Global service-learning programs that send volunteers to developing countries can be transformative experiences for both participants and local communities. However, these programs can have certain drawbacks: They can simplify complex issues, cause disruption in local communities, or allow a volunteer’s experience to take precedence over the needs of local community members. In order to ensure an ethical program, global service experiences must be designed in collaboration with a local community partner, have clear goals, and provide proper preparation for volunteers. Ongoing evaluation, adaptation, and communication are key to ensuring a program’s ethical standards remain high and its impact remains strong. As such, ethical global service is one of the topics on which OLAM’s Aspire Ethical Practices Program is focused.
See OLAM’s ethical global service spectrum tool, which can help organizations working in the field of international development identify potential areas for improvement in their global service practices.
- Resources that expand on ethical global service practices
- More about OLAM’s Aspire program