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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 

TRAVELLERS' CSR:
OUR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES

"Wow – where do I start?? I have just had the most amazing experience of my life, the only bad part was that it had to come to an end."

A voluntary placement in a foreign and often exotic country is something you will appreciate for the rest of your life - you will certainly never forget it!

To read about the extensive Support & Backup we provide in our countries, please click here.

Travellers recognises that our social, environmental and ethical conduct has an impact upon our reputation, organisation development and personal development. We take our corporate social responsibilities (CSR) seriously and are committed to implementing our policies and systems across the Organisation around the world. These include:
  • good ethical behaviour,
  • concern for employee and volunteer health and safety,
  • care for the environment,
  • care for the local economy,
  • care for the communities we work in, and
  • moral responsibilities.

We aim to maintain a productive and open dialogue with all interested parties, including stakeholders (i.e. the beneficiaries of the help we and our volunteers provide), volunteers, employees and partners & affiliates.  

Our aim is to create always a win-win-win situation in terms of the benefits for the local communities and institutions that we work in, for Travellers, and for the Volunteer. We do not embark on any project that is not beneficial to the communities, institutes or volunteers. We conduct regular volunteer satisfaction surveys to monitor our performance and we maintain our website as one of the main routes for providing information to interested parties and for contacting us.

Travellers take responsibility for CSR and are committed to developing and implementing appropriate policies to create and maintain long-term value for recipients. Sound organisation ethics makes business sense by helping to minimise risk, ensuring legal compliance, enhancing company efficiency and building reputation amongst stakeholders.

Business Ethics
We endeavour to conduct all our business activities ethically and in compliance with applicable national and international laws. Appropriate ethical behaviour is constantly reviewed during our day-to-day working practice.

We have extended this code to the organisations we work with, as far as is possible when dealing with different cultures and third-world countries.

Concern for employees and good employment practices
Travellers aims to attract, retain and motivate the highest calibre of employees within a structure that encourages their development and initiative. In our overseas destinations we endeavour to employ local staff wherever possible. By doing this we are able to help the local economy and provide necessary employment to a number of individuals within the community. In some destinations we employ as many as 30 staff alongside our Country Manager, such as; volunteer liaison officers, work supervisors, cooks, house keepers, house-mothers, cleaners, drivers and security personnel.

We believe in paying our overseas staff fairly. Many are rewarded with higher than average wages for local standards.

Health and Safety
As far as is possible when dealing with different cultures, we have responsibility for the health, safety and environmental performance of our operational areas. Travellers is committed to trying to meet all relevant health and safety legislation, regulation and codes of practice, within the limitations of the constraints imposed in our destination countries. Our health and safety performance and significant risk exposures are reviewed regularly.

Travellers produced an extensive and comprehensive booklet on ‘safety whilst travelling’ in order to promote sensible awareness amongst travellers. This booklet is free to download on our website for all travellers, not just our volunteers.

Care for the Environment
Good environmental practice and the impact our operations have on the environment are of great importance to Travellers. The main aim is to comply with all relevant legislation in all areas in which we operate and to adopt responsible environmental practices.

In our UK office we minimise waste by following re-use and recycle policies. In our overseas destinations we ensure volunteers are informed about the customs and cultures of the countries they are visiting and encourage them to respect the local environment and host community.

We provide projects to enable voluntary assistance in areas of environmental conservation and believe that education and first hand experience of the environment promotes a deeper care and affinity for nature. By enabling volunteers to experience the effects of environmental practices first-hand (such as coral decay, the obliteration of rainforests for palm oil) we feel that Travellers is contributing to a wider education of Western society.

Care for local economies
With the increase of overseas tourism, there is a growing concern of the possible negative impact of tourism on the local econoy, environment and culture. We have an important role in encouraging responsible tourism, to minimise damage and improve and protect the environment for future generations.

At Travellers we encourage volunteers to support the local economy in as many ways as possible. For example:

  • We encourage our volunteers to make the most of local opportunities available to them, such as shopping at local markets, eating in local restaurants and using local services and transport.
  • In almost all cases our staff force in-destination are locally employed workers.
  • We encourage volunteers to pay fairly for goods and services. We believe that over payment for goods and services or payment to beggars can have negative consequences and result in the over-reliance of tourism within the local community.
  • We strongly advise against purchasing wildlife souvenirs or anything which may perpetuate the death or cruel treatment of animals for the purpose of profit.

Care for the Community, and Community Involvement
Travellers recognises the role that local communities play in our organisation.

  • We aspire to be a responsible partner in the communities in which we operate.
  • We encourage all our overseas units to support the particular needs of their communities and the organisation as a whole contributes to local overseas charities and community initiatives.
  • We advise on dress codes and codes of behaviour in all of our destination countries to ensure volunteers don’t cause offence to local communities.
  • We make as many donations as possible to local communities and, where possible, we choose projects which are focused around providing long-term contributions.
  • Many of our Country Managers are involved in local activities within the community and are respected for their good will and contribution to society. We select our Country Managers with such attributes in mind and communication between the local community and Travellers is open and honest. If a program run by Travellers were to cause problem or offence locally, we would endeavour to rectify any such problem or offence as a matter of highest priority.

Moral Responsibilities
We have a high sense of moral responsibility towards our volunteers and the organisations we work with. Unfortunately, in some countries we work with organisations whose moral obligations are not in line with ours. However, we believe our involvement in such organisations is crucial in establishing change, even if this change only occurs over a significant period of time. For example:

Animal Welfare: We have concerns over the animal welfare in one or two of the captive animal sanctuaries or zoos that we work with. We believe that all animals should be free, but where this is not possible, we believe that animals in captivity should have as much similarity to their natural environment as possible and as good a quality of life as possible. Therefore, although we may not agree with the morals of one or two institutions that we support, we see an important role for ourselves as the provider of voluntary assistance because change can only be brought about from the inside, not from the outside as a spectator. Any small steps taken to alleviate the suffering of animals can only improve their quality of life, thus we aim to improve conditions in these centres by our presence. Just one volunteer can make a direct and positive impact on an animal’s welfare, which we believe is enough to keep our program going, despite not agreeing with the overall objectives of such captive animal sanctuaries.

Child Welfare: In a small selection of schools that we work with corporal punishment is used. We don’t agree with this system but feel that we are making an important contribution by continuing to provide voluntary assistance to these schools. Through our volunteers we are able to demonstrate that corporal punishment is not necessary and that there are ways to encourage good behaviour by displaying positive reinforcement.

Summary
Travellers are committed to reviewing our policies and adding to them, wherever possible. We welcome suggestions and feedback on our services and take all comments seriously. We believe deeply that Travellers makes a positive and lasting impact upon the environments, communities, institutions, volunteers and all stakeholders that we work with, by providing placement opportunities whilst ensuring that our own ethical standards are met.

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