What is ethical volunteering?
Volunteering overseas is a wonderful way to explore other part of the world, meet new people, learn new things, culture, languages and have adventurous experiences as well. It is now possible to find many organizations working for volunteer abroad projects. But all these projects worth your time and money? Are you investing for a good cause or to harm? This article is concerned with all questions to explain about ethical volunteering and way to find good volunteering project opportunity waiting for you out there. To get the most out of volunteering abroad you need to choose who you go with and what you do wisely. Meanwhile, there are awesome projects to take part in, there are also those that are poorly organized and exploit both hosts' and volunteers' expectations.
Ethical volunteering involves two aspects; volunteering with good intentions without focusing for personal growth and, picking the right volunteer abroad program and organization that does not bring about any harm to the community it works for. Most volunteer organizations need volunteers with specific skill set and place them according to their talent and passion. Those who allow volunteer without any qualification to work may not have best interest for the community they are working for.
How to be an ethical volunteer abroad?
Adopting a learning mindset before volunteering abroad
Putting all your time and effort cannot create positive impact on the lives of people unless you learn their life. So before volunteering you should keep in mind that your volunteering effort can only be effective when you understand their life, problems they are facing and causes of those issues. This understanding gives you valuable knowledge and makes you an understanding volunteer.
Considering your own skill and qualification
You can make volunteering program effective by considering your own skill set and qualification you have. This allows you to figure out the best volunteer program that suits you. Though it is not necessary to have specific qualification to volunteer, you can help people with some skills you've got. For example, you may be from medical background and could be a great help in healthcare volunteer abroad projects. You might want to volunteer in a teaching program if you are good at languages and creative arts like drawing, music, singing and so on.
Considering sustainability of volunteering program, you work for
The most important aspect of volunteering program is if it is sustainable or not. Whether the time and effort you put all through the program can have positive impact in long term or not is the most concerned question while volunteering abroad. You must ask yourself if local community can sustain a better way of living even after the project completion. If they are forever dependent then there is no point of putting your effort. Do not choose a project if your presence there is going to take away a job opportunity from a local, as that defeats the whole purpose of being a volunteer abroad. Think how you can utilize your skills to train the locals so that after you leave they are inspired to take initiation to make a change on their own. This empowers them and eliminates dependency on volunteers.
Make a comprehensive research on ethical volunteer programs
The following websites are good place to begin your research for ethical volunteer programs.
- ACCI Child Protection on Short Term Missions Manual
- Australian Travel Advice
- Better Volunteering Better Care
- British travel advice
- Danish Embassy statement on orphanage volunteering
- French travel advice
- Orphanages Not the Solution
- Swiss travel advice
- The ChildSafe Network
- Tourism Concern
- United States of America travel advice
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