The dos and don’ts of volunteering!

Looking into the jungle of volunteering projects can be both confusing and disheartening. It is very important to look into the values of the organisations behind the projects.


1. Detailed research before deciding on a programme

2. Examine your reasons for wanting to volunteer. Remember: Good intentions are not good enough. If you want to “make a difference” a few weeks of volunteering will not be of use.

3. Ensure the programme includes training

4. Make sure the project is community centred and has long-term aims. A good project will run with our without international volunteers.

5. Get familiar with the culture of the country

6. Be respectful when taking pictures. Ask permission from parents before you photograph children. Do remember to name people in the captions.

7. Work hard WITH the people not FOR them

8. Remember you are not the important one. This is not about you.


1. Go volunteering for tourist purposes

2. Decide without talking to people who have done it

3. Make compromises in quality of the organization or programme

4. Assume you are the expert at the project (you are not)

5. Assume the same traditions and way of communication apply everywhere

6. Generalize or disrespect the country’s people (willingly or unwillingly – do your research)

7. Keep a biased mind – 
not everything you have heard is true

8. Do something because you thought it will be good – always consult the community first



Lindersvold is an international learning center that facilitates courses in community development and certification in non-traditional pedagogy. Our Center provides an opportunity to learn about the big issues of our time while preparing to assist community-driven projects in Zambia, Malawi or Mozambique. We believe in combining hands-on training with theoretical knowledge, alongside community living, gives students the best foundation for working with sustainable development and vulnerable youth.

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