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International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) is a volunteer travel company based in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Established in July 2007, IVHQ has grown to become the world’s leading volunteer travel companies, working in over 25 countries around the world and placing thousands of volunteers abroad every year.
Statement of Intent
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) aims to provide volunteer travelers with safe, responsible and highly affordable volunteer programs abroad. In addition to providing aid and assistance to the countries in which IVHQ offers volunteer programs, IVHQ endeavors to increase education and heighten awareness through not only the skills and expertise taken by volunteers to their host communities and institutions, but also through the experiences and lessons volunteers will in turn take back to their own countries and cultures.
- Make safe, quality and responsible international volunteer travel genuinely affordable.
- Provide assistance to local communities and organizations through providing short-term international volunteers throughout the year.
- Heighten awareness of issues in developing countries through first-hand volunteer travel experiences.
- Provide authentic international volunteer travel experiences, achieved by living and working with local people, communities, organizations and families.
- Educate both local people (through interactions with international volunteers) and volunteers (through volunteer travel experiences and interactions with local people).
- Provide the opportunity for volunteers to experience different cultures and international travel affordably, whilst making a responsible difference.
International Volunteer HQ provides affordable volunteer programs by partnering with organizations based in the countries in which volunteers wish to work. This is extremely effective for a number of reasons:
- Local organizations are in the best position to see where volunteers are genuinely needed. The staff in these organizations are locals, they have been raised in the area and know it inside and out. They can speak the local language; they know the local people and are in the best position to provide guidance, safe supervision and support to volunteers.
- Partnering with local organizations reduces the costs associated with hosting volunteers, making programs more affordable for volunteers. This means more people are able to volunteer, resulting in higher volunteer numbers, which means more is achieved.
- The Program Fee volunteers pay to join an IVHQ program goes to IVHQ's partner organization. This fee is necessary to pay for volunteer airport pickup, orientation, accommodation, meals and in-country staff support, amongst other things. It is better that the money goes to the local community and helps develop the community that volunteers are working in, rather than getting stuck in a Western country.
One of the major strengths of IVHQ is our careful selection process in choosing our partner organizations and the high quality volunteer programs that we offer through these partners. Every program that IVHQ offers has been personally inspected and selected by a Director from our organization. We have experienced the programs first hand, so we are familiar with what our volunteers will experience.
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) was launched in July 2007 by Executive Director, Dan Radcliffe, following a trip abroad backpacking and volunteering in Africa.
Upon completing a Master’s degree in Finance and Management from the University of Otago in 2006, Dan Radcliffe was employed by New Zealand telecommunications company, Telstra Clear, as a Financial Analyst on their Graduate Program. After 3 days of employment, Dan realized he would never be happy in a finance job and quit, heading back to the family farm in Taranaki to save some money. Undecided with what we wanted to do with his life, Dan decided to work on the family farm for 6 months to save money, before traveling abroad to backpack and volunteer.
Researching the volunteer travel opportunities available with existing online companies, he was surprised at the cost of volunteering abroad and the lack of affordable options available. Finding the cheapest and most reliable company he could find, Dan fronted up with his money and in August 2006, he headed away to volunteer in Kenya. Although he loved the experience of volunteering in Kenya, he was disillusioned with the large disparity between what he had paid, and the actual cost of the volunteer trip. While in Nairobi, Dan began meeting with potential local partner organizations and the seeds of IVHQ were planted.
Returning to New Zealand in early 2007, Dan took out a loan from the bank using his parents’ farm as security. With this money, IVHQ was registered, a website was built and Dan returned to Kenya to formalize a partnership and systems while also heading to Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam to screen, select and train local teams.
On July 26 2007, International Volunteer HQ was launched online from the Radcliffe family farm in Taranaki, New Zealand. Based on the concept that volunteer travel should be responsible, high quality and affordable, IVHQ quickly became the provider of choice for thousands of people looking to travel and volunteer abroad.
Since launching in 2007, IVHQ has established itself as the world’s premier volunteer travel company, operating in over 25 countries throughout the world. We are no longer based on a farm, but we still strive to provide trips that are affordable, high quality and responsible. We have provided volunteer abroad programs for tens of thousands of people from over 100 countries around the world.
IVHQ volunteer programs allow people to travel to destinations as diverse as Rio de Janeiro, Phnom Penh and Nairobi, while participating on a variety of projects such as Turtle Conservation, Construction and Teaching. To discover what IVHQ volunteer program is best for you, visit our Volunteer Abroad Programs page.