10 Reasons why we love Volunteering

10 Reasons why we love Volunteering

On International Volunteer Day, we decided to ask our own wonderful volunteers at Development in Action why they love volunteering. Here’s what some of them had to say: 

ceridwen_lewis

dali_ten_hove

dan_cumber

hannah_weston

isobel_wilson-cleary

Joe

josh_reece-moore

sidra_khalid

vanessa_cameron

rianna_kelly


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Volunteering Abroad: A Do or a Don’t?

Volunteering Abroad: A Do or a Don’t?

Volunteering internationally has been a rising trend for students and fresh graduates in  recent years. Our India Programme Officer Caroline Townsend offers some thoughts on steps to take before deciding to volunteer abroad. 

Thinking of volunteering overseas?

Here’s why you shouldn’t.

© Neon Tommy/ Creative Commons license
© Neon Tommy/ Creative Commons license

It was learning about the darker side to international volunteering which surprised me most when I attended the Tourism Concern International Volunteering Conference on Saturday 25th October. This conference aimed to debate the implications of international volunteering, ethical options and alternative local opportunities. Before the conference, I was sceptical of volunteering internationally as I felt most opportunities did not make a significant difference and concentrated instead on marketing and false promises. I found the conference very insightful. I am still sceptical but feel much more informed on how to responsibly volunteer abroad. Volunteering abroad can be very enriching for volunteers and beneficiaries if done well. At the conference I learnt the following handy tips when considering international volunteering:

  • Think about your motivations to volunteer. This can help you decide if international volunteering is right for you. There are plenty of reasons to volunteer (i.e. develop your CV, make new friends, see the world, learn about a new culture etc) but volunteering abroad is only one way of fulfilling these aspirations.
  • Do your research to find a scheme which makes a sustainable difference to the people you wish to help. Click here for detailed tips on how to do this. There are many schemes that cause more harm than good; just look at orphanage volunteering. Other schemes take away jobs from local people and do not give volunteers any sense of achievement or fulfillment.
  • Higher cost placements do not indicate quality. Many costlier placements mean higher profits for companies. Many lower cost placements can be more ethical and it’s really important to do your research to find out as much as possible about the organisation.
DiA Volunteers in India
DiA Volunteers in India
  • Get detailed and transparent information from the organisation about the costs and what it covers. Make a budget of the costs for the whole trip as you don’t want to run out of money while you’re away.
  • Not all roles are suitable for all volunteers. Good placements wouldn’t recruit unskilled volunteers into skilled roles. Be wary of schemes offering placements without a recruitment process as it means it isn’t a priority to them who they send out to help people. Additionally, the placement should offer relevant training and induction to their volunteers to ensure that they are fully supported.
  • Worthwhile volunteering is hard work and not a relaxing holiday as advertised by some travel operators. You should treat volunteering like a job as a good placement requires you to be reliable, flexible and hardworking. This gives you a much more enriching experience and a chance to grow.
  • If you’re mainly looking for a holiday/travelling and wish to support local peoples consider ethical travelling where a lot more of the money you spend goes directly to the communities you visit. Also, you might want to consider fundraising for a charity which supports people internationally, as they have the expertise and infrastructure to help.

Finally, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities at home as well. It is obviously much cheaper, gives you a chance to develop your CV and make friends. Additionally, many of these volunteering opportunities will increase your skills more than going abroad. You can find volunteering roles online on websites such as do-it and at your local volunteer centre. And remember, DiA is always looking for volunteers too. Good luck!


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Have an opinion on this or another topic? Why not write for our blog? Click here to find out more and get in touch.

NEW BLOG EDITORS- kicking off on Development Information Day

Welcome to the new blog!

We thought it would be fitting to introduce our new Blog Editors, Joe Corry-Roake and Sidra Khalid on Development Information Day, a day designed to “to draw the attention of world public opinion to development problems” through the use of new technologies such as the internet.  The Development in Action blog seeks to build on this idea every day of the year.

Over the next year we will be continuing with pieces by our great contributors, both new and old, on specific issues close to their hearts, opinion and comments on current affairs along with some short and thought-provoking content you can share with your friends.

We will also be hearing from our devoted international volunteers as they describe their experiences before, during and after their time in India. This is an excellent chance for anyone who is thinking of volunteering overseas to get an idea of the rewards and struggles that the experience can bring. Also, we will be bringing a brand new segment involving DiA’s work on development education workshops in English schools.

We want to thank the outgoing blog editors Louisa Jones and Richard Moran for all their wonderful work and for giving us the opportunity to continue and build upon their efforts.

If you are interested in contributing for the new DiA blog then please contact us at either j.corry-roake@developmentinaction.org or s.khalid@developmentinaction.org

Thank you very much!

 

 


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Volontourism: the dangers

DiA blogger Joe Corry-Roake comments on the dangers of volontourism.

As a new academic year starts there will be a wave of people beginning their gap years. For some it will be a chance to go on holiday, while others see it as an opportunity to gain skills which they are increasingly being told are integral to give them a chance in an ever more globalised, and therefore competitive, world. Many of them think volunteering in a developing country will help them also do good at the same time. Keep reading →


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Breaking into international development

International development is one of the toughest career paths out there. But worry no more – DiA Vice-Chair Jamie Pett is on hand to give you some top tips.

Trying to break into a career in international development? Don’t wait for a job to come to you; be proactive and positive. Here are six areas you can work on. Keep reading →


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Have an opinion on this or another topic? Why not write for our blog? Click here to find out more and get in touch.

The Kenya terrorism threat is not just for tourists

In light of the increasing terrorist threat from al-Shabab in Kenya, Emma Forrest assesses the dangers for Kenyans as well as British tourists and reflects on her time volunteering in the country.

Keep reading →


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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IVC Reflections

Our India Volunteer Co-ordinator (IVC) Joseph Bird reflects on his work and travels around India keeping up with DiA’s placements and finding links with other grassroots charities to extend the reach of DiA.

Keep reading →


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Joe’s Journeys

DiA’s India Volunteer Coordinator, Joe Bird, reflects on a summer of content, as he shares his experiences working in India in this blog post. His account includes trips to Udaipur, Pune and Pondicherry, where he visited DiA’s summer volunteers – all of whom have recently completed successful placements at their respective organisations.

Keep reading →


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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DiA Summer Volunteer Orientation: A Storming Success

Elephant blessings, monsoon thunderstorms and copious amounts of head wiggling – all in the space of one short week for DiA’s India Volunteer Co-ordinator Joe Bird, who sends this exclusive report on the recent summer volunteer orientation week in Pondicherry.

Keep reading →


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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St. Gonsalo Garcia Ashram

DiA’s Blog Editor Will Jones reflects on his time at St. Gonsalo Garcia Ashram in this digital story. Creating your own digital about your experiences in India is easier than you might think – all you need are a few fond memories and photos. Contact Will If you’re interested: will@developmentinaction.org


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Power in Pondi

Following her return from India, Development in Action’s Emily Wight reflects on the work of NGOs across Pondicherry, as they work to improve the lives of local children. You can read more about Emily’s experiences in India by logging on to her blog –

www.emilyinindia.tumblr.com

Keep reading →


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Informing Uninformed Migration

Indian youth typically face multiple pressures, both economic and social. Those in lower bracket of the age group 14 to 30 are particularly at risk, and consequently their ability to remain in the educational system is seriously comprised. Furthermore they migrate and become sexually active, exposing themselves to many risks for which they are often not prepared. DiA volunteer Frankie Rushton, discusses how the interventions of Seva Mandir help to stop this dangerous and uninformed migration.

Keep reading →


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Summer at St Gonsalo

John Law, DiA’s photographer of the year, shares a selection of his photos taken during his time as a volunteer at St Gonsalo Garcia Ashram during the summer of 2010. Situated forty miles north of Mumbai, the orphanage cares for over eighty boys aged between four and eighteen.

Keep reading →


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Have an opinion on this or another topic? Why not write for our blog? Click here to find out more and get in touch.