- Responsible Travel
- Social Responsibility
- Economic Responsibility
- Environmental Responsibility
- Responsible Volunteering
At Changing Worlds, we are firm believers in travelling in a responsible manner. As many of you will be aware, overseas travel can have positive and negative effects on the social and economic balance of an area, as well as an environmental effect on the world. We operate following a code of conduct in partnership with Climate Care, with aims to minimalise the negative effects and maximise the positive effects that travel can have. Using the tab system on the left hand side, browse through and find out who we encourage our travellers to engage with, Responsible Travel policies and tips, including Social, Economic and Environmental factors, as well as how to ensure that all our volunteer placements are responsible and ethical.
More Things To Think About:
As well as the social, economic and environmental elements, there are so many things to consider when you are planning a trip abroad, such as what to do on your trip, and where to go on your trip, visa requirements, vaccinations for specific destinations, travel insurance, and safety & security.
• What to Do?
• Where to Go?
• Safety & Security
Our social responsibility starts from the outset with our pre-departure advice and briefings that we give to all Changing Worlds participants. We aim to help travellers to understand the differences between their domestic customs and the local customs, and the cultural etiquette that will be expected of them in their destination country or countries. By being culturally aware before travelling, it minimises any negative attitudes during your trip and promotes a positive and extremely rewarding cross-cultural interaction with your host community.
Simple things like learning a few words in the local language before travelling to a certain country, for example, brushing up on your 'por favors' and 'gracias’ before travelling to Argentina; or understanding a few of the common local customs, such as how to dress respectfully in certain parts of Africa.
By working with local people on our overseas projects, much of the work we do promotes increased social opportunity for many people. Many of our volunteer and internship placements have direct positive influences on the local children and local staff who you will actively help during your placements. By having a steady stream of willing participants, our placements remain sustainable in the local communities in which they operate.
Changing Worlds is an ethical and responsible travel organisation that channels the funds you pay for your trip directly into the local community of your chosen destination country by using:
• Local accommodation, which brings an income to the local owners
• Local staff, which provides jobs to the people from the area
• Local food, which brings trade to the shops and markets
• Local transport, which maintains a flow of money through the area’s public and private transport industry
• Local facilities and popular hot-spots for social activities, bringing further trade to the people of the area
• And much more…
The vast spending power of visitors to the communities we work in is considerable, and really helps to drive the local economy through enjoying your personal travel, socialising with other travellers and locals, and buying gifts and souvenirs for those waiting for you back at home.
Part of your trip price goes directly towards buying specialist equipment for the local community, such as teaching materials or sports equipment, which is used by our travellers during their placement and is always left for the local community post placement.
For us at Changing Worlds, it is incredibly important to minimalise the negative effects that overseas travel has on the environment - whether that is through carbon emissions as a result of travel, or the excessive use of paper and cardboard for promotions and pre-departure planning. We have teamed up with Climate Care, an environmental sustainability scheme, and aim to encourage all our travellers to offset the carbon emissions from their flights. We also endeavour to provide adequate information on how to reduce the impact of tourism on the environment and how to travel responsibly.
Carbon offsets help individuals to compensate for emissions caused through their travel exploits: through sponsorship of certain activities or projects, such as wind farms, forest and tree planting; and water filter schemes which avoid release of, or contribute to, the absorption of carbon dioxide gas.
All flights and other methods of transport involved in your travels will have a negative effect on the environment so, in order to be an ethical and responsible traveller, we suggest that you should make every effort to reduce waste and carbon emissions where possible.
There has been a lot of questioning over recent years into the actual positive effect that volunteering has on the local community, querying the real agenda behind the work being done by the vast amount of volunteer organisations operating across the Third World and developing nations. There have been reports by newspapers and independent reports into the misleading way that some travel organisations and volunteer companies operate in developing nations and how they have been providing inaccurate information about the positive impacts of the volunteer work being offered.
Disturbing stories have appeared about parents from disadvantaged communities being misled by the owner of an orphanage giving a false impression of a better life for their children, taking the children in and providing harsh living conditions, in order to attract more volunteers and more money; or how local teachers have been fired from their paid position in a school, just to make space for a free volunteer teacher to take over their role. Changing Worlds sees it as an extremely important part of a volunteer placement that the work being done only has positive effects on the local community and does not indirectly result in negative repercussions.
According to reports on orphanages in Cambodia, over 70% of the children in the so-called orphanages are not orphans at all, and have been taken from their poor families living in the local area to fulfil the demand for voluntourism and orphanage tourism. Some orphanages and childcare centres in developing nations are nothing more than clever scams, targeting international donors, visitors and volunteers.
As an ethical organisation, Changing Worlds is committed to providing responsible volunteer placements, where volunteers are placed to provide support to the local community, local workers and local children. We aim to ensure that we are not providing a platform for corrupt owners of fake or misleading institutions to take advantage of local children, local workers and our volunteers.
Since 1999, Changing Worlds has hand-picked a select group of overseas partners to provide the most ethical and responsible options to those looking to do their bit to volunteer in disadvantaged communities in Africa, Asia, and South America. Volunteering is a selfless act which should have benefits that spread far beyond your own intrinsic rewards and, through a Changing Worlds volunteer placement, you can be safe in the knowledge that you are having a truly positive impact.
If you would like more information on any of our placements, and how we ensure that our volunteers only have a positive impact, then do not hesitate to speak to one of our experienced Travel Advisors.