Ethical Travel and Responsible Volunteering

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  • We are a non-profit organization that runs international service learning programs all around the world combining cross-cultural education, community service, and off the beaten path adventureIntro myself
  • How this speaks to our generation. Want to go out there, explore the world while doing good. Appeals to a wide variety but majority are made up of high school and college students. Many what to boost their resumes, travel with friends, gain cross-cultural awareness.. Etc. Happens in the summer, during gap years (transition between), sabbaticals, alternative spring breaks
  • How this speaks to our generation. Want to go out there, explore the world while doing good. Appeals to a wide variety but majority are made up of high school and college students. Many what to boost their resumes, travel with friends, gain cross-cultural awareness.. Etc. Happens in the summer, during gap years (transition between), sabbaticals, alternative spring breaks
  • A lot of the organizations that are out there do more for the volunteers than the actual communities they purport to support. Do not consult the communities that they are volunteering with. Building a school, example. Create work and take work from local communities. Issues of exploitation – orphanage tourism Not orphansPsychological effectsParachute effect – unrealistic expectations of saving the world Compounds Prices
  • Experience the world in a genuine way: Talk about living like locals and constantly adapting to changing conditions on the ground. Respect the cultures we interact with: We are not there to impose our will or culture. We respect local traditions and ways of doing things.Learn from our local peers: Our volunteer work is never externally imposed. We volunteer exclusively through local partner organizations on projects that have been requested by the community. Often we are in contact with groups simply to learn rather than to volunteer.Make a meaningful difference: We do not participate in “make-work” or “take-work” volunteering!!! And yes, we know that we can’t save the world in six weeks. That doesn’t mean that we can’t make a lasting difference.Foster Independence: This is not a cookie-cutter tour. Our teams are composed of adults and are treated as such.Grow, evolve, and continue to engage. This is a learning and growing experience for our teams, and it doesn’t stop when we return home.
  • Core curriculumPower and privilege, oppression, charity vs. solidarity, environmental sustainability
  • Aa system of aid and dependence. We never prescribe solutions without local input, nor do we begin pie-in- the-sky projects only to leave them unfinished. What was the volunteer project that touched you?
  • We know that we can’t save the world in six weeks. OG programs are meant to set you on a path towards making your own difference in the world. We equip you with the tools and skills you need to lead a group, raise funds, work with communities, and travel independently. Your engagement with the world doesn’t stop when the program is over, and neither does OG’s engagement with you. Our Project Fund is open exclusively to alumni and program leaders to provide grants towards community led and requested projects in any region we travel to. Past recipients of project fund grants include OG Alumnos, who are building a community centre in Tzibal, Guatemala, and Ghana Medical Help, which provides equipment and training to underfunded area hospitals. G-Roots, also in Ghana, exists to promote sustainable farming practices to increase food availability over the dry and rainy seasons. Our alumni also strike out on their own – you won’t believe the things they’ve accomplished at home and abroad.
  • Experience the world in a genuine way: Talk about living like locals and constantly adapting to changing conditions on the ground. Respect the cultures we interact with: We are not there to impose our will or culture. We respect local traditions and ways of doing things.Learn from our local peers: Our volunteer work is never externally imposed. We volunteer exclusively through local partner organizations on projects that have been requested by the community. Often we are in contact with groups simply to learn rather than to volunteer.Make a meaningful difference: We do not participate in “make-work” or “take-work” volunteering!!! And yes, we know that we can’t save the world in six weeks. That doesn’t mean that we can’t make a lasting difference.Foster Independence: This is not a cookie-cutter tour. Our teams are composed of adults and are treated as such.Grow, evolve, and continue to engage. This is a learning and growing experience for our teams, and it doesn’t stop when we return home.
  • How do we guide ourselves towards the goals in the previous slide? Using our core values: the backpacktivist manifesto! We created these guiding principles in consultations with the people that know us best. These principles define all OG programs. Feel free to explain all of them, or just pick the three that are most meaningful to you and explain them using a personal experience from your program.
  • We are a non-profit organization that runs international service learning programs all around the world combining cross-cultural education, community service, and off the beaten path adventureIntro myself
  • Ethical Travel and Responsible Volunteering

    1. 1. Backpacking with a Purpose /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// @OGbackpackers OperationGroundswell
    2. 2. In 2006, our founders left home to do their own international volunteering. What did they find?  Africa is not the Africa you see on TV.  Isolating volunteer placements.  Exorbitant prices. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    3. 3. VOLUNTOURISM is one of the fastest growing trends in tourism and has become a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s a sector fraught with ethical issues but one bursting with opportunity. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    4. 4. THE OPPORTUNITY  Create safe spaces for cross-cultural dialogue.  Create positive, lasting change in the world.  Give someone a new perspective on their own world.
    5. 5. VOLUNTOURISM’S ROOTS ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////  Peace Corps, established in 1961  Gap years in the UK in the 1990s, early 2000s
    6. 6. CHALLENGES AND ISSUES /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// What’s wrong with voluntourism?
    7. 7. “FAIR” TRADE AND COFFEE FARMING GUATEMALA /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// It can be done respectfully, responsibly and ethically!
    8. 8. A SCHOOL OF MUD AND BRICKS MIDDLE EAST It can be done respectfully, responsibly and ethically!
    9. 9. ETHICAL TRAVEL /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// At the crux of Operation Groundswell’s philosophy is
    10. 10. WE WANT TO: » Experience the world in a genuine way. » Respect the cultures we interact with. » Make a meaningful difference. » Learn from our local peers. » Foster independence. » Grow, evolve, and continue to engage. » All on the cheap.
    11. 11. EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Learning service through
    12. 12. VOLUNTEERING Community-led ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    13. 13. ALUMNI PROJECT FUND It doesn’t stop there. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    14. 14. HOW DO YOU ASSESS A VOLUNTEER TRAVEL ORGANIZATION? » What do they say you’ll be doing? » What’s the minimum time you can volunteer? » Do they work with partners? If so, how is the relationship structured? » Do they clearly state where the money goes? » Are you going to be learning before serving? » Do they clearly state their values?
    15. 15. THE BACKPACKTIVIST MANIFESTO » Prepared to Change » Full Live Livin’ » Conscientious » Respect » Humility » Solidarity » Group-Focused » Thirst for Learning » Leadership These core values guide us in all that we do:
    16. 16. QUESTIONS? Who has ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    17. 17. Stay Connected! ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// @OGbackpackers OperationGroundswell www.operationgroundswell.com

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