Section 3 – Role of the Volunteer

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Aim

To explore the role of the volunteer in development

 

Learning outcomes

 

  • Knowledge of how volunteering can affect a community
  • Develop a critical perspective on the motivations for volunteering
  • Awareness of the importance and relevance of the volunteer charter

 

Background

People all have different motivations for volunteering overseas and we need to respect this. We all come from different places; have different views of the world and as a result, we all make a unique contribution based on our life experience.

Motivations can influence expectations, both positively and negatively. If our motive is to develop new skills but the volunteer programme doesn’t have activities that will help you to do this, your expectations are not likely to be met and your experience may be negatively affected. On the other hand, the programme may have ample opportunity for you to

 

 


 

“At the heart of volunteerism are the ideals of service and solidarity and the belief that together we can make the world better” – Kofi Annan

 

 


 

Resources

 

Your motive is to develop new skills but the volunteer programme doesn’t have activities that will help you to do this, your expectations are not likely to be met and your experience may be negatively affected. On the other hand, the programme may have ample opportunity for you to develop your skills above and beyond your initial expectations.

 


Activity 1 – Motivations


For this activity you will need Appendix 1 (Motivations sheet) & Appendix 2 (Role cards)

 

Step 1

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Step 2

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Step 3

 

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Activity 2 – I just want to help…

 

Step 1

 

 

Watch the video (or if time is short, read appendix 6) “Cambodia Orphan Tourism”. Reflect on the situation and think about what contribution to development the various people are making: is it positive, negative, both?

 

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Step 2


Comhlámh have compiled a list of testimonies from former volunteers, accompanied by a video.

 

Take a look and compare your own motivations and expectations with those of the former volunteers.

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Activity 3 – Volunteer Charter

The Volunteer Charter is a guide for people who are thinking of volunteering overseas. It was created by Comhlámh in consultation with host projects, volunteers & sending organisations.

It sets out seven principles that aim to encourage responsible and responsive international volunteering. It provides a list of questions to help you think about issues and to know why they are important.

The Volunteer Charter is available online for free.

Why should you support the Charter?

  • To ensure a spirit of partnership, solidarity and respect between you, your sending organisation, and the host project and community with which you volunteer.
  • You will be better informed and equipped and have realistic expectations
  • More positive experience for you and the Host Project/Community
  • Help future volunteers

 

Step 1

 

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