What support is provided?

Whilst many of our partners are small community organisations with limited resources, their support will be first class and your welfare their primary concern. Unlike tourists volunteers will seldom find themselves alone; from airport pickups to assistance with accommodation and daily commutes the support will be heartfelt and personal. You will instantly feel welcomed as a new member of the team. We will arrange calls between you and your hosts before you travel, so you can make friends and chat about some of the smaller details.

AfID takes volunteer security and safety very seriously, our experienced programmes team is available to help with any issues 24/7. Avoiding unacceptable risk and minimising acceptable risk is a duty and responsibility shared by AfID, the volunteer and the overseas host partner, however we do our best to prepare volunteers and give advice as to how to avoid and deal with all potential risks. 

Are the countries safe?
Partner countries must be politically stable and safe. If they are not, assignments there will not be an option for you. We work closely with many established and well respected local and international charities on the ground along with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ensure that safety information and advice given to volunteers is as up-to-date and accurate as possible.
Do women encounter any special problems?
No. In our experience and from speaking to over 500 female volunteers, women do not experience any more problems than perhaps the odd curious stare. However, when volunteering, regardless of the country, women always need to be careful. Providing you are aware of the possible dangers and prepared for the differences a foreign country will present to you, you should not have any problems. 
The most important pieces of advice for a female traveller are to be aware of cultural differences. Each assignment will begin with an induction with the head of your host partner; he or she will discuss cultural norms and be able to give you great local advice on all things. They are keen for you to enjoy your stay, so be sure to ask lots of questions and don’t be shy to raise any concerns. We have found that your hosts are often more than happy to act as local guides and show off their country but may wait to be asked.
Be aware of local attitudes toward women -  do women tend to wear concealing clothes? If so, don't draw attention to yourself with short shorts, plunging necklines or tight tops. Many women travel experts recommend wearing long, loose-fitting clothes when traveling, which also offers the added benefit of concealing money belts. It's also not a good idea to wear flashy jewellery or show a lot of money in public places.
You will find the people you meet are incredibly polite and friendly, but don't do anything that you couldn’t imagine a local woman doing (or yourself doing at home), like accompanying strangers on trips or accepting rides from men you don't know. 
In some cultures, a woman travelling alone is considered to be available. If you want to ward off unwanted advances, try wearing a (fake) wedding ring and avoid eye contact with unknown men, as this may be construed as an invitation.
We are here for you, so always inform us and your hosts of any changes to your travel plans and leave a copy of your itinerary with a friend or family member back home. If you leave your guesthouse or homestay to go for a walk or a trip, let them know when you’ll be back. Your host partner will help you acquire a local sim card for your phone, so be sure to swap numbers and pass on your new number to us. We will be in regular contact but please check in regularly – we love to hear how you’re getting on.
This may sound funny, but walk confidently as though you know exactly where you're going, even if you don't! Don't stop in the middle of the road to look at a map or rifle through your purse; distracted volunteers can be easy prey for thieves.
The most important piece of advice for a female volunteer is to do your research. Our past volunteers and programmes team are a great source of information. Take local advice but trust your instincts and always err on the side of caution and if at any time you feel uncomfortable or unsure about a situation, please give us a call, we are always happy to help.