Monday, 8 June 2015

International volunteering

International volunteering

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.


Formal 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

Voluntourism .


In 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 the trip.

Volunteer base


International 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.
The 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

Measuring the outcomes of international volunteering is an ongoing challenge.
To 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

Related 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

A 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
Indeed 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


International 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.
There 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.
 However, most international volunteers today receive significant training before and often during their placement which can address this deficit.

Motivations of volunteers

People volunteer for many reasons but seldom does anyone volunteer strictly for monetary reasons.
More 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.
A common motivation is to “make a difference , and to "achieve something positive for others".
who 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.
Volunteering 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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By Gaurav

Source :Wikipedia

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