Recommended Reading

InterVol recommends the following learning resources on international development, education, and volunteering responsibly, many of which are free to download and access. We also recommend that you read and watch as much as you can about your host country as possible, both historically and culturally, ahead of your work overseas:

A great free resource from Lonely Planet, there is lots of critical discussion on how to volunteer responsibly as well as practical guidance on the logistics. We are listed as a ‘Useful Website’ at the back so please take that advice!


An insightful document from IDS & VSO that analyses how volunteering can contribute to sustainable development. Though dense in parts this is a thorough piece of research across a number of countries demonstrating the importance of volunteers for building capacity and bridging gaps in NGO and government services.

The British Council have hundreds of lesson plans available for a range of age groups, which you can use if you are on a project that supports teaching activities. These can also give you tips on delivering education in an interactive and stimulating way. Do check out their great video tips for teaching young children also.

A powerful introduction to making a positive and pro-active impact as an international volunteer. This contains useful guidance on communicating your message and using social media effectively which are useful for recruitment and fundraising.

While this free book from Rough Guides and DFID is slightly old, the opening section on Global Development is a great introduction to the field.

A new publication that strongly highlights the challenges and impact that international volunteers can have across a number of case studies and stories from different countries and contexts. A very critical and people-centered publication that looks at how you can make the best impact while also developing your own skills.

A great introduction to how international volunteering fits into the broader field of international development, including an analysis of different types of volunteering and good practices to follow when working overseas.

An in-depth website listing the 17 SDGs set by the United Nations to address global poverty, health and education by 2030. The site goes into detail on the targets set to meet each of the 17 goals. This site is a useful resource to get a broad perspective of the key issues in international development today, each goal has a downloadable (and quite digestible) document when you click through. For example, Goal 1: Ending Poverty (PDF document download).

Looking for a more academic treatise on international development? Try this detailed subject guide from the University of London (Chapters 1-4 available). This is recommended for those with a basic background in economics and has a wealth of recommended further readings.