Our Safety and Security Policy

There are inherent risks in traveling anywhere in the world, especially in developing countries. However, since 1984, and with tens of thousands of volunteers working worldwide, Global Volunteers has maintained a top safety record. This is because "safety trumps everything" in everything we do. We do our best to provide safe, comfortable and clean lodging in all host communities. Your meals are prepared by qualified cooks. Most important, Global Volunteers always observes travel warnings issued by the U.S. State Department, even if it means canceling a service program.

While we take every reasonable precaution to protect your safety, as is the case in all travel, you are primarily responsible for your personal safety. Here's what you can count on from us with every service program:

  • Our team leaders participate in annual comprehensive training, which includes CPR and first-aid certification, and protocols for managing personal and national emergencies.
  • Where it is advisable, we register all team members with the attending U.S. Embassy.
  • Volunteers serving outside of the U.S. are covered by emergency medical evacuation insurance.
  • Global Volunteers' emergency contact is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • We provide a section on "staying healthy" in the volunteer manual every team member receives.
  • Food, lodging and transportation arranged for volunteer teams are done in a manner to maximize health and safety.

If you're hearing the question, "You're going where?" from family and friends, you're not alone. While our volunteers rarely let world headlines keep them from their destinations, their loved ones back home often need extra reassurance. Here are some important facts:

Our partner communities rarely become involved in political unrest. Because volunteers travel as representatives of Global Volunteers, not as tourists, team members are accepted as "friends" in the host communities, and as such, are afforded an extra measure of safety. Additionally, volunteers work together as a team, and never need be alone in the host community.

If you or your family members are concerned about your security in a host community, contact us for current information. For information on immunizations and infectious diseases, refer to the website for the Center for Disease Control for the latest information about suggested immunizations and travel advice.

Overall, be aware that the headlines can overstate or exaggerate reality. Be a world-wise traveler, but don't let the headlines keep you from leaving your mark on the world. While Global Volunteers has never had a health or safety circumstance that couldn't be resolved quickly and thoroughly, inherent risks and dangers are part of travelling or staying in any foreign country. These include, but are not limited to, travel on dangerous roads, different hygienic standards; infrastructure challenges (including unsafe roads, road maintenance, transportation delays and accommodation conditions); forces of nature, geographic/climate conditions; civil unrest or terrorism; travel by motorcycle, bicycle, train, foot, automobile, aircraft, raft, boat, bus, van or other conveyance; the hazards of traveling in mountainous terrain, high altitude and undeveloped areas; significantly lower standards of healthcare, infectious diseases, and accident or illness in remote regions without means of rapid evacuation or availability of adequate medical supplies and facilities.

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