InterVol recommends the following videos and films on international development, community development and volunteering overseas responsibly, which are free to view online. We have selected them to match-up with our training day agenda where we discuss the motivations behind international volunteering. We recommend that you read as much as you can about your host country as possible, both historically and culturally, ahead of your work overseas. Learning some of the local language is also strongly recommended.
The following resources are listed in a logical order so that you can progress through in a series. Please note that these videos are meant as an introduction only and are not a definitive standpoint, they are intended to introduce the topics and we encourage you to find other sources to expand your knowledge alongside your volunteering work.
- A Very Brief History of Development. A short introduction to key issues in international development today and the historical context.
2. The Voluntourist. A half-hour film on the pitfalls of badly thought-out ‘voluntourism’ projects. This film is an eye-opener for short-term, low-impact projects that charge volunteers to attend. Please compare with the steps we take at InterVol to ensure our approach is sustainable, we do not consider ourselves a ‘voluntourism’ charity, but it is important for volunteers to be aware of these critiques.
3. Think Before you Volunteer. A short humorous video by VSO Cambodia highlighting some of the key issues with unskilled volunteers coming in to communities. Reflect on steps that we take at InterVol to recruit volunteers who already have relevant experience or are connected with UK charities ahead of their placement to enhance their skills.
4. Safeguarding Training Resource. For all volunteers planning on working with or interacting with children on their projects we recommend watching this video (you will be trained on child protection at your InterVol training day and through your student union if necessary). There is some group work so we recommend you watch this with some of your group members.
5. There you go! A short video by Survival International highlighting some of the potential pit-falls of going into a community with a mind-set of changing their way of life “for the better”. Reflect on what a better approach would have been to engage productively with the community?
6. Sustainable community development: from what’s wrong to what’s right. A TEDx talk by Cormac Russell highlighting approaches to community development work that build on the strengths that communities already have rather than aiming to address weaknesses. Compare this with the brief video above: ‘There you go!’. At InterVol we partner with strong local organisations that know the best approaches to achieve community-owned development that can have long-term impacts.
7. Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! A TedX talk by Ernesto Sirolli. Ernesto presents his own experiences of working on project work in Africa and how communities need to be empowered and listened to rather than told what to do (first 10 minutes recommended). At InterVol our partnerships with local organisations mean we always design our placements to build the capacity of local approaches to improve sustainability.
8. How to measure success of international development projects. A Tedx talk by Benjamin Bogardus that frames the basic questions around measuring how much impact international development projects have. This is important for reflection on projects both during and after they take place to ensure mistakes are learnt from and impacts are maximised.