The Australian Government has launched a new campaign to prevent Australians from inadvertently contributing to child exploitation through the practice of orphanage tourism, including by participating in misleading volunteer programs.
The Smart Volunteering Campaign discourages Australians from any form of short-term, unskilled volunteering in overseas orphanages and provides guidelines on how to be a child-safe volunteer.
While volunteering is ‘time willingly given’, many Australians volunteering overseas may be unknowingly contributing to child exploitation or modern day slavery. It is integral that Australian volunteers conduct thorough research prior to considering international volunteering opportunities.
Volunteering Australia urges the use of the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement as a best-practice guide for volunteer participation, and to conduct volunteer programs.
The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement have been developed in consultation with the volunteering sector to support the involvement of volunteers and act as a resource for volunteer involving organisations. The Standards are a best-practice framework for volunteer management, covering eight fundamental areas of volunteer involvement. The Standards encourage organisations to consider the role of volunteers within their organisations, and the impact that effective volunteer involvement can have on achieving both strategic and operational goals. The guidelines provided by the Standards are in line with the principles of natural justice, and seek to ensure that organisations and volunteers do not engage in harmful practices.
Volunteering Australia will continue to work with the sector, the Government and stakeholders to inform on best-practice volunteering. For more information on the Standards visit: www.volunteeringaustralia.org/policy-advocacy/national-standards-and-supporting-material/
To find out more about the Smart Volunteering Program visit: http://dfat.gov.au/people-to-people/volunteers/Pages/volunteers.aspx