Melaine Barlow (Tulane University )Volunteer At HEEALS
When an individual volunteers or group of volunteers
give their time to work for organizations or cause outside of their home
country. In most cases, volunteers work in developing countries on international
development programmes with local partners that address basic
needs such as education, health and sanitation. Trends show that international
volunteering has become increasingly popular across many countries over the
past few decades.
Melaine Barlow (Tulane University )Volunteer At HEEALS
When an individual volunteers or group of volunteers give their time to work for organizations or cause outside of their home country. In most cases, volunteers work in developing countries on international development programmes with local partners that address basic needs such as education, health and sanitation. Trends show that international volunteering has become increasingly popular across many countries over the past few decades.
overseas volunteering can be traced back over one hundred years to when the British Red Cross set up the Voluntary
Aid Detachment (VAD) scheme in 1909. The VAD volunteers, as well as
volunteers from many other national Red Cross organisations, worked in
battlefields across Europe and the Middle Eastduring World War I to treat soldiers
and civilians regardless of the side they fought for. Up to the mid-20th
century overseas volunteering projects were mainly undertaken by people with
direct connections to a particular cause and were considered more as short term
in nature. During the 1960s and 1970s a movement of volunteerism and study
abroad programs became popular among university students and graduates and the United Nations launched the UN Volunteers programme for young professionals to take part in a
long-term (2 year plus) overseas programme
recent years the accessibility of international volunteering has increased
significantly with many smaller charities connecting volunteers with
non-governmental organisations in developing countries. Travel companies have
also increasingly been offering paid volunteering opportunities; this growth
coincided with the increasing number of young people taking gap years and
has been termed volunteer tourism and voluntourism to
denote shorter-term voluntary work that is not necessarily the sole purpose of
volunteering and briefer voluntourism appeals
to a broad cross-section of society, but the majority of volunteers are in
their twenties and thirties, potentially due to perceptions of volunteering
abroad being a more risky activity.
average age of VSO volunteers however is 38 showing a broad range of
participation across age groups.Many participants use these trips to boost
their resumes, travel with friends, and as a way to gain world experience and
see new countries. Recently there has also been an increase in baby boomer volunteers.
One possible explanation for the increase is that baby boomers are transitioning
into a new stage of life and their focus may shift toward finding activities
that give their life new meaning. Shorter-term voluntourism is therefore
appealing to some, as it is targeted at travellers who want to make a positive
change in the world, while still providing a touristic experience.People
generally volunteer in order to increase their international awareness, to
contextualize poverty and its effects, as an education opportunity, and to help
people while having a morally rewarding experience. Many believe that the trip
will change the way they think when they return home. However, others are just
looking to give to others and do not believe that their experience will cause
them to think twice about their lives back home.
Outcomes of international volunteering
the outcomes of international volunteering is an ongoing challenge.
allow volunteers to integrate properly into the community, it is essential that
volunteers have some useful skills and are reasonably well-informed and trained
before the placement.
Costs In International volunteering
to the impact of international volunteering. It is generally help the local
organizations in project and they putting the funds in important issues.
Integration in the workplace
consideration is that volunteers may dominate the workplace, undermine local
management and work culture especially in small organisations. This is due to
volunteers often being considered more highly-educated than local staff, even
if they do not have direct experience. Coming from a different culture can also
lead to volunteers imposing their values on organisations
volunteers can have a strong influence on organisations especially those who
deal with governance and
management. However, volunteers are often trained to respect the working
culture and ethics. Also, since they report directly to local organisations,
they can have their contracts terminated if they break any local regulations
which further minimises the fear of domination.
Skills, experience and understanding of local context
volunteers come from outside the host community can lack an understanding of
the local context and sometimes may not have the correct skill-set to achieve
their project goal.
is often a vetting or selection process for volunteers before they are
recruited to serve in developing countries, however, this vetting has at times
been found wanting.
most international volunteers today receive significant training before and
often during their placement which can address this deficit.
Motivations of volunteers
volunteer for many reasons but seldom does anyone volunteer strictly for
compelling motives include experience of another culture, meeting new people or
the advancement of one’s career prospects. Such motivations are common among
younger volunteers who are looking for experience or direction in their careers.
common motivation is to “make a difference , and to "achieve something
positive for others".
are less fortunate than the volunteer. Many volunteers tend to concur that
there are disadvantaged people in their home countries, but the scale of
disadvantage outside their home countries is just too much. Volunteering at
home may elicit images of helping the less fortunate, or campaigning with a
local pressure group.
abroad has tended to be associated with international
development and bridging the divide between the rich and poor
worlds. Volunteering abroad often seems a more worthy contribution in this
context to the volunteers than work in their own country. This perspective is
particularly true of volunteers who are older and looking for something more
value-based as they near the end of their professional careers or after their
children have left home.
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