02 September 2009 ~ 10 Comments


Enough stamping our feet about what isn’t working in voluntourism! This site was an idea for something we needed when we were searching for resources on how to improve our volunteer travel offerings at PEPY Tours. We knew that we couldn’t be  our own auditor and needed an outside resource or body to help us evaluate our tour offerings. We found lots of responsible tourism guidelines but nothing similar for volunteer travel so we decided to do the research and make one ourselves. This will soon go live on a page called Voluntourism101, but in the meantime it is here for all you voluntourism operators and critics to give input on.

Thanks to Karina Kloos who did the research for this project while volunteering with PEPY, to all of the PEPY staff who have edited, brainstormed, and requested a resource like this for quite some time, and special thanks to all of YOU, including tour operators, academics, and development workers who added thoughts and opinions. Extra thanks to VoluntourismGal and XOLA who added and thoughts and who are helping too promote these!

We would be happy if you put these on your site or share them with others. Please link to www.pepytours.com if you do as the document was created by PEPY volunteers.  Many thanks!

Click here to download the Voluntourism101 Self-Check Tool

* This document was researched and compiled by PEPY volunteers (www.pepytours.com)

  • http://www.voluntourism.co.uk Len Hough


    Great guidlines and needed throughout the providers.

    Can we put these on our site as a reference to operators etc?

    Kind regards


  • http://www.childrenraisethevillage.com Michelle Blair

    This document is so thoughtfully composed and addresses so many of the key issues in voluntourism. Well done. I know you’ve structured the document for tour providers, but I think travelers can benefit from this knowledge, as well. It arms them with the questions they should be asking a provider before signing on to a tour.

    After taking a volunteer vacation with my children (ages 8 & 11) to the Quileute Indian Reservation this June, I decided to start a blog, http://www.childrenraisethevillage.com. My hope is to provide a responsible, central resource and dialogue about volunteer tourism for families with young children who are interested in this kind of travel.

    I look forward to seeing the up and running Voluntourism 101 website and will surely link to that from my blog.

  • http://lessonsilearned.org daniela

    Len – Of course! We would love it if you would reference that the research was conducted by PEPY Tours (www.pepytours.com) and very soon you should be able to link to voluntourism101 where there will be links to all groups who contributed their feedback. Many thanks for passing this on!

    Michelle – Same to you. Thank you for sharing this information with others who might find it useful. We appreciate it and do hope that this will help all areas of the voluntourism sector including the travel-agent-esque groups selling volunteers aboard to help them pick the best operators, those on the ground to evaluate their offerings, and travelers themselves to help find the best match. In the future, we hope to have Voluntourism101 include additional resources for all of these groups – perhaps just links to all of the great work already out there in the cyber world. If you know of other useful tools we should be linking to as we continue to develop the site, please let us know!

  • Barb Hautanen

    Very impressive! I have done 10 international volunteer projects (healthcare & animals) & have worked with some great organizations & some not so good. I love the comprehensiveness of this list. I will use it as a guide as I plan future volunteer trips.

  • http://www.voluntraveler.com Jason Kucherawy (Voluntraveler)

    Very nice work Daniela and PEPY Tours staff and volunteers. I’ve read over it all a few times and can’t think of anything that you’ve overlooked.

  • http://www.pepyride.org Daniela Papi

    The document is now downloadable in PDF format. It is designed to serve as a self-check tool for the those working in the voluntourism sector. Indicators which provide proof to answers to the guideline’s questions can be tracked as well as next steps to move towards improvements in the areas where the operator is looking to improve in.

    We welcome feedback and ideas for improvement!