VLM’s Policies

As a Comhlámh Code of Conduct Signatory, VLM takes the delivery of our services to our partners and to our volunteers seriously. We strive to reach the highest standards of best practice in the volunteer sending and development sector.

Within the organisation we have developed various policies to inform and guide our work including:


In recent years, much work has gone into programmes run by Irish volunteer sending agencies to ensure that volunteers travelling to the developing world do so to primarily give of their skills and time to those who can benefit the most from this. As the emphasis has now shifted from packing suitcases and containers to the brim with goods and resources that can often be sourced at the destination anyway, VLM is picking up this stride.

Apart from the difficulty and expense of bringing parcels, packages and containers across borders in Africa, the thinking is now around empowering volunteer hosts to develop relationships with local suppliers, identify specific items they need and to have 100% transparency in all financial dealings. Donations of funds are also tracked entirely through electronic transfers to ensure security and accountability at all levels. Our partners also appreciate electronic fund transfers, as carrying and handling cash donations across borders can be insecure and stressful for those involved.

As a guide for our volunteers VLM has published a document which has recommendations on topics such as gifts for individuals, gifts for groups, donations and child sponsorship. Click here to read more download the VLM Gift Giving Policy

VLM volunteers visiting the Irish Embassy in Addis Ababa, summer 2014

VLM volunteers visiting the Irish Embassy in Addis Ababa, summer 2014

VLM has invested much in developing a comprehensive Health, Safety and Security (HSS) Policy, acknowledging all of the risks associated with volunteering in the developing world. All volunteers are obliged to read VLM’s HSS policy thoroughly before departure. This policy is updated regularly and informed by our partners in-country as well as our strong links with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Irish Embassy.
At pre-departure training, all volunteers are briefed on health, safety and well-being while in the field, with strong reference to this policy. VLM’s HSS Policy is available on request.

Supporting the on-going development of child protection policies and procedures within our partner projects in Ethiopia, VLM has devised a comprehensive Child Safeguarding (CS)Policy for use by all project staff, managers and VLM volunteers. This CS Policy is unpacked for volunteers during the specially facilitated session at the pre-departure training weekend. As part of VLM’s safe recruitment procedures all volunteers are Garda Vetted and required to sign a copy of VLM’s  CS Policy. This policy is also available on request.