Pictured above: Code Signatories proudly hold up the new edition of the Comhlamh Code of Good Practice for Volunteer Sending Agencies at a recent peer review meeting.
To celebrate International Volunteer Day, this coming Saturday December 5th, Comhlámh are launching the newly revised 2015 Code of Good Practice for Volunteer Sending Agencies. It will be accompanied by a brief video animation explaining its importance which we’ll share via social media on Saturday itself!
The revision process was a collaborative effort by forty Irish development organisations. These organisations put their own best practice guidelines under review in an attempt to ensure that the values underpinning the European Year for Development are translated into policy.
This process significantly contributes to ensuring that the almost 2000 volunteers leaving Ireland for the Global South each year are volunteering in projects that are ethically based and make a real positive difference to the host communities.
The Comhlámh Code of Good Practice for volunteer sending agencies contains a set of principles that ensure Irish volunteer programmes are focussed on achieving the best outcomes for partner communities in the global south, Irish volunteers and are operationally and environmentally sustainable.
To celebrate this rigorous approach Comhlámh want to increase the awareness of the Code of Good Practice amongst the general public, we aim to share our video explaining the code across as many sectors and platforms as possible.
Philip Mudge the Volunteer Quality Programme Officer at Comhlamh said
“Anyone thinking of volunteering in the global south should ensure that the organisation they are volunteering with is signed up to the Code of Good Practice. Particularly for younger volunteers, their parents, schools and colleges the code provides protection and safeguarding for the volunteer and assurance that the programme actually has a positive impact on communities, families and individuals in the global south.”
The 2015 revised Code of Good Practice includes a number of important developments. The main changes that emerged from this revision process included a reorganisation of the principles of good practice into a lifecycle format and a greater focus on the importance of development education and continuous engagement.
This revised Code recognises the importance of the diversity of volunteers and how this diversity can add to volunteer programmes and projects. A new set of standards have been developed as a result of the review process. Two award standards have been decided upon, core indicator status and comprehensive compliance. These standards have been introduced to incentivise volunteer sending agencies to actively implement the indicators outlined within the Code.
Stephen Cassidy, Volunteer Programme Project Manager noted that:
“The Comhlamh Code of Good Practice for Volunteer Sending Agencies is a vital tool for ensuring our volunteer programme is in line with best practice and is as effective and responsible as possible. The review of the code is an important opportunity to keep the principles relevant and evolving to meet the changing demands of the sector, our volunteers, and the partners with which we work overseas.”
This International Volunteer Day we aim to increase the awareness of the Code of Good Practice because we believe that promoting responsible volunteering projects is key aspect to achieving sustainable outcomes.