Debating the merits of luxury voluntourism

David Clemmons, as ever, has fascinating topics on his site www.voluntourism.org

Today, he revisits the merits of luxury voluntourism.

You can read the full article here: http://blog.voluntourism.org/?p=188#comment-4445

It is indeed a good thing that the debate is happening, and there are legitimate arguments on both sides.

From my perspective, it largely boils down to:

  • is there ongoing consultation with the host communities to assess (1) if they would like to have volunteers, and if so (2) what their felt needs are (rather than imposing on the community what we feel should be done there)
  • are the host communities actually benefiting from the volunteers? This needs to be examined from a long-term perspective to see if a culture of dependence is being created, or a culture of skills learning and improved self-worth.

It is hard work, and not all volunteer project providers get it right, which is where criticism, and, I believe, a Code of Practice for voluntourism operators is necessary.

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