Why Pay to Volunteer Abroad?

People who are considering volunteering overseas sometimes express surprise at being asked to pay a participation fee. However, it needs to be remembered that volunteering can be an expensive undertaking, with possible costs including pre-departure and on-arrival workshops or briefings, language training, selection and screening of projects and accommodations, local transportation, food, ongoing program monitoring and 24 hours x 7 day emergency support. To provide participants with a consistently high quality programme it is also necessary to employ staff and maintain a proper infrastructure and cover general administrative costs including programme development and evaluation, rent, salaries, computers, liability insurances, and telecommunications both in Ireland and in your host country.

We strive to make a difference by connecting willing volunteers with worthwhile local projects in communities facing huge development challenges. We do this in a supported environment. Undoubtedly there are cheaper ways in which to become a volunteer overseas, especially if you locate a host project yourself. But in this case you would be without the assistance with your preparations, the 24 hour support, the local knowledge, the expertise, the options to move to a new project or housing if you are unhappy, all of which EIL can offer. This will certainly save you money, but could also expose you to greater risk and may leave you stranded with little or no local support if anything goes wrong. Our experience is that if things do not work out as expected volunteers rely a lot on the support we provide.

Volunteer Abroad is fully funded by participant fees - neither EIL or our host projects receive any grants or external support for arranging your volunteer placement. Host project organizations are never asked to contribute to or absorb the direct costs associated with receiving a volunteer. Similarly we are not a grant giving body for local projects and the fees we charge do not include any significant financial contribution to the project.

We encourage you to compare our costs with other organisations – we guarantee no hidden costs and a careful comparison of what is included and what is not included is always advisable. Travel insurance is compulsory, and is available as an optional extra from EIL. YOu can also choose to purchase your policy from an alternative vendor. Flights are not part of the programme cost and are your responsability to organise.

Volunteer Abroad is a programme operated by EIL Intercultural Learning. EIL is a "not for profit organisation" and is not owned by anybody or any group of people. There are no shareholders or annual dividends or profits to be paid to any individual or group of individuals. EIL is run by a Board of Directors all of whom are former participants and all of whom are volunteers who receive no payments or fees for their work. These Directors together with a paid full time staff based in Cork are responsible for the day to day operations of the organisation.

EIL invests any surpluses back in to its work through:

  • EIL Travel Award programme - Over the past 16 years, EIL has provided €428,589 to assist 572 people - almost all from Ireland - to take part in fully funded or partially funded travel awards over the last number of years to a variety of countries including Ecuador, South Africa, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, China, Hong Kong, Japan and others.
  • EIL Development Education Programme - EIL employs a full time Co-ordinator to lead its Development Education Programme. Our volunteers work and live alongside local people in local communities in some of the most deprived areas in the world. It is in response to their experiences that the development education programme was set up. On their return to Ireland we ask our volunteers to be the voice for the stories of the people they worked with and to highlight their experience of poverty and inequality. Then together we campaign to make a difference by promoting global justice, human rights, fair trade, debt relief and greater equality and respect among the peoples of the world. Our goal is to see global justice and equality reach the top of the Irish agenda.

Membership of EIL is open to anybody who shares the EIL philosophy of working towards international peace and understanding through intercultural learning programmes. Each year the members of EIL elect a volunteer board of directors who together with a full time staff are responsible for the day to day running of the organisation. If you would like to find out more about EIL or to become a member please let us know.