Siobhan Magner with boys from Care and Share, South India: Photograph courtesy of UCD Volunteers Overseas
Irish Aid promotes only opportunities that are responsible both to the volunteer and to the host community. We recommend that you ensure your sending agency is a signatory to the Comhlámh Code of Good Practice for Sending Organisations. The Code sets out standards aimed at ensuring that overseas volunteering has a positive impact for the volunteer, the sending agency and the host project and community. The code reflects a number of key values including, partnership, valuing volunteering, sustainability and solidarity.
A sending agency directory provides a list of all of the Code of Good Practice signatories. Always ask if an agency has signed up for the Code and if not, why not? Irish Aid also recommend that prospective volunteers read the Volunteer Charter which sets out principles for responsible volunteering.
Irish Aid wishes to alert those considering any long-term volunteer placements abroad and who may later undertake further third level studies to check the most recent residency criteria for third level fees and grants issued by the Department of Education and Skills (S.U.S.I.).
The Department of Social Welfare operates The Volunteer Development Worker Scheme whereby Volunteer Workers (VDWs) can qualify for Credited Contributions or ‘VDW Credits’ in respect of a period spent working in a developing country and any preparatory period beforehand.
Comhlámh administers the Scheme on behalf of the Department of Social Protection. Volunteers can qualify for ‘Credits’ which can help qualify for certain social welfare benefits and pensions after they return from the developing world. In addition, certain qualifying conditions for entitlement to Maternity Benefit, Health and Safety Benefit, Jobseeker’s Benefit, Illness Benefit and Treatment Benefit have been relaxed for returned VDWs.
Please read the information on the attached link to familiarise yourself with the full details of the scheme.
Comhlámh also administers the Public Service Pension Scheme for Volunteer Development Workers on behalf of Irish Aid. This scheme allows public servants, in defined circumstances, to get their pension contributions paid while serving overseas for six consecutive months or more and up to a maximum of two years. To avail of the scheme, the assignment must be co-funded by Irish Aid. For further information please contact Comhlámh at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 – 4783490
TravelWise has been developed by the Department of Foreign Affairs to provide travel advice and consular information to these citizens to keep them informed and aware. With TravelWise, you get our user-friendly, trusted and comprehensive travel advice and consular information for 200 different countries – straight to your phone.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides travel advice and access information on registration for Irish citizens travelling abroad.