” Volunteers can and do have a positive impact on the communities they serve.”

By Sallie Grayson. Filed in good and bad practice, volunteering in the news  |  
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“….The question is not whether you should volunteer, the question is;  who is matching the desire with the need?”

This is a question posed by Martin Stevenson who is publishing a book on line  about back packer travel and how it has developed ( not necessarily for the good) over recent times.

Martin has made the chapter he wrote on volunteer travel in Cambodia available free because he believes there are important issues to be addressed particularly by large sending agencies.


“When I was 17 I called Oxfam to ask how I could volunteer on one of their
projects during the summer holidays.
“What can you do?” asked the woman on the phone. “Are you a doctor? An
“Er, no. I’m doing my A levels.”
“Well we need professionals. People with skills.”
“Well, is there something else I can do, like…dig a well or build something?”
“We can give a local person a wage to do that. Call us back when you’ve finished
your degree.” With which she put the phone down. And rightly so. What use was
I to them? I had no skills, no training. I couldn’t teach anyone to ‘fish’, as it were.”

One of the local organisations Martin consulted was ConCert – our partenrs in Cambodia.

Its a thought provoking read – download his chapter on volunteer travel here


One Comment

  1. Comment by Nigel Pegler:

    I personally think that Martin`s book should be required reading for any first time volunteers! a lot of salient points well made. Nothing that I didn`t already know but how many first time volunteers know what damage they can do and where there money goes.
    Wouldn`t it be great if you could just give your time and money to an organisation and trust them to be honest and open, unfortunately the world doesn`t work like that and you HAVE to do your research first.

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