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Making A Difference? Third-Level Students Ask The Big Questions Ahead Of International Volunteer Day.

Pictured: UCDVO volunteers working on the construction of a basketbal court in Morogoro, Tanzania in July 2010. In advance of International Volunteer Day on the 5th December 2014, UCD Volunteers Overseas (UCDVO) and partner organisations are hosting a one-day conference on international volunteering. The conference aims to create critical discussion around current practice in the area and features several keynote international speakers on youth volunteering

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How Do We Tackle The Problems of Orphanage Tourism?

Shannette Budhai, Volunteering Quality Project Officer at Comhlámh recently returned from a trip in London organised by Save the Children. It was an honour and a privilege to be invited as a panellist and also as a participant to the ‘Better Volunteering, Better Care’ workshop. The workshop itself aimed to tackle the growing problem of ‘orphanage volunteering’. There have been a series of media

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We’ve Just Updated Our Coming Home Book!

Now in its 8th edition, Comhlámh’s updated Coming Home Book will shortly be available to help guide people through the highs and lows of returning from an overseas placement. We have been listening to the experiences of returning volunteers and development workers since 1975, and the ideas outlined in this book reflect their collective wisdom. Our members are often returning from an experience that

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We’re Building On Last Year’s Research Into Volunteering.

Comhlámh are currently carrying out a survey of volunteer sending agencies in Ireland building on previous research commissioned in 2012. The purpose of the annual survey is to collect comparable data each and every year on overseas volunteering to build a sound evidence base and discover trends in overseas volunteering from Ireland. Last year by examining data from 2012 submitted from volunteer sending across

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Child Safeguarding—What does it mean to you?

Shannette Budhai and Róisín Boyle from Comhlámh recently attended a four-day course in International Child Safeguarding. Shannette reflects on the training. Last week, over the course of four days, 13 people had the opportunity to attend a certified four-day course in international child safeguarding. The training was expertly delivered by Alex Dressler from Keeping Children Safe. This was a useful and practical training that

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We Just Met Several Start Up Volunteer Sending Agencies.

Shannette Budhai, Volunteering Quality Project Officer at Comhlámh reflects on yesterday’s meeting with several start-up volunteer sending agencies (VSAs). There was no need for introductions. The group—small but eager—organically formed and began talking amongst themselves, even before I set foot inside the room. As I made coffee and tea in our kitchenette, my attention was drawn towards the excited chatter in the room. There

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How Do We Overcome The Pitfalls Of Voluntourism and Encourage A Responsible Approach?

Comhlámh’s training and education office, Roisin Boyle, reflects on some of the pitfalls of voluntourism and how Comhlámh’s work on good practice encourages a responsible approach that focuses on the partnership between the sending agency, the volunteer, and the host community. Voluntourism, tourism (in which travellers do voluntary work to help communities or the environment in the places they are visiting) is currently flourishing

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Does Short Term Unskilled Volunteering Do More Harm Than Good?

Janet Horner attended a recent debate in NUIG about ‘voluntourism’. She argued against the motion ‘This house believes that short term unskilled volunteering in developing countries does more harm than good’. She lost gracefully to a large majority vote in favour of the motion but was encouraged to see so many students eager to engage in this important issue. Here, she shares some of

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Networked Women.

Inese Japina met up with Mary Quinlan – a founding member and the former Chair of Banúlacht. Banúlacht was a network of women working to promote awareness of the links between development issues that affect people locally and globally. They worked from a gender perspective which entailed analysing unequal effects of development on women and men. When and why was Banúlacht established? Banúlacht was established

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Sustaining Lifelong HIV Treatment in Namibia and Beyond.

Kate Mukungu worked in Namibia in 2002-2006. She describes this time as life-changing. Working in HIV and AIDS and experiencing Namibian life as a family and community member brought home the real impact of HIV and AIDS.  Here she talks about how reductions in international funding puts thousands of people at risk of losing out on their treatment. Namibia is one of four countries

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