The Global Standard for Volunteering for Development

The International Forum for Volunteering in Development

The International Forum for Volunteering in Development (Forum) has developed The Global Standard for Volunteering for Development (the Global Standard) to help organisations understand and deliver Responsible and Impactful Volunteering, and to encourage learning and continuous improvement in development projects involving volunteers. The Global Standard will benefit any organisations that respond to a community need by providing or supporting volunteers.

Forum has four aims: to share information, to research key contemporary issues, to develop good practice and to enhance cooperation and support among its members. Offering the Volunteering for Development sector a Quality Standard is part of the Forum Strategy 2015-2020, helping to deliver each of these aims, and fills a gap identified by the group of Forum Members who took leadership of the project to develop the Global Standard:

“[This Global Standard] will address the problem that there is no globally recognised set of good practice standards that focus on Volunteering for Development, or on good practice for volunteer-involving organisations. [It] will lead to more responsible and impactful volunteering, and to greater confidence from potential volunteers and the wider public in organisations that adhere to the standards”. - Forum Leading Standards Working Group

The Global Standard is the result of a year-long period of consultation, developed in a participatory way, by experts from Forum members and non-members, as a resource for any organisation involving volunteers in development. They listened to the voices of community representatives, volunteers, staff, hosting and sending organisations, government and others from over 80 countries.

The Global Standard upholds the principles of Volunteering for Development by prioritising community needs over volunteer development. While acknowledging the needs that volunteers have and the technical, relational and soft skills they bring to Volunteering for Development, the Global Standard focuses on an organisation’s operational work: its development and delivery of impactful projects and its accountability to local communities, partners (sending or hosting) and volunteers. It does not provide support on organisational capacity-strengthening, for example on staff management, financial ethics or an organisation’s environmental policy.

The Global Standard offers key actions and indicators for each of the four themes - Designing and Delivering Projects, Duty of Care, Managing Volunteers, and Measuring Impact - including several indicators related to orphanage volunteering. Relevant indicators include:

Theme: Designing and Delivering Projects, Area 1: Design and Planning

2e. Organisations do not undertake any activities taking place in, or run in cooperation with, orphanages or other residential care institutions for children.

Theme: Duty of Care, Area 2: Safeguarding and Protection

2c - Organisations do not allow volunteers to work with or within orphanages or other residential care facilities for children;

- Organisations do not work with companies that have orphanages and other residential care centres incorporated (or with the possibility to incorporate) in tourism programmes or packages;

- Organisations do not allow or facilitate

Theme: Duty of Care, Area 3: Health and Wellbeing

3a Organisations have policies and processes in place to ensure that the health and wellbeing of already vulnerable children is not worsened, such as the way that orphanage volunteering contributes to attachment disorders in children.