2017 Volunteer Programme

Volunteer Programme Features

Click on the different tabs below to find details of the volunteer programme elements:

How to apply

Apply for the Summer Overseas Volunteer programme in 3 Easy Steps:

      1. Attend SERVE Information Session (Click here for upcoming dates)
      2. Fill-out application form (Forms only available at the information session)
      3. Attend interview (Placement offered to successful applicants only)

STEP 1: Attend SERVE Information Session

Each November SERVE holds Information Sessions in different locations around Ireland. Attendance at an Information Session is required to get the full details regarding the projects available and the criteria needed to becoming a SERVE volunteer.  The next Open Days, for our 2017 projects, will take place in October 2017.

STEP 2: Fill out an application form

Application forms for SERVE volunteering projects are only available by attending a SERVE Information Session.  Time will be given at the end of the Information Session to complete and return your completed application form.

STEP 3: Attend Interview

All applicants who complete an application form at our Information sessions will be offered an interview.  These interviews usually take place within 2 weeks of the Information Session (End of October / Start of November)

Places on the Programme will be offered in November 2017.

What’s involved

1. VOLUNTEER PRE-DEPARTURE TRAINING DAYS. 

If you are successful in obtaining a place on SERVE’s Volunteer Programme you are obliged to attend three Pre-Departure Training Days which are held in Dublin.

2017 Training Days:

  • Dates tbc

*Attendance at all three training days is required

These Pre-departure training days will prepare volunteers fully for their overseas experience
through the provision of:

  • Vaccination information
  • Health, Safety & Security training
  • Volunteer Rights and Responsibilities / Volunteer Charter
  • Volunteer Expectations
  • Group Contract
  • Fundraising
  • Child Protection
  • Development Education
  • Country-group specific meetings
  • Group Dynamics
  • Culture workshops
  • Training in engaging groups of young people

2. PROJECT DEPARTURE & RETURN:

  • Volunteers will depart as a group from Dublin Airport.
  • Group departs Ireland at end of June / Start of July
  • Volunteers spend four weeks overseas:
    • A four week placement in one of our partner organisations. In teams of 10-13, the volunteers will work with the local partners to deliver pre-determined programmes and deliver meaningful projects that contributes to the work of the partner projects.  The work undertaken by the volunteer differs between the country placements.  See the volunteer role profiles and the country specific information above for further details.
    • All volunteers also undertake a Development Education as a part of the programme.  This will take place throughout the placement and will include workshops, field visits and talks from external speakers working in the field of global justice and development.
  • Volunteers will return as a group to Dublin airport
  • SERVE is unable to facilitate volunteers in pursuing independent travel at the end of their placement.
  • Volunteers return to Ireland at the start / middle of August

3. THE ‘NEXT STEP’ WEEKEND

  • In October (2017), following the overseas project, all volunteers will gather again in Kilfinane, Co.Limerick for the SERVE “Next Step Weekend
  • The Next Step Weekend will run from the Friday evening until Sunday lunch time.
  • This weekend will involve:
    • Evaluation and debriefing
    • Volunteer certification and appreciation
    • Presentations of work done on project by volunteers
    • ‘Grounding your experience’ – solidarity and advocacy.
    • Sign-posting of future involvement events
    • Volunteer reunion & party

4. CONTINUED INVOLVEMENT (Optional)

SERVE volunteers can continue their involvement by engaging in various events throughout the year such as:

  • Four Peaks Challenge (Ireland)
  • Three Peaks Challenge (Britain)
  • Flip-Flop Friday
  • Run4SERVE
  • Sponsored Skydive
  • Solidarity Group Meetings
  • Future volunteering
  • Church gate collections
  • Bag Packing
  • Mentor future volunteers
  • Christmas Stocking Campaign
Cost

The cost of the 2017 Volunteer Programmes are €2,995 / £2,650.

This fee covers the costs relating to

  • Flight
  • Travel insurance,
  • Pre-departure training and support costs,
  • Main meals, accommodation and transport overseas
  • SERVE Next Step Workshop
  • Funding grant to the partners

Please note that the above price does not include the cost of your vaccinations, any day-to-day personal spending money, or any activities undertaken on time off at the end of the project.  Visas for these countries may be required to be obtained before departure or in some circumstances can be obtained on arrival in the destination airport.  All visas to be obtained will be at each individual’s expense (You are not entitled to fundraise for these elements).

PROGRAMME FEE – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

How much money do I have to raise?
You have to raise a minimum of €2,995 / £2,650 (inclusive of your non-refundable deposit of €200/£200).

This covers the costs relating to your flight and travel insurance, pre-departure training costs, in-country support and your main meals, accommodation, transport while on your overseas placement, your attendance at the SERVE “Next Step” Weekend following your return to Ireland and a grant to the overseas partner with whom you will be placed.

Fundraising support and workshops will be provided extensively during the pre-departure training days and on request at any stage throughout the process.  Many Volunteers have managed to greatly exceed their targets in recent years.

When are the payments to be made?

The €2995 / £2,650 programme fee is split into payments of a deposit and five separate payments:

      • €200 / £200 deposit to be paid by Friday 18th November 2016
      • €800 / £700 to be paid by Friday 6th January 2017
      • €650 / £600 to be paid by Friday 17th February 2017
      • €600 / £500 to be paid by Friday 24th March 2017
      • €400 / £350 to be paid by Friday 21st April 2017
      • €350 / £300 to be paid by Friday 25th May 2017

What happens if I raise more than the target amount?
Many of our Volunteers raise sums over and above their €2,995 / £2,650.  All of the funds raised above the target amount go directly to our Project Country fund; this provides financial support to our partners, enabling them to deliver on projects which the volunteers will work on.

What happens if I do not raise the target amount?
The €2,995 / £2,650 participation fee primarily covers the running costs of your placement. If you do not raise this amount, you will have to forfeit your place. However, if you are having trouble with fundraising, you will have the support of both SERVE and our volunteer network to help you to reach your target.

Volunteer Role Profiles
Information Sessions

Click poster below to view the dates of the SERVE Information Sessions taking place in October.

Attendance at an information session is required, to receive an application form and to be eligible to participate in the programme for 2017.

Volunteer Programme Countries 2017

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What countries do you operate in? When do the projects take place? How long do the placements last? How much does it cost?

2017 Prices outlined below. (Prices, dates and duration may fluctuate but this is a general overview).

Summer placements take place in July and August for four weeks.

In 2017, SERVE will run short-term volunteer projects in India, the Philippines and Mozambique.

The cost of the 2017 Volunteer Programmes are €2,995 / £2,650.

This fee covers the costs relating to your flight and travel insurance, pre-departure training and support costs, in-country support and your main meals, accommodation and transport while on your overseas placement, your attendance at the SERVE “Next Step” Weekend following your return to Ireland and a grant to the overseas partner with whom you will be placed.

Please note that the above price does not include the cost of your vaccinations, any day-to-day personal spending money, or any activities undertaken on time off at the end of the project.  Visas for these countries may be required to be obtained before departure or in some cirumstances can be obtained on arrival in the destination airport.  All visas to be obtained will be at each individual’s expense (You are not entitled to fundraise for these elements).

PROGRAMME FEE – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

How much money do I have to raise?
You have to raise a minimum of €2,995 / £2,650 (inclusive of your non-refundable deposit of €200/£200).

This covers the costs relating to your flight and travel insurance, pre-departure training costs, in-country support and your main meals, accommodation and transport while on your overseas placement, your attendance at the SERVE “Next Step” Weekend following your return to Ireland and a grant to the overseas partner with whom you will be placed.

Fundraising support and workshops will be provided extensively during the pre-departure training days and on request at any stage throughout the process.  Many Volunteers have managed to greatly exceed their targets in recent years.

When are the payments to be made?

The €2995 / £2,650 programme fee is split into payments of a deposit and five separate payments:

      • €200 / £200 deposit to be paid by Friday 18th November 2016
      • €800 / £700 to be paid by Friday 6th January 2017
      • €650 / £600 to be paid by Friday 17th February 2017
      • €600 / £500 to be paid by Friday 24th March 2017
      • €400 / £350 to be paid by Friday 21st April 2017
      • €350 / £300 to be paid by Friday 25th May 2017

What happens if I raise more than the target amount?
Many of our Volunteers raise sums over and above their €2,995/£2,650.  All of the funds raised above the target amount go directly to our Project Country fund; this provides financial support to our partners, enabling them to deliver on projects which the volunteers will work on.

What happens if I do not raise the target amount?
The €2,995 / £2,650 participation fee primarily covers the running costs of your placement. If you do not raise this amount, you will have to forfeit your place. However, if you are having trouble with fundraising, you will have the support of both SERVE and our volunteer network to help you to reach your target.

2. What can I fundraise for?

SERVE requires volunteers to contribute a minimum of €500 of their own personal money towards the cost of the programme. Should the volunteer not have the means to pay for the full amount themselves SERVE permits its volunteers to fundraise for the remainder of the programme costs. Volunteers should be open and transparent about what the money raised is going towards. If people are then still happy to give (e.g. towards volunteer flight costs) then that is their decision, but volunteers should not mislead the public into thinking that all funds raised will go directly to a project and community if this is not the case.

Any money contributed to the programme fund will contribute directly to the projects in the country that the volunteer is based in.  i.e. money raised from the India group will only be spent on projects in India and not elsewhere.

SERVE does not support the fundraising of money to cover the cost of personal spending money or the cost of vaccinations etc.

3. Do I need vaccinations?

Short answer, Yes.

Vaccinations vary from country to country and person to person. All information relating to vaccinations are covered on the first volunteer training day by a professional from the Tropical Medical Bureau (www.tmb.ie), yet it is the sole responsibility of the volunteer to get his/her own medication based on their own medical history and to personally cover the cost involved in obtaining the necessary vaccinations and medications.

4. How much personal spending money will I need to bring with me?

This is an individual decision. However, as meals and accommodation while on placement are covered by SERVE, personal spending is light, such as buying cups of coffee etc.  From previous volunteers experiences they have spent between €300 and €1200.  (We know that there is quite a big difference in these two figures.  It just suggests that a small budget can be worked on, but there is also an opportunity to spend money too if you so wish.)  The general rule of thumb is that an average of €400 should more than cover your day-to-day expenses plus any free-time/activity expenses over the duration of the project.

5. Is there an age limit?

SERVE maintains a volunteer age profile of 18 plus years.

6. What project placements are available?

The projects will vary, depending on the countrydestination. However most projects fall under the umbrella of

–         Street Children’s projects and orphanages
–         Construction and renovation work
–         Teaching various subjects (English, Computer skills, Design)
–         Speech and language therapy
–         Mental and Physical disabilities
–         Skills training
–         Youth empowerment
–         Community development
–         Income generation projects

7. Do I need to have a specific skill / background to apply?

Some specialist professions are sought and will be beneficial but application is open to all skill levels and backgrounds.

8. Deposit

Only Volunteers that are offered and subsequently accept their placement with SERVE are requested to pay an initial non-refundable deposit of €200 or £200, by the second Friday of January. This amount is taken off the cost of the programme and the remainder of the cost (€2,800) is split into three instalments (€800, €800, €1200) to be paid on dedicated dates.

9. Why do you recruit in October for placements in June, July and August?

SERVE volunteers, on selection, commit to attending all three pre-departure training days in Dublin between January and June.  This will give them every opportunity to be well prepared before their departure and also gives them the opportunity to meet with the volunteers that they will be travelling with.  In the past few years these training days have taken place on the first Saturday in February, the last Saturday in March and the second Saturday in June – each day running from 10am to 6pm.  Attendance at all three training days is a requirement of being a SERVE volunteer.

10. Is it safe?

Safety is our priority and we ensure all placements are safe for the volunteers.  At least two Irish leaders will accompany the group to and from the country and also supervise them and support them in any way during the placement.  A 24-hour helpline is also available to be used by our group leaders while on placement.  SERVE covers a Health, Safety and Security workshop during the pre-departure training. Volunteers should be well vaccinated and prepared before departing.

11. Can I stay on in the country after my placement ends to do my own travelling / sightseeing?

SERVE volunteers agree to travel out with the group and travel home with the group.  SERVE isnot in a position to allow for volunteers to do their own independent travelling at the end of a project.

12. What is accommodation like?

Accommodation can vary from placement to placement.  Some projects include staying with host families during the duration of the project.  On other placements volunteers can expect to be staying in group dormitories or in accommodation provided by the host community.  All of our accommodation is ensured to be safe and clean for volunteers.

13. What is covered on the SERVE pre-departure training days and is attendance necessary?

Attendance at all three training days is a compulsory requirement of being a SERVE volunteer.

Information covered on the training days includes:

      1. Introduction to SERVE’s work
      1. Vaccinations seminar
      1. Health and Safety
      1. Fundraising information and tips
      1. Development Education workshops
      1. Country and placement information
      1. Cultural Workshops
      1. Volunteer rights and responsibilities
      1. Volunteer expectations
      1. Child protection information session
      1. Group dynamics
      1. Stress management / self care
      1. Practical group activities

14. Will I get my first choice of project country destination?

We cannot guarantee that a volunteer will get their first choice. Due to the amount that apply and limited places, coupled with qualified volunteers for certain positions it is not always possible to place a volunteer where they want to go.  We ask all applicants to be flexible in their choice but we will do our best to match you with your preferred country or placement.

15. Do volunteers receive recognition for their volunteer involvement?

            • On the last weekend of October, following the overseas project, all volunteers will gather again in Glendalough, Co. Wicklow for the SERVE “Next Step Weekend”.  The Next Step Weekend will run from the Friday evening until Sunday lunch time.

This weekend will involve:

            • Evaluation and debriefing
            • Volunteer recognition and appreciation
            • Presentations of work done on project by volunteers
            • ‘Grounding your experience’
            • Signposting of further events/involvement
            • Volunteer Reunion and party

SERVE is also currently implementing the Global Citizen Award which entitles the volunteer to achieve a Gold, Silver or Bronze award in recognition of their volunteer experience and contribution.

Check here for further information:   Global Citizen Award

16. Are you a signatory of the Comhlamh Code of Good Practice in Volunteering?

Yes, SERVE has been a signatory to the Comhlamh Code of Good Practice in Volunteering since 2005.

The Comhlámh Code of Good Practice (CoGP) for Volunteer Sending Agencies is a set of standards for organisations involved in facilitating international volunteer placements in developing countries. The focus is to ensure overseas volunteering has a positive impact for the three main stakeholders: the volunteer, the sending agency, and the local project and community. Additionally, it reflects a number of core values. These are: partnership, quality, security, encouraging appropriate volunteer attitudes, valuing volunteering, sustainability, development education, solidarity, and the importance of contributing to development.

We undertake yearly self-audits of our volunteer programme and have succesfully completed two external audits in that time.
SERVE also provides all of its volunteers with a copy of the Comhlamh Volunteer Charter

The Comhlamh Volunteer Charter

The Volunteer Charter has been drawn up by Comhlámh, the Irish Association of Development Workers. Comhlámh has over 30 years’ experience of engaging with overseas volunteers and development workers. It was drawn up through extensive consultations with the three main groups involved in volunteer placements: volunteers, sending organisations, and host projects.

The Charter is a guide for people who are going to volunteer overseas in developing countries. It sets out seven principles that aim to encourage responsible, responsive international volunteering. Each of these principles contains a list of questions to help you make sure that you have thought about the issues raised, and to ensure that you know why they are important.

By agreeing to sign the Charter volunteers will be showing their support for the principles it sets out. As a volunteer, your attitude to your placement and to your host project and community will be crucial to the success of the work you will be involved with. Your support will help to ensure a spirit of partnership, solidarity and respect between you, your sending organisation, and the host project and community with which you volunteer.

>> Download the Volunteer Charter

Downloadable Material