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#Connecting to Community #Eco-Friendly Travel #Green Travel #Voluntourism


Alidia Vane

If you’re passionate about both traveling and making a difference, then you should consider voluntourism for your next adventure. Voluntourism is a way to travel while contributing to projects that support local communities and ecosystems. If you’re a current student, some programs can even be counted for internship or study abroad credit.

Whether you’re passionate about reforestation, sustainable agriculture, or another cause, there are a variety of voluntourism opportunities available to suit your interests. Here are three (3) examples of voluntourism organizations; additional examples can be found at the “Action” link below:

  • Go Overseas is an online database of over 15,000 voluntourism programs, complete with detailed descriptions and community reviews. If you’re looking to explore the wide variety of voluntourism programs, this is a great place to start.
  • Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is a worldwide work exchange program that connects organic farmers with volunteers, also known as “WWOOFers.” WWOOFers share in the daily life of their host farm, supporting the farm while developing their own practical skills in farming and sustainable living.
  • Kaya Travel is an organization that matches individuals to locally-led initiatives around the world. Their trips charge program fees, which cover accommodation and other expenses, but the organization does offer suggestions on how to obtain scholarships and/or fundraise to offset your costs.

While the intention of voluntourism projects and their participants is to do good, harmful and unethical programs do operate under the guise of voluntourism. Irresponsible practices, such as setting up projects just to accommodate paying volunteers, don’t only waste everyone’s time, but can also cause lasting damage to the surrounding community and environment. It’s important to research the ethical practices of any program you’re interested in. If an organization doesn’t make their practices clear, don’t be afraid to ask!

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