Minister Conor Lenihan launches Comhlámh’s Volunteer Charter
5 December - International Volunteer Day
To mark International Volunteer Day 2006, Conor Lenihan TD, Minister of State for Irish Aid, today officially launched Comhlámh’s Volunteer Charter for international volunteers at Iveagh House. The Charter aims to encourage responsible, responsive volunteering in developing countries. It is the first document of its kind for overseas volunteers.
"The Charter is a set of basic guidelines which I believe will help people, particularly those volunteering for the first time, to make as positive a contribution as possible and have as rewarding an experience as possible" said Minister Lenihan at the launch.
"It sets out seven straightforward steps to help a volunteer make sure that their experience works both for themselves and for their host community. The vast majority of overseas volunteers return from their development project with a great sense of satisfaction and motivation to do more, and to give more back to the poor."
The Volunteer Charter, which compliments the Code of Practice for volunteer sending agencies, can help to avoid disappointments in volunteering and ensure that overseas volunteering is a positive experience for all concerned.
Note for Editors:
The Charter has been developed as part of Comhlámh’s Volunteering Options programme, which is responding to the growing interest amongst the Irish public in volunteering in developing countries. Irish Aid provides considerable support for Comhlamh’s initiatives in the area of volunteering (€450,000 in 2006).
The Charter sets out seven principles to which volunteers are encouraged to sign up, covering issues that include respecting local customs and adopting the role of learners and guests while in a placement. In doing so, volunteers are encouraged to think about their experiences within the wider context of global development. It complements the other resources developed by the Volunteering Options programme, which include a website, www.volunteeringoptions.org and book, Working for a Better World: A Guide to Volunteering in Global Development.