The Volunteer Charter was been drawn up by Comhlámh, the Irish Association of Development Workers. Comhlámh has over 30 years’ experience of engaging with overseas volunteers and development workers. It was drawn up through extensive consultations with the three main groups involved in volunteer placements: volunteers, sending organisations, and host projects.
The Charter is a guide for people who are going to volunteer overseas in developing countries. It sets out seven principles that aim to encourage responsible, responsive international volunteering. Each of these principles contains a list of questions to help you make sure that you have thought about the issues raised, and to ensure that you know why they are important.
By agreeing to sign the Charter volunteers will be showing their support for the principles it sets out. As a volunteer, your attitude to your placement and to your host project and community will be crucial to the success of the work you will be involved with. Your support will help to ensure a spirit of partnership, solidarity and respect between you, your sending organisation, and the host project and community with which you volunteer.
A Code of Good Practice for Sending Organisations has also been developed. This sets out the responsibilities of organisations that arrange volunteer placements, including some of the steps they take to support the Volunteer Charter. Organisations that have signed up to the Code will be willing to provide copies of this Charter to volunteers, and to discuss the Code in exchange.