Safety & Backup
This is an important part of the service Projects Abroad offers you. Your safety and security is our prime concern. Each placement is fully researched, safety audited and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector. We have many procedures and systems in place to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your placement with peace of mind.
Before you go:
Security: We take your security abroad very seriously. We only send volunteers to places that are safe and politically stable. If they are not, we don't go. We are constantly in contact with the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (as well as officials in the US, Canada, and Australia and other countries), regarding safety and stability. Of course, we have the added security of our own overseas staff who know the local area in detail.
Health and Insurance: All of our volunteers are covered by our medical and travel insurance. This includes repatriation for certain cases. 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.
Pre-Departure Advice: Once you've been accepted on to our projects you'll receive a personalised website called MyProjectsAbroad, which includes information about insurance, applying for a visa, packing lists, and cultural advice about the country you are visiting. Our highly experienced Volunteer Advisors will contact you once you have applied and are always available to give advice and answer any questions you may have.
Before you go you will be allocated your placement details. These include addresses and phone numbers for your host family, and details regarding your placement and supervisor.
While you’re in-country
Meeting on Arrival: 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 places, but in some cases we may 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.
Induction: 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 or shared taxis in Senegal)
- We'll advise you on local customs and what to expect while you are away and help you feel confident in your new environment.
Local staff support: We believe our in-country support to be unparalleled. Every single one of the places we work in has at least one Projects Abroad Office, and paid members of staff. Each country has a Country Director and various other members of staff. They are trained in the United Kingdom and in country to follow best practice procedures, including monitoring, security, and emergency procedures. Our local staff organise the details of our placements and accommodation according to strict criteria and high standards.
The office acts as a point of contact with our staff and a general meeting point for volunteers. They are there to assist with any concerns, problems, advice, and general administration that may arise during your time away. On arrival, our staff will make a final check that your accommodation and arrangements for your placement are acceptable.
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. They are also available during the day at the office and directly contactable 24 hours a day by phone.
Accommodation: 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.
Placement: Our overseas staff and staff in the UK work closely with our partner organisations to ensure they understand the nature and purpose of Projects Abroad. All our placements are regularly checked by our overseas staff and visited by UK staff.
Supervisors: Each volunteer, regardless of whether on a Teaching, Medicine, 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.