GIVS Volunteering Standards Group
Tourism Concern's GIVS Volunteering Standards Group seeks to ensure that volunteering is a force for good by collaborating with ethical and responsible international volunteering organisations who are passionate about maximising the positive developmental outcomes of volunteering, whilst also working to minimise potential negative impacts.
With volunteering overseas on development projects rapidly growing in popularity and increasing numbers of adventure tour operators offering ‘voluntourism’ packages, serious questions have arisen about how some such projects are managed and how the benefits are being shared. It is also a challenge for prospective volunteers to identify organisations that embrace best practice.
The vision of the GIVS Volunteering Standards Group
We aim to promote best practice in international volunteering, to maximise the beneficial developmental impacts in the communities where volunteering takes place, minimise the negative impacts, and to ensure volunteers have a worthwhile experience.
The aims of the GIVS Volunteering Standards Group
- We aim to achieve our vision through continual improvement in member organisations’ business practice, including using GIVS principles as guidance.
- We aim to develop and improve the GIVS standard and to establish practical ways of measuring compliance with its principles.
- We will collaborate with members to collect and publicise personal stories, which demonstrate the benefits to communities of compliance with GIVS principles.
- We seek to be inclusive in order to maximise the influence on the volunteering sector, but to be clear about members’ responsibilities and to exclude from membership organisations that fail to comply with agreed guidelines.
- We will seek to identify measurable improvements as a result of the changes implemented by member organisations, particularly in impacts within the communities in which they operate.
- Members will not behave in such a way as to compromise the reputation of Tourism Concern, or have any negative impact on Tourism Concern's core activities.
- Every new member will be assessed under the GIVS standard as part of the membership fee. This will take approximately half a day and take the form of a consultation, using an assessment form which will be sent in advance. This is a shared exploration of what compliance with GIVS might mean for your organisation. It is not an audit.
- Be part of an influential group pushing forward the responsible volunteering agenda.
- Profile your organisation on our website and within our monthly e-newsletter; reaching thousands of people who are interested in ethical tourism and volunteering.
- Display the GIVS logo on your website and leaflets.
- Attend quarterly meetings addressing current thinking on critical issues, with occasional guest speakers from both inside and outside the industry.
- Receive updates on Tourism Concern news and campaigns and ways to get involved.
- Attend informal networking events to share experiences and exchange views.
- Benefit from training specifically designed for volunteering organisations.
For more information about GIVS or to register your interest, email Peter Bishop at Peter@tourismconcern.org.uk
Dr. Kate Simpson of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne has written a handy guide to help you learn about the quality and value of the projects or placements an organisation offers before you arrive in the country. Download a copy of the guide here.
Tourism Concern is grateful for the support of Comhlámh, whose own code of conduct guided the development of Tourism Concern's international volunteering code.
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