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I had this idea whilst talking to Cacahuate about my trip this summer to Kenya to do some work in the slums in Nairobi. The general idea is to show travellers ways that they can make a difference when travelling, and to be a directory of charities that take volunteers to work in different parts of the world. I am not aware of a similar page on Wikitravel. -- Tim 09:57, 19 January 2007 (EST)


I moved in the information from Volunteer, because I do not think we should not distribute information among several articles. Feel free to plunge forward here or write a note why you think we should create a seperate article. Thanks! --Flip666 writeme! • 09:43, 22 August 2007 (EDT)

I think Volunteer is the better title. Making a difference might include ecological camping or political activity or Teaching English or whatever. This article is not about those, only volunteering. Pashley 20:00, 23 August 2007 (EDT)

This article was sorta meant to encompass those things and be sort of broad about ways one can do more than just travel and take... for those who would rather give... I guess many of the things would fall under volunteering, but when Tim and I first discussed creating it I think we were shooting for it to broadly encompass many ways of making a difference. But alas, my idealistic mind is still empty, so I still won't be hashing out this article further at the moment :) – cacahuate talk 23:20, 23 August 2007 (EDT)

Volunteer travel — is it an activity or is it a tours/travel agency listing[edit]

Swept in from the pub:

Recently while reviewing edits to Nepal and New Zealand I have paused to consider the listing of volunteering activities which appear to be travel service promotions with a feel good skin. Some of these listings are looking a bit borderline in terms of our activity listing policies in regard to listing by tour guides and travel agencies. Frankly in my opinion much of the international volunteering tourism activity is just feel good commercial travel and tour business activity marketed using emotionally driven messages and packaging. Certainly some of the volunteering activities are entirely legitimate, however a few of them seem to be using volunteering as a means to market and promote tours and maybe they should not be listing here on WT when other quite legitimate tour, tour guide and travel agency enterprises are not permitted to do so.

International Student Volunteers Inc "ISV allows you to combine meaningful volunteer projects with action-packed adventure travel into the ultimate life-changing experience. Impact your World by contributing to the 250,000+ volunteer hours provided each year by thousands of ISV participants to hundreds of projects around the world that focus on conservation and community development." International Student Volunteers Inc, is the highest rated Volunteer & Adventure Travel Program in the world and has been selected as one of the Top 10 Volunteer Programs by the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy. International Student Volunteers Inc, (ISV) has 12 offices around the world with international headquarters in the USA. For the past 28 years ISV has conducted international travel programs for tens of thousands of students on six continents.

Volunteers Nepal "The Chhahari Group Nepal (CGN) is a non-profitable and non-government organization based in Nepal and conducting volunteering and internship opportunities in south Asia on nominal and affordable cost. Our aim is to encourage the international students to visit cultural heritage of Nepal and gain the life time experience on affordable cost". See for a cost breakdown.
Their website describes:

  • Volunteering in English Teaching
  • Volunteering with an orphanage
  • Homestay Tours; Sirubari Village, Bandipur Village, Balthali Village, Chepang Village, Briddim Village, Kopan Village, Godavari Village
  • Travel Services; Sightseeing Tours, Adventure Trekking, Jungle Safari, White Water Rafting, Mountain Flight, Hotel Reservation, Tibet Tours, Bhutan Tours.

This edit to the Nepal article and several following brought my attention to Volunteers Nepal.

Global Volunteer Network's YOUNG AT HEART TOUR (50+) This tour has been designed for mature volunteers who are young at heart and ready for their next adventure! Starting May 9 2011 described at looks to me to be in conflict with tour listing. Sure they seem to be doing something worthwhile whilst travelling but it is still tourism and it is a group of people on a tour. It appears to have an "application fee" of US$350 + a "Program Fee" of US$1247 10 days. I understanding from reading their promotional material that US$200 of this goes toward a 'project'.

I am curious what other editors think about this. -- felix 09:13, 9 May 2011 (EDT)

I'd be in favor of a policy that stated that the Volunteer article was the only appropriate place for listing individual volunteer organizations, and that country/region/city articles should then link to that article (ex. [[Volunteer#Nepa]]) for locations where volunteering is a common activity. I agree strongly that many of these "volunteer" listings have become questionable over time, and I've seen a number of cases where an organization plastered numerous links across many articles in a way that seemed very spammy. -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:23, 10 May 2011 (EDT)
Agreed. Also, the volunteer article should be edited to point out how to detect the scams. Pashley 03:05, 10 June 2011 (EDT)

Problems with the article?[edit]

I am concerned that the article appears to be falling down a slippery slope. Providing a "yellow pages" listing is something we avoid as a matter of policy, but this article is becoming one.

It lists many "volunteer" organisations, some of which I fear are basically tour companies with a gimmick and others outright scams. I have met gap year travellers in China who had paid money for a placement. They were doing the same work, with about the same qualifications, as other foreigners in the same city for about a third the money. Moreover, the placement firm had sleazed out on getting them the promised visa, so they were working illegally.

My guess is that we should include a warning about scams in the article, and institute some policy that greatly reduces the number of links — perhaps not listing any company that charges an up-front fee for placement services, or listing only established NGOs like WWOF. Other opinions? Pashley 11:24, 15 June 2011 (EDT)

What about organizing all these links in a list, then we can provide information about different categories such as commercial/non-commcerial, open for all/limited by citizenship, pay to work/pay nothing, websites with/without registration fee, religious org/non-religious, etc. I think it is better that we list all so people can check it, but if they are in a list people can easily sort themselves what they look for. What other categories could be interesting to add to a list like this? Matsbla (talk) 19:42, 30 July 2014 (EDT)
Hello, this article definitely needs to be improved, it can't be just a list of links as it is against Wikitravel's guidelines. First of all every link should be checked to find the "bad ones" (old or broken links, spam, etc.). As for organizing the links, I think that it would be good to have some sub-sections and a better description of the works involved, not just a link. Let me know what you think. Regards, GiulioC (talk) 05:33, 31 July 2014 (EDT)
I didn't say that we should have "just" or "only" links, but of course we should have links, c'mon, we are on internet, people come here to find information, and links a essential to make people find places to go volunteer. I think we should have one section with a list of all links where they can be sorted by different categories so people can find what they look for more easy. To have one list is better than to have different sub-sections for different categories of links/initiatives/ngo because people can easily sort them, instead of needing to read every sub-sections to find what they look for. One link/ngo/initiative can actually fit into several categories, so where to put it if it fits in several sub-sections? Then of course we should have a description of the links in addition to this. Then we can have other sections/chapters with information in general about volunteering (tips, ideas, etc). And of course we need to check them to remove spam and broken links, I agree on this. Matsbla (talk) 15:13, 31 July 2014 (EDT)