Since 2003 over 600 student volunteers have taken part in international projects through InterVol and our partner charities in developing countries. Our volunteers have provided more than 100,000 hours of hard work in developing countries, focusing on education, conservation and community development projects. Our volunteers have also raised over £200,000 of grant funding during this time which has gone directly to our partner charities overseas.
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 in the developing world. We want to make international volunteering projects accessible, affordable and rewarding for students. We maximise the long-term impact that young volunteers can make by focusing on initiatives that build the capacity of non-governmental organisations and communities and require specific skills that our volunteers can contribute.
InterVol runs a selection process each year to find volunteers who have the enthusiasm and ability to succeed on an international project. 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. InterVol is run entirely by volunteers to keep costs low.
InterVol currently has branches at the University of Birmingham, Imperial College London, Lancaster University, the University of Nottingham and the University of Oxford.
What makes us different?
InterVol provides ethical international volunteering opportunities for volunteers in the United Kingdom through long-term partnerships with grass-roots organisations in developing countries.
We have quite a few things that make us different to other organisations offering international volunteering opportunities:
1. Our student-led groups at UK universities work directly with partner charities in developing countries to work out what activities require both the time investment of volunteers and financial investment to create positive change in communities, children’s centres and schools.
2. We train our volunteers in the United Kingdom and select volunteers based on their skills to allow them to thrive on an overseas project and be valuable assets to our partner organisations. This means that volunteers are prepared and appropriately-skilled to work on their projects and can make the most of the learning experience. We do not provide provide volunteers to teach or work as skilled labourers; our volunteers assist and support NGO and school staff.
3. Our trustees and committees annually evaluate projects based on feedback from both partners and volunteers annually and only run projects if there is a clear need for volunteers and a specific project goal.
4. We are a registered charity in the United Kingdom and are run entirely by volunteers. This means that every penny raised by our volunteers goes to our overseas projects. Volunteers cover their own travel, accommodation and insurance costs so all donations are earmarked for direct project contributions.
5. We partner with organisations on a long-term basis, allowing long-term planning and sustainable development. Our longest partnerships have now been running for over 10 years while our ongoing support to organisations in Ecuador (Santa Lucia Reserve, 6 years) and South Africa (Horizon Farm Trust, 8 years) has allowed them to strengthen their work and become more self-sufficient.
Student Volunteering Overseas Partnership (SVOP)
Around the time that InterVol was established in 2003 a new partnership of student-led international volunteering organisations from around the UK came together to share their knowledge and experiences.
InterVol was one of the founding partners of the Student Volunteering Overseas Partnership (SVOP) which has now been bringing together student-led international volunteering organisations in the UK for over a decade. SVOP uses annual conferences and online resources to share best practices in the field of international volunteering and the charities also group together for liability insurance.
The core members of SVOP are InterVol, Oxford Development Abroad (Oxford University), Bristol Volunteers for Development Abroad (Bristol University), Student Volunteers Abroad (Glasgow University), Strathclyde International Development (Strathclyde University), Edinburgh Global Projects (Edinburgh University) and DARE (Dundee University).
The 2015/16 SVOP Conference was hosted by Student Volunteers Abroad (SVA) at Glasgow University. Please see the SVOP Facebook page for more information.
Photo: Nepal 2013, by Faheem Hussain.