What do Leave for Change volunteers do?
Leave for Change is all about capacity building. This means volunteers train others in their field of expertise. Volunteers do not act as employees, but as advisors who transfer skills to local staff so as to build their host organization's capacity in a certain area. Country preferences of volunteers are taken into consideration but we cannot guarantee that a volunteer will be sent to his/her preferred country.
Can spouses / significant others participate?
What type of accommodation is provided?
Accommodations are consistent with local standards. They will be clean and basic.
Can I make stopovers to and/or from the country I will be volunteering in? Can I extend my stay?
No. Global Affairs Canada, which finances the Uniterra program, does not allow volunteers to extend their stay in the host country following their mandate. For reasons of security and legal responsibility, volunteers cannot make changes to their flight itinerary, even if the volunteer covers the cost of changing their plane ticket. Uniterra will issue airline tickets with no stopovers or extension built in. There will be no exception to this rule.
What are the qualities of the successful volunteer?
Adaptability and the capacity to relate on a human level are key. Volunteers must have the required professional qualifications for their particular posting, but personal qualities and relevant experiences are also very important.
To what are participants committing?
Volunteers commit to giving time and a lot of themselves! Before departure, volunteers must participate in a two-day training session, generally on a weekend. During their three- to four-week volunteer assignment abroad, volunteers share their knowledge, skills and expertise within a particular project with one of our overseas partners. After their return to Canada, volunteers create their own public engagement activities to raise awareness about the importance of international cooperation. They also take part in debriefings.
Do I have to pay for part of the travel costs?
No. TRU has accepted to cover part of the costs, and Uniterra covers the rest, including pre-departure training, vaccinations, visas, flights, lodging and local travel.
In case of accident or disease while I am abroad, am I insured?
Yes. Uniterra provides all its volunteers with an insurance policy that includes important items such as hospitalization and medical evacuation, reimbursement of medication and vaccinations.
Is there an evacuation policy in case of serious problems in the host country?
Yes. Uniterra has an office in each of the countries where Leave for Change assignments take place. There is an emergency protocol established in each country. Uniterra staff in the host country are responsible for assisting volunteers in case of serious social, medical or environmental problems in the host country.