World volunteering joins the celebrations of The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and strengthens its commitment towards responsible tourism volunteering.
"The United Nations has designated this year as The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, and looks to raise awareness of the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers and the public, while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.
The goal is to promote tourism’s role in the following five key areas:
- Inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
- Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction.
- Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change.
- Cultural values, diversity and heritage.
- Mutual understanding, peace and security.”
At World Volunteering we celebrate this initiative and take the opportunity to strengthen our commitment towards responsible tourism and volunteering. We know what can be achieved through responsible travel and the power of volunteering and that is why we run responsible sustainable and impactful projects around the world.
Responsible travel is about travellers having a positive impact on the country they are visiting, its wildlife, environment and people. We provide opportunities to get closer to local cultures, learn about the people and the history of every place, while embracing diversity.
How do we support sustainable tourism for development?
- We develop our projects alongside community stakeholders, making sure we are meeting the needs of the host community. We won’t run a project unless the community not only wants us there, but actually has ownership of the project. Community buy-in is essential and we work and will continue working hand in hand with local tribal chiefs, community leaders, government departments, clinics and schools to ensure that the best possible impact is being made.
- We design and operate our volunteer travel experiences and opportunities in a way that gives the highest degree of long-term economic benefit to the host communities, whilst also maintaining and/or improving the environment. Our projects have long term goals in line with the communities we work in, and embrace sustainable best practice. We believe it is much more fruitful to give impoverished local communities a hand up rather than a hand out.
- We run and manage our own projects and have teams made up of trained and experienced people managing everything on the ground, employing local staff as coordinators and project support.
- All volunteers undergo a comprehensive induction program upon arrival to prepare them for project work, introducing them to the local landscape and culture and briefing them on safety. We also offer them 24 hour support on the ground.
- We also abide by a strict code of conduct and child protection policy and as part of our commitment to operating responsibly all our volunteers abide by our strictly controlled child protection policy and submit criminal record checks before arrival.
These are the bases that represent all of us at the World Volunteering family and it is something we have built our lives and our reputation around. And for all of these reasons we joyfully celebrate the UN’s initiative and confirm that we will keep working thoroughly and through careful sustainability planning at our volunteer project locations in order to increase the positive impact of our volunteers and operational practices on the social, cultural and physical environment within which our projects are based.