Safety & Backup
This is an important part of the service Projects Abroad offers you. Your safety and security is our primary concern and we have many systems in place to ensure that you have the support you need to enjoy your placement with peace of mind.
First and foremost, the countries must be politically stable and safe. If they are not, we don't go. We take the advice of government offices from around the world regarding the safety and stability of our destinations and of course, we have the added insight of our own full-time local staff who give an extra layer of knowledge and assurance.
Once you've been accepted on to our projects, you'll receive a personalised website called MyProjectsAbroad. This is a central reference point for all your preparation needs, from visas and packing lists to dress codes and insurance. You will also be in contact with your Volunteer Advisor who is based overseas and who, along with the Australian office, is always available to give advice and answer any questions you may have as your departure date nears. There are also Facebook groups where you can connect with past and future volunteers.
Before you go you will be allocated your placement details. This includes addresses and phone numbers for your host family and details regarding your placement and supervisor.
We believe our in-country support to be unparalleled. Every single one of the countries we work in has a team of fully trained, full-time local staff. The local offices act as a point of contact with our staff and a general meeting point for volunteers. Our permanent overseas staff organise the details of your placements and accommodation according to strict criteria and high standards. They are there to assist with any concerns, problems, advice, and general administration that may arise during your time away. They are available during the day at the office and directly contactable 24 hours a day by phone.
Our overseas staff regularly visit host-families, volunteers and placements to ensure that everything is running smoothly. We maintain a cycle of monitoring all volunteer accommodation and placements. On arrival, our staff will make a final check that your accommodation and arrangements for your placement are acceptable. Again, during the first week we shall be in contact to ensure all is satisfactory. After the first week, volunteers vary in the amount of contact that they need with local staff; however, we actively check on the status of every volunteer weekly - through direct contact or through the host family.
All accommodation is checked regularly by our overseas staff. Accommodation is only accepted if it is clean, hygienic and comfortable. If you are staying with a host family we strive to have at least one member of the family who is able to speak some basic English (or French in our Francophone destinations), and the family will understand Projects Abroad's aims. They must also be interested in having an English speaker to stay. Detailed records are kept of every host family, and these are updated after inspection visits. Checks of all accommodation, whether with a host family or shared volunteer accommodation, are made before and during volunteers' stays.
Each volunteer, regardless of whether on a Teaching, Medical, Conservation, or other placement is allocated a supervisor. The supervisor is not only responsible for enabling volunteers to carry out their work, but also for ensuring that they are happy and assisting with any problems or concerns.
We will meet you at the airport (or local place of arrival) unless you request otherwise. We use our own members of staff in the vast majority of countries, but in some cases it is necessary to use an approved transfer company to pick volunteers up from the airport. You will be met by someone carrying a Projects Abroad sign, who will welcome you with your full name. They will carry some form of identification that you can validate. It is also our responsibility to help you get back to the normal international point of departure at the end of your placement, unless you are adding on extra independent travel time.
All volunteers have an induction to the country and area where they'll be living. This varies from country to country but generally includes:
- A Welcome Pack with details of the local office and other volunteers, maps, and other useful information (such as banks, doctors, and public transport);
- A tour of the area on local transport that you'll need to use regularly (such as tro-tros in Ghana);
- We'll advise you on local customs and what to expect while you are away and help you feel confident in your new environment.
All of our volunteers are covered by our medical and travel insurance. If a volunteer falls ill, our overseas staff we will be on-hand to assist with hospital arrangements and insurance liaison, and will, of course, make sure that the patient is comfortable and receiving the best possible care.