I was lucky to be invited to do a BBC Four Thought Talk which was recorded a few weeks ago and will air tonight (8:45pm UK Time). The first draft of the talk was about 9000 words, which I cut down to a 3000 word radio talk, and then was boiled down to a 1000 word BBC New article that is therefor a watered down version of my thoughts but which you can read here if you like:
There are a ton of comments on it already…. clearly this is a nuanced issue – where certainly not all “voluntourism” is good, but just as certainly, not all of it is horrible. I do advocate for a “guilty until proven innocent” approach to donating time and money to non-profits, as I feel that generally there isn’t enough research going into the donation or volunteer travel decision making, but that doesn’t mean I think all NGOs are bad. I just think that, if you have good intentions and you want to do go, it is really important to then do research to make sure your time and money are indeed being used as a force for positive change, rather than the opposite!
If you want the LONG version of my thoughts (and those of the other three co-authors), the Learning Service team and I are working on a book, designed to help people more effectively navigate their decisions when considering volunteering overseas. Our Indiegogo campaign is live here, if you want to pass it on! Thanks!
Tune in tonight for the talk, if you are interested!