Our response to ethical responsible volunteer projects with animals and wildlife conservation and youth and community
After many years of working for a multinational volunteer organisation and finally establishing her own, our director saw areas that she felt could be improved on from her own personal experiences of working with volunteers on the ground and wanted to create a more all-inclusive experience for volunteers at an economical cost. So therefore, most of our projects include accommodation and food, airport collections and drop-offs, transport, donations to projects and lots of little extras to make your time in your destination of choice a truly all-round culturally immersed experience with great value for money. Flights, travel insurance, visas and money for shopping are your responsibility though.
We handle all your pre-departure administration, support and any queries you might have. As we pride ourselves on being very hands-on, that personal touch continues throughout the time you take part in your project and many of our volunteers have become friends for life returning years later. All our projects have been vetted for safety and security and our director has worked with the majority for over a decade. Our staff on the ground are available 24/7 in case of emergencies and for parents, we are happy to keep constant open channels of communication and updates as we know how worrying it can be for your child to volunteer in a foreign country.
The safety of our volunteers is extremely important and that is why we also try and offer as inclusive a project as possible as we have years of working with ethical third-party operators who we might contract for example for return airport transfers or extra accommodation.
We are also capable of customising large group itineraries to maximise experience and immerse participants in local cultures spreading assistance around to as many of our projects as possible while keeping costs to a minimum.
For those that cannot choose between wildlife & conservation projects over care & community, we can also tailor-make an itinerary to include both so that more hands-on help and experience can be spread around.
Youth and Community Projects
Volunteer International Adventures’s Youth and Community projects are committed to being responsible and working with – not projecting onto -local communities of which we have built a good relationship with through our founder’s active work with the local communities over the years. We believe in employing locals and giving support to locals, NPOS, schools, creches and other community-based organisations. We do not assume we know the needs of a community or organisation but rather communicate to see how we can best assist or fill the gap of the needs they might have.
Our projects are all vetted and our organisers on the ground have great open working relationships with the projects and their management.
Working with local communities have made us realise that projects also need to be self-sustainable for the long-term goal so when volunteers are not around, they must still be able to function. This is one of the reasons why we do not enforce our beliefs on communities but rather offer much needed assistance to lessen the work load and at the same time offer volunteers a chance to immersing themselves in local cultures for a far more meaningful experience and hopefully to act as future am
We aim to ensure responsible volunteering opportunities so:
- Volunteers are not there to take jobs away from locals. With this regard we also employ local staff. We also provide financial opportunities to locals in the area and try and support local small businesses as much as possible
- Volunteers give local staff and projects assistance with day-to-day operations often bringing new and fresh ideas and skills to improve the running of the project for the long term
- All volunteers receive an induction on their arrival which includes safety, site, cultural sensitivity and country knowledge
- Volunteer International Adventures carries our regular risk assessment on projects and constantly updates information thanks to project staff and volunteer feedback. This is then assessed to see if improvements can be made.
- All our Youth and Community projects receive a donation from Volunteer International Adventures on behalf of the volunteer that assisted at the project and for the length of time they are there to go towards running costs and the betterment of the children and community. This donation is not done in cash form for most of our projects but goes towards purchasing items off “wish lists” that the projects have. Again, we donate towards what the project needs; and not what WE assume they need. Communication is key.
- Any project where children or youth are involved, we insist on a criminal background clearance certificate from the volunteer’s country of origin before they can partake in the project. This is to protect the vulnerable children and youth the volunteer will be assisting with. It is imperative that children’s safety is never compromised. All volunteers are also screened to make sure that they are suitable for the project.
- The photos that we use for marketing purposes are taken by us and are there purely to depict the activities the volunteers will be involved in.
- Our primary areas are with education, youth development and community upliftment to enhance and enrich the areas we love helping in. We just love success stories
Animal and Wildlife Conservation Projects
When it comes to our animal and wildlife projects, we only work with ethical screened organisations working with animals. Whether it is working with free-roaming wildlife on reserves, wildlife rehabilitation or animal sanctuaries, we have a standard to adhere too to protect wildlife from exploitation and the animal’s needs must come first.
We aim to ensure responsible volunteering opportunities with wildlife so:
- None of our projects caring for predators trade, breed or take part in cub petting. We know that projects that offer this sort of experience often support the canned lion industry and trophy hunting which we are strictly against. If we get a hint that any of our projects are involved with that industry, we will instantly cut all ties with the project. Saying that, many of the predators at our sanctuary projects have been saved from the bullet and now have a chance of living out their natural lives in a safe and stimulated environment
- As with the previous point, we do not believe in breeding in captivity. If animals are in the rehabilitation stages and due to be released into the wild, that is unavoidable though.
- All volunteers that are working with wildlife are trained and strictly monitored. They will receive an induction including safety procedures of working with wildlife. This is often done on the ground practically
- Animals that are an exotic species, human-habituated, captive bred and/or injured in such a way that they will not be able to survive in the wild, are often not releasable and this is where our sanctuary projects are able to offer them a safe home for the rest of their natural lives.
- All our wildlife projects carry the proper legal conservation permits and are authorised to work with their respective wildlife and follow the legal requirements in place for the animals care
- Animal interactions are kept to a minimum and only under certain circumstances for the animals own needs for example when the animals are sedated for veterinary treatment or relocation, rescued babies that need care or those animals that are human conditioned through being ex-pets and are not able to be rehabilitated. These are done under strict supervision and must follow safety rules. None of our projects that have lions in sanctuary allow any hands-on contact. We also do not support any form of elephant back-riding
Feel free to email us and tell us a little about yourself or the group you would like to volunteer with-whether family, friends, schools or organisations- o n one of our ethical responsible volunteer projects and we can give you some project ideas of what might suit your needs.
Please email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp us on +27 60 958 3708