Guidelines - Responsible Exchange and Volunteering 2018
communicating with the host organisation prior to arriving on the project and they will therefore be more easily assimilated into the project environment.
Irrespective of the approach, all projects should have as a minimum the following in place:
a. A Specific Program to orientate new participants – the partners must agree on the topics to be covered and by whom; include an introductory site visit and detailed overview to the project, including its history; allow for the participant to meet the team and partner organisation. b. Understand the participant by getting insights into the motivations to undertake a volunteering/exchange experience; their choice of destination; chosen exchange format or project; their expectations etc. This can be done as a formal or informal engagement. c. Manage expectations – managing expectations of both the participant as well as your organisation’s staff is important. It is not unusual for participants to have an expectation for the exchange that is far removed from the reality. This should be understood by the host organisation and these expectations should be managed early in the project. Part of managing expectations is to understand participant anxieties and their fears as it relates to their placement. Similarly, your organisation may have unrealistic expectations of what the participant can achieve. This can lead to tensions in the working environment and detract from the overall experience and value of the exchange for all parties. Monitor the participant – organisation relationship, their abilities to carry out the expected roles and responsibilities and be reflexive in your implementation to ensure you are achieving a “best - match” scenario. Effective partner matching, pre -departure preparation and a strong orientation tend to reduce the amount of expectation management that is required. d. Outline “ Monitoring and Evaluation ” (click or see page 40) processes to be undertaken through their stay – M&E is important for your organisation to understand and track as well as inform change and improve operations as a host or sending organisation. Participants must be aware of your M&E methodology and appreciate their role in optimizing this process.
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