Volunteer Capital Centre (VCC)

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Volunteer abroad rights

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” ~Oscar Wilde. Volunteers who are working abroad are entitled rights and responsibilities. Irrespective of the type of volunteer work being done, the volunteers have rights that should be followed. These rights are there to protect the volunteer and to make sure they are not being taken advantage off. These rights and responsibilities protect both the organization and the volunteers who are abroad and also for smooth running of the volunteer work.
Here are the international volunteer rights:
• To work in a healthy and safe environment
• To be interviewed and employed in accordance with equal opportunity and anti-discrimination legislation;
• To be given accurate and truthful information about the organization for which they are working in;
• To be given a copy of the organization’s volunteer policy and any other policy that affects the volunteer’s work;
• Not to fill a position previously held by a paid worker;
• To have a job description and agreed working hours;
• To have access to a grievance procedure;
• To be provided with training and orientation to the organization;
• To be heard - to feel free to make suggestions, to have a part in planning.
• To new opportunities and a variety of experiences - through advancement or transfer, or through special assignment.
• To be kept informed through departments, attendance at staff meetings, memoranda, etc. about what is going on in the organization.
• To expect that the volunteer’s time will not be wasted by lack of planning, coordination or cooperation within the organization.
• To know whether the volunteer’s work is effective and how it can be improved: to have a chance to increase understanding of the volunteer, others and community.
• Do meaningful and satisfying work;
• Be seen as belonging, through inclusion at meetings, social functions, etc.
• Be seen as a person or a co worker and to be supported in the volunteer’s role;
• Have choices and feel comfortable about saying "no";
• Not be exploited;
• Be consulted on matters that directly or indirectly affect the volunteer and the work
• Receive recognition for the volunteer’s contribution
• Have the volunteer’s personal information be kept confidential
• To have the volunteer’s service hours documented (certificate or letter) upon request.
• To a suitable assignment--with consideration for personal preference, temperament, life experience, education and employment background

The volunteers’ responsibilities are:

• To be reliable, trustworthy and punctual
• To respect the rights of people the volunteer works with
• To have a non-judgmental approach
• To carry out the specified job description
• To give feedback (i.e. participate in evaluations when asked), accountable and accept feedback
• To be committed to the program
• To avoid overextending themselves
• To acknowledge decisions made by the staff or the organization
• To address areas of conflict with the appropriate staff member or volunteer coordinator
• To ask for support when it is needed
• To be open and honest with the organization about the volunteer’s expectations and abilities.
• To maintain confidentiality and privacy with regards to agency information, clients, and personnel.
• To learn from the community service experience.
• To be open and honest about their motivations and goals.
• To understand what a job requires before accepting it.
• To accept guidance and supervision from the person in charge of volunteers.
• To participate in any training offered by the organization.
• To notify the coordinator as soon as possible if they are unable to attend a training session or carry out their assigned duties.
• To adhere to all station rules, policies and procedures pertaining to his or her volunteer commitments.
• To decline work that is not acceptable to them; maintain an open mind with regard to other people's standards and values

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