Sunday, February 6, 2011
Volunteering abroad and travel warnings
“Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.” ~Author Unknown. Since the beginning of this year, there have been political and natural problems in a number of countries. The problems have been spread throughout the globe. First there was unrest in Ivory Coast due to the elections they had, second were the floods in Australia and Brazil and lately there has been unrest in the Arab nations (Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon). Some of these situations are predictable for example there is bound to be trouble when travelling to a third world country during an election year. It is easy to foresee problems in such scenarios, but there some which take the whole world by surprise. A good example is what is going on in the Arab world where they are fighting for democracy and also the natural disasters in Australia where few knew the floods would bring so much trouble. As a volunteer in a foreign country these problems are compounded in that; the country is no longer safe; communication in to and out of the country could be halted, the internet could be blocked; media black outs and a curfew could be imposed in the said country. When choosing the country to go to care has to be taken to avoid being in such a situation. A couple of tips to help you choosing a country to volunteer in
Travel bans and advisory
Every government tries to protect its citizens by giving out travel advice on countries. In each government there is a foreign affairs arm that looks into what is going on in the world. They get updates from every part of the world. They monitor what goes on in every country and when there is a hint of problems they advice their citizens. On their publications and announcements, they warn their citizens on which countries to avoid. For example there is Know Before You Go campaign, which is from England, Canada has Foreign affairs and International Trade and the USA has Bureau of Consular Affairs. They all have alerts on certain countries and they each have a different valuation of the risk in the countries. Currently there is a general ban on travelling to countries in the red sea region. When picking a country to go to, it is advisable to visit the government’s website to see how safe the country you are going to go to is.
Reading and watching news of a country is the best way to be informed. In this day and age there are a lot of sources of News. There is the internet, newspapers, magazines; and televisions all these are sources of News and current events. Although the media channels could be exaggerating what is going on the ground, they are the one of the best sources of information. Keeping abreast with current news of the country will help you to pick the best country to go to. In the news the volunteers will learn about the major things that are happening to the country that they will be going to.
The volunteers who are picking a country which could have security risks, they should have a look at the country profiles. Every country has been listed and there is a measurement to see which country is the safest to travel in. The country profiles are regularly updated and give a sense of how safe the country. The country profiles describe headline facts and figures about the population, capital city, and currency. Then briefly outline the geography and recent history, current politics and economic trends
The volunteers who choose to use volunteer travel organizations are better placed to get information on a country. The volunteer travel organizations have their employees on the ground and they have first hand information on what is going on. With this information they can help to advice you which countries are safe to go to. They will have first hand information from the ground and will inform the volunteers accordingly. The best part of using travel organizations is that in case of an emergency while the volunteer is abroad is that they have contingency plans. They will help you get out of a tricky situation.