Australian Volunteers International


Responsible Volunteering

As the first international volunteering for development agency in the world, AVI created a global movement, paving the way for similar organisations right around the world. For this reason, other Volunteer Sending Organisations (VSOs) look to AVI for guidance on what Responsible International Volunteering for Development truly means.

Never has this been more important as we witness an alarming rise in the number of entities contributing to the trend of Volunteer Tourism, or ‘Voluntourism’.

AVI is deeply committed to living out its values and upholding its reputation as an ethical, sector leader in responsible volunteering for development. Bound by our locally driven, strengths-based approach, built on partnerships of mutual respect and trust, everything we do is underpinned by respect for the universal protection of human rights.

Of course, AVI takes the protection of society’s most vulnerable – children – extremely seriously. Child Protection Policy sets out our obligations, standards and procedures to protect and safeguard children. Our obligations, which include rigorous background checking for all volunteers and staff, are underpinned by our commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

We actively seek to collaborate with our international counterparts through global networks such as the International Forum for Volunteering for Development (Forum) and remain at the forefront of research and best practice in the sector.

Since 2017, as a member of the Forum’s Standards Working Group, AVI has played an active role in leading the development of The Global Volunteering Standard. This Standard provides organisations and professionals who work with volunteers with a valuable tool to help them better understand good practice in volunteering for development, including:

  • Designing & Delivering Projects;
  • Duty of Care;
  • Managing Volunteers; and
  • Measuring Impact.

We also encourage you to download the Responsible International Volunteering for Development practice note, prepared by AVI in collaboration with ACFID member organisations. This practice note, based on AVI’s six decade of experience facilitating skilled volunteer placements, highlights the importance of:

  • Respecting human rights and advancing social inclusion;
  • Ensuring programs and their priorities are locally defined and led;
  • Focus on long-term sustainability;
  • Adapting to international contexts;
  • Providing volunteer assistance that secures constructive impact;
  • Ensuring safeguards are in place to protect communities and volunteers; and
  • Responsible program management.