Responsible Travel

Responsible Volunteerism

NFP

Travel can be much more than simply visiting places, taking pictures and buying souvenirs. When executed mindfully, and with the minimum impact, travel can inspire cultural awareness, tolerance, and commitment to environmental responsibility. International Volunteers Network was founded on the belief that travel can enhance and preserve the character of a place: its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

Our principles don’t just apply to our volunteer trips, but to everything we do as an organization. We are a certified the Ministry of Uganda Tourism as a responsible tourism organization which means we have passed a rigorous independent audit of our social, environmental, and legal practices.

By adopting a clear set of responsible travel guidelines, we use our volunteer travel vacations to improve the lives of people in the communities which our visit and also support the integrity of a place, allowing it to retain the distinctive character that makes it unique. Not only is it the right thing to do, it also provides a richer experience for our volunteer travelers.

Therefore, as part of our mission to promote sustainable volunteerism, IVN designed the volunteer vacations to connect travelers with local people and places for an authentic experience. We care about implementing Responsible tourism practices – ABOUT ‘MAKING PLACES BETTER FOR THE PEOPLE TO LIVE IN AND FOR PEOPLE TO VISIT’. IVN takes pride in having built up the organization based on such a policy. Our aim is fair trade between local communities, IVN and you as a traveler. You can be sure that your holiday contributes directly and meaningfully to the communities you visit.

Most of our volunteer/holidays take you off the beaten track and give you an insight into local people’s heritage and the culture and daily life of the community that you are visiting. It doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your beach or a sightseeing trip into the cities. Rather it is about uniqueness, authenticity and getting a glimpse into life as it really is.

Considering Sustainability Of The Work.
Sustainable projects build capacity and enable locals to make improvements in their own communities whereas handouts lead to dependency. The work our volunteers do in these projects compliments and increases the capacity of the projects’ impact in the community, and we seek in all we do to ensure the work is sustainable in its’ own right and not reliant on overseas volunteers. The time our volunteers spend with each project provides a huge bonus to their work. Our volunteers are not taking any opportunities away from local people; our volunteer vacation placements is not job substitution, but the provision of additional support, knowledge, insight and energy to worthwhile local projects. This is important to us, and ultimately means that our volunteers can have confidence in knowing that when they give their time to our projects, they will be contributing to a work that will last for years to come.

Social Commitment
Besides investing resources in locally-driven, sustainable volunteer projects that give back to the community, we also seek to preserve the cultural heritage of the local people in our destination.

Our itineraries do more than observe the local culture — we seek to embrace cultural traditions and celebrate local customs. While it is a wonderful and authentic experience for our travelers, it also allows residents to rediscover their own heritage by sharing things they may take for granted. As local people develop pride and skill in showing off their locale, travelers get more out of their visit.

Economic Commitment
Good intentions are backed up with money. The choices we make when selecting our local partners, suppliers, and sites all have a direct economic impact in the community. The funds we spend on behalf of our travelers go to putting children through school, building homes, and starting small businesses.

Small-Scale Suppliers: Our volunteer vacations utilize local, small-scale suppliers. Whether it’s a women’s group that teaches our volunteers how to cook, a family-run transportation company, or a village cooperative that offers tours of its community, we seek to channel our funds into local, small scale suppliers who provide excellent experiences for our volunteer/travelers.

Locally-Owned Lodging:Our unique Volunteer Guest Home model is not just a great way to embed travelers into a community; it also supports locally owned lodges. In a world where multi-national hotel chains have properties in every country — but profits accumulate in only one — we’re proud to select accommodations owned by people who live within the local community where our projects are located.

Fair Wages: Our staffs are like family. That’s not just a slogan; it’s an operating principle. As such, we pay all of our staff more than the minimum wage. When our staff feels fairly compensated, they’re happy to provide great service that comes from the heart. It’s because of the wages we pay that we’re able to have a no-tip-expected policy: if you loved our service, tell your friends or write a positive review online.

Environmental Commitment
Our office recycles paper, ink cartridges, cardboard, and glass. We carry out energy-saving practices such as turning off electrical equipment when not in use. All our staffs are committed to protecting our environment and carry these practices with them to their home life. Whenever possible, we use suppliers and printers who use recycled materials and also have strong environmental policies.

International Volunteers Network
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