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Women in Travel Summit: Backpacking with a Purpose

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International volunteering has grown from a call to action to a rite of passage for many of today’s travelers. It is currently one of the fastest growing trends in tourism and has recently become a multi-billion dollar industry. But is it really helping or simply harming the developing world?

At the Women in Travel Summit, we uncover the pressing ethical issues surrounding the voluntourism industry while also highlighting its potential for true cross-cultural exchange. Get the what, why, and how on traveling and volunteering for meaningful social change!

Published in: Travel
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Women in Travel Summit: Backpacking with a Purpose

  1. 1. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL BACKPACKING WITH A PURPOSE: PAVING THE WAY FOR ETHICAL TRAVEL & RESPONSIBLE VOLUNTEERING
  2. 2. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL • Communications & marketing strategist for the non-profit and development sector • North & Central America, East Africa, and Southeast Asia HI, I’M JUSTINE!
  3. 3. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL
  4. 4. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL VOLUNTOURISM is the fastest growing trend in global tourism and has become a multi-billion dollar industry annually. It is a sector fraught with ethical issues but also bursting with opportunity.
  5. 5. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL CHALLENGES AND ISSUES • Perpetuating systems of oppression and exploitation
  6. 6. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL CHALLENGES AND ISSUES • Imposing Western ideals instead of listening to local needs
  7. 7. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL • Unskilled and untrained volunteers CHALLENGES AND ISSUES
  8. 8. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL • Perpetuates stereotypes of dependency CHALLENGES AND ISSUES
  9. 9. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL
  10. 10. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL THE OPPORTUNITY • Creating space for deeper and meaningful cultural exchange • Gaining a new perspective of yourself and of the world • Creating positive social change through a process
  11. 11. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL SO WHAT DOES ETHICAL AND RESPONSIBLE VOLUNTEER TRAVEL LOOK LIKE?
  12. 12. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS Before anything else, set
  13. 13. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL COMMUNITY-REQUESTED VOLUNTEERING Find partnerships for
  14. 14. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL “Solidarity implies a willingness to confront the causes and conditions of suffering that persist in destroying dignity, and to demand a minimum respect for human life. Solidarity also means recognizing the dignity and autonomy of others, and asserting the right of others to make choices about their own destiny." - James Orbinski
  15. 15. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL LEARNING BEFORE SERVING Seek context by
  16. 16. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL CULTURAL IMMERSION Dive deep into
  17. 17. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL “I’ve always felt that it is impossible to engage properly with a place or a person without engaging with all the stories of that place and that person. The consequence of the single story is this: It robs people of their dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar.” - Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
  18. 18. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL THE REAL JOURNEY BEGINS WHEN YOU RETURN HOME It doesn’t stop there.
  19. 19. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL 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?
  20. 20. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL QUESTIONS? Who has
  21. 21. #WITS16 @OGbackpackers @justineabigail @WITSUMMIT @SHESWANDERFUL LET’S CONNECT! www.operationgroundswell.com justine@operationgroundswell.com

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