Staying safe on a project

How does UNA Exchange ensure your project is safe?

UNA Exchange works with trusted international partner organisations.   All our partners are members of one of our international networks - the Alliance or CCIVS – who provide minimum health and safety standards of health and safety on projects.   These are set out in the Alliance’s Quality Charter (91kb PDF).

As part of our partnership agreement, all our partners agree to a set of guidelines to ensure projects are safe for volunteers. These include:

  • All projects will have a leader. This is an experienced or trained volunteer or a designated responsible person. You can turn to this person if you have questions or need any help / advice
  • You will receive any health and safety information that you need about your work or accommodation at the start of the project. This includes who to contact and what to do in an emergency.
  • All volunteer work will be supervised when necessary.
  • The partner organisation in the country where your project takes place is responsible for providing any necessary support if you do experience problems on a project.

What preparations will increase your safety?
  • UNA Exchange will make sure that you receive information about your project and partner organisation before you travel. We will also make sure that your emergency contact details are sent to our partner organisation.
  • If you are volunteering on a project in South America, Africa or Asia, we ask you to come to a preparation weekend. This will include information about travelling and volunteering safely. Volunteers on our Main Programme are also welcome to attend the North South Training to help them prepare.
  • You can find up to date information about travel to different parts of the world on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. This will also give you information about any visas or vaccinations that you might need before you travel.

Do you need insurance?

UNA Exchange requires all volunteers to take out their own health and travel insurance. UNA Exchange and our international partner organisations cannot be liable for problems arising from illness, accidents, theft, loss of personal items or cancelled/delayed travel.

How can you increase your safety?

As with all types of travel, volunteers have a responsibility to look after their own safety when they travel. The following points will help you volunteer safely:

  • Make sure that you tell UNA Exchange about any special health requirements that you have, including medication.
  • You must follow the laws of the country where you volunteer.
  • An important part of volunteering is learning about local customs and practices. It’s important that you respect these and behave with sensitivity.
  • Follow any guidelines given to you on the project – even if they don’t make complete sense to you there will be a good reason for them!