Learning Service offers a powerful new approach that invites volunteers to learn from host communities before trying to ‘help’ them. It’s also a thoughtful critique of the sinister side of volunteer travel; a guide for turning good intentions into effective results; and essential advice on how to make the most of your experience.
A must read for anyone considering volunteer tourism.Elizabeth Becker
A manifesto for doing good well, this is an indispensable book for anyone volunteering overseas.Noam Chomsky
This is recommended reading for all those considering volunteering in a developing country.Philip Goodwin
The pedagogy of Learning Service is foundational to responsible travel.Reed Harwood
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This year, over ten million people will go abroad, eager to find the perfect blend of adventure and altruism. Volunteer travel can help you find your place in the world–and find out what you’re made of. So why do so many international volunteer programs fail to make an impact? Why do some do more harm than good?
International volunteering has grown in popularity, and with so many people going abroad to “serve”, we worry that we are often forgetting a really important step: we have to learn before we can help. If we don’t research our options thoroughly, understand the context and culture of the communities we visit, and ensure that our skills and experience match the needs, volunteering can be wasteful, and at worst, cause a lot of harm.
We are promoting a movement of learning, designed to better prepare young people about to travel abroad for the first time, and travellers of all ages looking to give back through their time, with the skills and mindsets they need to be of “service”, not just for a few weeks on a volunteer trip, but for the rest of their lives.
From Our Blog
This is a guest post from Ruth Powell from Comhlámh, an Irish network that advises and supports hundreds of volunteers and hosting organisations that are based in Ireland. Every year more than 2000 people volunteer from Ireland to other countries around the world....read more
Last week we posted a blog entitled 5 Things an Effective International Volunteer Does. A few people got back to us and pointed out that “being effective” is not just about choosing the actions and behavior to increase our impact, but also about avoiding actions and...read more
Volunteering abroad is often portrayed as something anyone with a big heart and bit of time on their hands can get involved in. However volunteering effectively – that is, having the intended impact on a cause and avoiding any negative impacts – is tricky. In fact, no...read more