Ethical and Responsible Organization and Volunteer Program

What is ethical volunteering? And what does LLI specifically does LLI do to foster ethical volunteering?

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The Landscape of the Volunteer Service Industry

In the past few decades, a plethora of agencies, companies and organizations have entered into the market of volunteering abroad. Unfortunately, some  of these businesses/organizations do not put the community first. High demand for valuable volunteering experiences has made making money the first priority, not community development. At LLI, we choose to do things differently.

The community and our education programs remain the main focus and as such, volunteers’ roles are constructed in a way that caters to the community, not just to “create work” for volunteers. We are a non-profit offering high quality education programs first and we are a volunteer program second.

 

What specifically does LLI do to foster ethical volunteering? 

  • First, community voice. LLI holds community forums twice a year ensuring that participants, families, and community members’ desires and opinions are taken into account. Our managers have weekly office hours and parent meetings 3-4 times a year to ensure communication with families. Finally, all of our classes have professor evaluations so that our participants can share their opinions. 
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  • Second, preparation. All volunteers receive packets of resources pre-arrival that detail the Huaycán community, education in the context of Peru, and ethical volunteer resources in addition to classroom tips and example lesson plans that are relevant to LLI programs. In Huaycán, volunteer receive placement training participate in CASA (Cultural Awareness Sensitivity and Appropriation) Training to encourage volunteers to cultivate awareness of their own culture, stereotypes and biases, and strategize ways to perceive and react to the complexity of cultural differences (and similarities) they find.
  • Third, local investment. LLI invests in the community by adding rather than taking away jobs. We currently have two local full-time staff members, five part-time staff and have action plans in place to increase local leadership over the next several years. 
  • Fourth, participant protection. LLI has a strict social media policy that protects the privacy of participants and avoids misrepresentation of the Huaycán community by focusing on participant’s stories rather than on the experiences of international volunteers. See some of our stories on Facebook 
  • Finally, reflection and self-evaluation. Every month, we hold civic reflections encouraging volunteers to think critically about the complexity and issues revolving around international volunteering, including in Huaycán. We also review our internal practices through peer feedback to ensure we are not harming the community.

Additionally, financial transparency is important to us. Please see the “Financials” section here.