Why Volunteer Overseas?
To understand: This is your opportunity to be personally and practically involved in international development through which you’ll get a better understanding of the complex issues and impacts of housing poverty.
To provide funding: The donation part of your costs will help more families to have decent homes. Your expenses will also support the local economy and jobs. Habitat source building materials locally and also employ local staff.
To raise awareness of poverty housing: Through your funding you are raising awareness. Raising funds for your trip gives you the perfect excuse to tell others in your country about the issue of poverty housing and Habitat’s work.
To provide encouragement: The excitement of your being there and your willingness to give up your time, money and energy will lift the spirits of the local community and give them fresh motivation.
To further support Habitat for Humanity: You can build on another trip, encourage others to travel, fundraise and advocate.
What is my role as team member?
Your role as team member is to be open-minded and flexible in your approach to volunteering; to be an active team player, to fundraise and to learn about poverty housing. As well as this volunteers should prepare themselves by learning about their host country. You should use your team leader as your first point of contact for questions about the trip.
Do I need experience of building or DIY?
No – most of the work is manual labour. Our homes or renovations are all designed to be volunteer friendly. You’ll be shown what to do and supervised by an experienced local construction worker.
Is there a minimum age?
We usually require people to be over 18 and of general good health. We can take 16/17 year old volunteers if accompanied by a parent/teacher/youth leader or adult acting in loco parentis. Please read about our School and Youth Groups programme or contact Mary for more details by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All adults travelling with minors will be Garda Vetted prior to the trip.
How fit/healthy do I need to be?
You will need to be relatively fit. The pace tends to be relaxed, but you are undertaking manual labour which by its nature is physical. But if there are certain activities you cannot do because of a health limitation (e.g. no lifting because of a bad back), you can do something else instead. Please advise Habitat for Humanity staff in this instance.
If you have health concerns, seek your doctor’s advice. Unfortunately we are unable to accept applications from volunteers who are travelling against the advice of their doctor. Those with previous health issues will be required to provide a “fit to travel” letter.
How many people are on a team?
Open teams/Featured builds: 10-12
School teams: 10-30
Private teams: 10+
Who leads the team?
All teams have at least one team leader. For minors, the ratio is one adult to four youths. Their role is to look after your welfare and sort out any minor problems. In the unlikely event of a crisis they will also have a role in the implementation of our emergency plan. Team leaders receive training in line with Habitat for Humanity International Minimum Standards. They then hold meetings with the team. They also receive ‘Emergency’ training and carry ‘Emergency’ packs while in country.
What will the accommodation be like?
You will stay in simple, clean accommodation which can vary from a Habitat for Humanity community house to hostels, guesthouses or hotels, depending on what is available at the location of your work-site. Volunteer safety is paramount and accommodation is chosen based on the advice of local Habitat staff.
What is the food and drink like?
You will eat simple but satisfying local food. Bottled drinking water is provided on site. In the evenings, you will eat at selected restaurants or at your accommodation. Those with food allergies or dietary requirements must inform Habitat staff prior to travel and will be accommodated for as best as possible.
Will I get a chance to do any sightseeing?
Our trips are about service, learning and involvement with the work of Habitat for Humanity. Some itineraries may include a little local sightseeing, or some local cultural activities involving the community, such as visiting someone’s home, meeting the local women’s group or watching a display of dance, singing or sport.
There is an option to do more general sight-seeing at the end of your trip at your own expense. However, we regret that we are unable to organise it for you. Insurance will not cover R&R activities.
What about health and safety/insurance?
Personal travel insurance, including cover for your time on the work site, is included in the trip costs. Insurance cover is with Zurich. Volunteers need to purchase a separate insurance policy for their pre or post trip travel.
Health and safety in many countries where we work is not up to EU standards. We ensure that sites are as safe as possible for you to work on and our Team Leaders are there to make sure that our standards and Health and Safety policies are applied to the very best of our ability. We will provide safety briefings for you on site and request that you comply with these, even if the local people do not. There will be first aiders on the team.
All Habitat for Humanity offices comply with standardised emergency procedures. HFH staff and Team Leader are trained in these procedures. Habitat for Humanity Ireland and host country coordinator carry emergency phones and emergency packs with them 24/7 while the team is in country.
What and visas and vaccinations?
Habitat for Humanity staff are not medically qualified to advise on vaccinations but will provide information from the Tropical Medical Bureaul; contact details are provided in your orientation pack and we require all volunteers to take advice from a medical practitioner before travel. We will also provide information on how to obtain your visa if one is necessary.
Who do I contact with questions and concerns?
Contact Mary McGarry, International Programme Manager by emailing email@example.com or by calling 01 531 0033.