Since 2003, over 650 student volunteers have taken part in international volunteering projects through InterVol and our partner charities around the world. Our volunteers have provided more than 100,000 hours of hard work, focusing on humanitarian, conservation, education and community development projects, particularly in developing countries. Our volunteers have also raised over £250,000 of grant funding during this time, which has gone directly to our partner charities.
InterVol is in place to give a sustainable, transparent and ethical structure to connect young people in the United Kingdom with trustworthy, community-owned projects abroad. We want to make international volunteering projects accessible and rewarding for students.
We maximise the long-term impact that student volunteers can have through our two-part model of volunteering, with an initial focus on local volunteering in the UK prior to taking part in projects abroad. We focus on overseas initiatives that build the capacity of non-governmental organisations and communities and require specific skills that our volunteers can contribute. Initial participation in local UK initiatives to develop and enhance existing skills in a familiar setting is therefore an important part of making sure volunteers’ time spent on international projects is impactful and ethical.
InterVol runs a selection process each year to find volunteers who have the skills to succeed on an international project, as well as the passion to improve their skills both before and during their placement overseas. Volunteers financially contribute for their own travel, insurance, training and accommodation expenses. Each team has a fundraising target to cover the costs of their main project objective. All of these funds are spent on the project itself as InterVol is run entirely by volunteers. InterVol is not a ‘voluntourism’ organisation and does not support volunteering in orphanages; our projects are designed hand-in-hand with local partners and with the long-term needs of beneficiaries, partner charities and communities in mind.
InterVol was founded at the University of Birmingham in 2003 and has since expanded to have groups at Imperial College London, Lancaster University, the University of Nottingham and Oxford Brookes University.
Student International Development Network (SIDN)
Around the time that InterVol was established in 2003 a new network of student-led international volunteering organisations from around the UK came together to share their knowledge and learn from each other.
InterVol was one of the founding partners of the Student International Development Network (SIDN) which has now been bringing together student-led international volunteering organisations in the UK for over a decade. SIDN, originally called the Student Volunteering Overseas Partnership, uses annual conferences to share best practices in the field of international volunteering and the charities also group together for organisational liability and emergency assistance insurance.
The core members of SIDN are InterVol, Bristol Volunteers for Development Abroad (Bristol University), Student Volunteers Abroad (Glasgow University), and Edinburgh Global Projects (Edinburgh University).
The 2019 SIDN Forum was held by Edinburgh Global Partnerships. Please see the SIDN Facebook page for more information.
Photo: Nepal 2013 project with PSD Nepal, extra-curricular games with local schoolchildren, by Faheem Hussain.