Volunteers: your time and skills are the best gift or donation to give!

As a Comhlámh Code of Conduct signatory, VLM takes the giving of gifts and donations to our partners seriously. 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.

Aoife O Riordan with Tsion Fekadu and Fikerte Andarge, 5th graders from Atse Primary School, Addis Ababa.

Aoife O Riordan with Tsion Fekadu and Fikerte Andarge, 5th graders from Atse Primary School, Addis Ababa.

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.