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Coronavirus Update

Last updated: April 3rd, 2020

While the world is on lockdown, IVHQ continues to support our volunteers.

Since the Covid-19 virus began to present a global health risk, International Volunteer HQ has taken extra safety measures to protect our volunteers and the communities we work within.

There have been no reported cases of Covid-19 among any volunteer or staff member on any IVHQ volunteer program. Since the start of the outbreak, our local teams have implemented procedures across all our programs to ensure early detection of any cases, in accordance with the advice from local and international authorities. This includes plans for monitoring, isolating and caring for any cases, should they arise.

All of IVHQ’s 300+ volunteer projects around the world are now closed and will remain closed until at least the start of May. The IVHQ team is assisting volunteers who had been due to travel in the next few months to reschedule their trips.

Our thoughts are with the people who have been affected by this unprecedented event and all those who are working on the frontline to help contain this virus. Now more than ever, we must come together to protect our global community.

If we’ve learnt one thing from this terrible pandemic, it’s that life is precious. Fear should not put an end to our travel dreams and adventures, nor should it stop us from helping the people and places around the world that need it most. Moves to restrict the spread of the virus will be temporary, and for many people, this is an opportunity to slow down, reflect and start making plans for the future.

We are still operating because we know that things will eventually return to normal, people will want to keep volunteering their time to help others, and life must go on. The local communities we support rely upon IVHQ’s volunteers, and this will continue long after Covid-19 has been conquered.

Most of our volunteers book their trips months in advance, so please take this time to plan for the future. With IVHQ you can register for trips up to three years ahead and we offer flexible payment options that provide a refund should you need to change or cancel your trip closer to your departure date.

Thank you for your ongoing support of IVHQ and the communities we work within. If there’s anything we can do to help you with your travel plans during this time, please get in touch and one of our Volunteer Travel Specialists will be able to offer specialist support and guidance.

If you continue scrolling down this page, you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions the IVHQ team are being asked.

Please stay safe, be kind, and protect the health of yourself and others, wherever you are in the world.

Simon Birkenhead

Chief Executive Officer, International Volunteer HQ


Here are answers to some of the most common questions we are being asked.

When will your programs start running again?

We have temporarily closed all of our volunteer programs and will not re-open any program before May 1st, 2020. We will review options for reopening programs on a case-by-case basis, based on the latest travel advisories for each country, the status of local health risks, and any restrictions placed on travellers originating from specific countries.

We are proactively contacting all volunteers who are due to travel in the next few weeks who may be impacted by these program closures. Please contact your IVHQ Program Manager or get in touch with our team of Volunteer Travel Specialists for up to date information on country-specific restrictions.

If you are due to travel from June onwards, our current advice is to hold off from changing or cancelling your travel until we have greater certainty over when our programs will begin operating again. We are still hopeful that we will be able to run some of our programs over the summer.

Can I change my travel plans free of charge?

We’re offering greater flexibility for changes to travel dates and destinations during this period of uncertainty.

We are allowing all volunteers with program start dates prior to August 31st 2020 to change their travel destination, volunteer project or start date free of charge. If you don’t know when you will be able to travel, we can hold any program fee you’ve paid as a credit on your account.

For volunteers who had been due to start their programs within the next 14 days, we are dealing with each individual situation on a case by case basis. If this applies to you, please contact your Program Manager.

If you have been accepted for an IVHQ volunteer program but haven’t yet completed your registration, you can make changes to your trip free of charge at any time. This means you can select a different destination, volunteer project or travel date and still continue with your plans to make a difference abroad. When you are ready to register, we offer options that provide a refund should you need to cancel your trip closer to your departure date.

What’s the best way of contacting IVHQ?

IVHQ’s volunteer travel specialists are having to deal with an unprecedented volume of enquiries from volunteers. Therefore we are currently unable to accept phone calls. Instead, please get in touch with us by email to info@volunteerhq.org, direct to your Program Manager by email, or through our online enquiry form.

We are prioritizing enquiries based on urgency. If you are not scheduled to start your IVHQ volunteer program within the next few weeks, please be aware that there may be a substantial delay until we are able to respond to you. We ask you to please be patient so we can better support those volunteers with imminent travel plans.