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Volunteer Abroad Responsibly with IVHQ

Ethical & Responsible Volunteering

Our volunteer programs are set up to positively impact people, the planet and wildlife. We are committed to ensuring our programs meet strict social and environmental standards and are run in a responsible, efficient and sustainable way.

Our commitment to ethical volunteering

We are committed to regularly reviewing our impact on volunteers, local communities, our employees and the environment. This gives us the opportunity to find new ways to learn and improve in line with our pledge as a B Corporation and as a member of the UN Volunteer Groups Alliance.

IVHQ was the first B Corporation certified volunteer travel organization

B Corporation

IVHQ was the first B Corporation certified volunteer travel organization and we remain committed to these principles through a regular recertification process. B Corps pledge to use business as a force for good by ensuring that sustainability, inclusivity and quality remain at the heart of what they do.

IVHQ is the only volunteer travel company to be a member of the Volunteer Groups Alliance

United Nation’s Volunteer Groups Alliance & Sustainable Development Goals

IVHQ is the only volunteer travel company to be a member of the Volunteer Groups Alliance – a global coalition of organizations committed to sustainable development through volunteering. The VGA is closely associated with the United Nations, and our membership ensures that every single IVHQ volunteer project aligns with one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations

We contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.

All IVHQ volunteer projects work towards one or more of these goals and have been set up to tackle some of the most pressing social and environmental issues of our time. Our aim is to go beyond sustainability by providing a regenerative way to see the world and give back - and we are committed to leaving every place better than we found it.

How we make an impact

What makes a volunteer provider ethical?

The following framework outlines important selection criteria when assessing how ethical a volunteer provider is. We regularly refer to this when reviewing our processes to ensure we are meeting all guidelines and holding ourselves accountable.

  • Regularly audit programs to ensure they meet goals
  • Regularly review fees and ensure volunteering is accessible
  • Ensure all volunteers meet project requirements
  • Criminal background check required from volunteers
  • Cap volunteer numbers when programs reach capacity
  • Ensure volunteers do not replace paid employment
  • Implement a Child Protection Policy across all programs
  • Actively seek feedback to improve programs
  • Train local staff on best practices
  • Manage volunteer expectations
  • Offer pre-departure volunteer abroad training
  • Provide pre-departure and 24/7 in-country support
  • Deliver in-country orientation to all volunteers
  • Programs support local employment opportunities
  • Programs run by local registered organizations who understand the needs of the community

Our collaboration with local organizations

International Volunteer HQ provides affordable and locally led volunteer programs by working with NGOs and organizations based in each of our destinations. We believe this is the best approach to international volunteering because:

  • Local organizations are in the best position to see where volunteers are genuinely needed. The staff in these organizations are locals - they can speak the local language, know the area inside out and are best placed to provide guidance, advice, supervision and support to volunteers.

  • Collaborating with local organizations reduces the costs associated with hosting volunteers, making programs more affordable. This means we can help more people to volunteer, and as a collective, we can deliver greater impact.

  • Working with local organizations helps boost the local economy and community. IVHQ program fees go directly to the local organization hosting volunteers, helping support local people.

Every program we offer has been carefully selected by IVHQ. We regularly inspect all programs first-hand, assess the local teams, provide comprehensive training to all of our in-country hosts and ask all volunteers for feedback. This process ensures that all IVHQ programs are run sustainably and deliver the intended impact to the local community and environment.

Meet IVHQ’s local teams
Our collaboration with local organizations
IVHQ is carbon neutral and certified Zero Carbon Business Operations.

IVHQ’s operations are Carbon Neutral

IVHQ is proud to be certified Zero Carbon Business Operations. Since April 2019, we have measured and offset the carbon footprint of our business operations to ensure these have no negative impact on the climate. The solar panels in our head office provide most of our electricity requirements and we have purchased certified carbon credits with Ekos to offset non-renewable head office energy consumption and business travel undertaken by our staff.

These certified carbon credits are sourced from projects that grow and protect forests in our home country, New Zealand, as well as other neighbouring Pacific Islands. These projects help to deliver climate resilience, waterways protection, erosion control, biodiversity conservation and community economic development.

In addition, we encourage all our volunteers to go ‘carbon neutral’ by enabling them to purchase their own carbon credits through IVHQ to offset the negative impact of their flights.

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