Here are some general hot tips on general volunteering.
So, you want to travel and maybe do some charity work along the way?
1. Please consider travelling with someone else – you will most likely be going to a country you may not have visited before and there is safety in numbers. We all like to think we are safe but there are various risks attached to travelling alone and minimizing risk to your personal safely is paramount.
2. Do a deep Google search of the charity and look at their website – make a note of how up to date the info on there is - next do a search on Facebook to find out as much as you can – also look on YouTube as sometimes they have videos of their work – if it is not up to date – question why!
3. They should be asking you for a CV and a Police check – if they don’t – be wary!
4. When asking questions, listen for hesitation or reluctance to answer your questions. If they simply want you to fill out an application form and are not interested in speaking with you about any queries – avoid!
5. Do your research into your chosen project and ask the following questions….
a) How much do I need to pay and where exactly does my money go? Ask how much goes on admin? If there is an unexplained amount – question it!
b) Who will be in charge on the ground?
c) Will I be with other volunteers?
d) What will my role be?
e) Ask for the contact details of 3/4 past volunteers so you can chat to them – this part is very important!!
f) What happens if something goes wrong?
g) If circumstances change on the project before I get there who will let me know?
h) Try to meet up with someone from the Charity before committing.
6. Make sure you have MediVac insurance in case of a medical emergency to get you home. Especially if it is in a remote area.
7. Visit your nurse to make sure you are up to date with all jabs needed for the various countries. Have a Tetanus jab if you are not already covered.
8. Take a torch, several pairs of medical gloves, Skin so Soft oil from Avon (mossie repellant), a Mossie net if you are unsure, and hand sanitizer – and USE it regularly!
9. Avoid using ATMs unless they are in very public areas and preferably be with someone you trust as you withdraw money – you are an immediate target.
10. Leave a copy of your passport with a relative. And have a photocopy of it somewhere else in your luggage.
11. Keep a small wallet with an expired Credit Card and a few US dollars in it to give up easily if you get threatened.
12. Check up on the Home Office website on line, just before you travel, to make sure all is well. (They post advice against travel to places if it is not safe to go)
13. Have a plan and let someone know your movements – arrange to check in with relatives with a one-liner SMS on a regular basis.
14. It would also be wise to get knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS – EBOLA – Pneumonia - TB – Cholera – Malaria – Dengue – Chikungunya, as these are all things you may well come across in your travels amongst other things.
15. With all these things in place… ENJOY YOUR EXPERIENCE!
I am happy to chat further with anyone who wants to about any part of this info: firstname.lastname@example.org