And the winner is by Levone


									EXCLUSIVE Your guide to the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards

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steps to holiday heaven

And the winner is...

The people and places making the best contributions to travel that respects destinations and benefits local communities Holidays that respect destinations and local people
1/11/07 20:40:19

•| Best Volunteering Organisation


people and places

Matching people & places

VOLUNTEERING RESPONSIBLY DOES not replace the traditional holiday. It will be emotionally exhausting and mentally challenging – but it can also be a profound and life-enhancing experience if you are well-prepared, well-matched with your host community and well-supported in your endeavours. Like its fellow highly commended volunteering organisations, People and Places prides itself on offering fully transparent programmes, and works with local partners – from respected responsible tour operators to international NGOs – to match volunteers’ specific skills and experience to local need. Since its inception in March 2006, People and Places has matched and placed more than 200 volunteers in the Gambia, South Africa, Nepal, India, Bali and Madagascar – and expects to place a further 300 in 2008. At least 80 per cent of volunteers’ payments reach their host country, with volunteers paying the local partner directly, not People and Places. One example of local economic benefit is the programme at Mapoch, a rural Ndebele community in Gauteng, South Africa. Volunteers have worked with the community to build extra space at the Kagiso pre-school, funded play equipment and

trained local women to use it, thus improving facilities from basic to an environment in which mothers are keen to place their children. Volunteers have worked with the same community, providing training in hospitality and IT, and building the capacity of the community guesthouse. All People and Places volunteers stay in the guesthouse while working with the village. Programme director Sallie Grayson stresses that volunteers are not replacing local jobs. ‘Our volunteers work alongside local employees, not instead of them,’ she says. ‘Placements do not reduce or jeopardise local employment. The most effective volunteers work with and learn from the community, showing them respect, helping them carry out their own objectives, offering advice and encouragement, and increasing their capacity to develop their own futures. ‘Volunteers should be a positive presence, a source of inspiration and empowerment. Outsiders who impose their own cultural norms or their own agenda, and fail to include local people in decisions, can leave behind disruption and even destruction, and more problems than they solve, making life even tougher for economically poor people.’

SPONSORED BY: Lonely Planet
LONELY PLANET IS DELIGHTED TO BE sponsoring this year’s Best Volunteering Organisation category at the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards 2007. This year marks the publication of Volunteer: A Traveller’s Guide to Making a Difference Around the World, Lonely Planet’s guide to the world of volunteering. Lonely Planet remains committed to travel as a positive force, and volunteering is a welcome and growing trend towards giving something back to the communities impacted by tourism.

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1/11/07 21:57:22

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