the know anyway) did we participate in the research for a code of practice by the International Ecotourism Society (TIES)?

For me it was simple – if we don’t participate we don’t have a voice – and Harold Kate and I started people and places to campaign for responsible volunteering. The jury is still very much out for me  – TIES have not developed a code yet – they have just completed the research – who knows – never say never –  TIES may come up with a workable code. They did at least start from a consultative base.

And Kudos to them – the research is available publicly and we have been encouraged to share it – so here it is.…so I wait to see what the next step will be. powerful tool or toothless whitewash?

4 Comments

  1. Comment by Ron Mader:

    Can you share some of the background about the consultive approach? I’m curious about the form that it took. Was this a survey, an online dialogue, a skype call?

  2. Comment by Sallie:

    Hi Ron, take a look at http://tinyurl.com/3zfzz6v where TIES answer the questions you pose themselves. My take? This is a genuine attempt to produce a code but not all the right people are not being consulted – yet – and alsi there is a danger that some of the more complex issues may be over simplifired in order to get quorum – always a risk – and i would have liked to have seen a forum for people to be able to comment. My understanding is that the next step is for the stakeholders in TIES to create a working party to finalise a code.
    Me? the jury is still very firmly OUT – but there could be some good from this – if only for the TIES membership.

  3. Comment by sallie:

    the debate is hotting up on codes of practice for volunteer organisations take a look at http://voluntourismgal.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/tourism-concern-launches-certification-for-voluntourism-organizations/#comments – I heartily agree with Randy’s comment and this is what i had to say

    i have not been backwards in coming forwards to say that we at people and places just can’t get out head around certification and codes of conduct – i have received much flack from those that believe in initiatives such as tourism concerns – but i have also served as an advisor during the research stage of a proposed development of a code by TIES – this is not fence sitting – I do not believe a code will work – but a lot of people do – and sometimes you gotta be on the inside to convince others your argument is valid.
    I believe in the power of the consumer – in voluntourism – volunteering thats the community -the projects and the volunteers – lets give them the tools to make informed decisions – for me I like the independent audit approach – but its got to be thorough – take a look at http://tinyurl.com/3fbzgpl what do you think?
    And finally – yet again Randy is right – and if it is true that you have not registered with the information commissioner Tourism Concern – shame on you!

  4. Comment by sallie:

    tourism concern respond to questions re proposed code of conduct for volunteer organisations http://tinyurl.com/43jxlge

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