International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) was established to provide affordable and high quality volunteer programs. The implementation of responsible volunteer travel practices is paramount to any high quality international volunteer program. Here is how IVHQ ensures it leads the way in responsible volunteer travel:
IVHQ markets its volunteer programs in a responsible and ethical manner.
IVHQ manages the expectations of volunteers before they depart through clear communication and realistic descriptions.
IVHQ provides thorough pre-departure support for volunteers through the provision of detailed program information and dedicated program coordinators.
IVHQ works with organisations and people living in the communities where volunteers are placed.
IVHQ manages the number of volunteers on its programs by capping volunteer numbers when a program reaches capacity.
IVHQ screens volunteers for age and qualifications (where relevant) upon application.
IVHQ volunteers must provide an original or a certified copy of a criminal background check to the local organisations at orientation.
IVHQ volunteers must provide an original or certified copy of any required qualifications for their volunteer project at orientation.
IVHQ volunteers do not replace paid employment opportunities for local people.
IVHQ volunteers work alongside local staff in local placements.
IVHQ partners only with organisations that are registered organisations within that country.
IVHQ provides all partner organisations with the IVHQ Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy for implementation on programs alongside local placements.
IVHQ provides training and framework to local staff on best practice volunteer management upon partnership, and continuously through regular visits to ensure programs receive maximum benefit from volunteers.
IVHQ staff make regular visits to the volunteer programs to ensure they are running effectively, to learn more about the programs first-hand, and to collect feedback from volunteers and projects.
IVHQ makes an effort to ensure fees are reasonable for volunteers by re-evaluating fees regularly and analyzing costs with local staff.
IVHQ requests feedback from every volunteer and evaluates programs on an on-going basis, providing extra training and advice for local staff where necessary.
IVHQ audits its programs to assess their effect and impact on the local community. Audit findings are used to ensure all programs are continuously improving in terms of quality, impact and sustainability.
IVHQ allocates a portion of the Registration Fee volunteers pay to the IVHQ Fund. This fund was established to support the placements where IVHQ volunteers work, or projects set up by previous IVHQ volunteers, who are making long-term and sustainable contributions to developing communities abroad.
IVHQ offsets carbon emissions from flying to visit programs through purchasing carbon credits and investing in clean energy, reforestation and tree planting efforts. IVHQ also runs a local tree planting program and environmental education program in schools and encourages IVHQ volunteers to offset their carbon emissions from flying to IVHQ programs through a Carbon Footprint Calculator.
To read more about the IVHQ approach to responsible volunteer travel, see the IVHQ Approach.