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FACE Nepal > Tip Sheet

Julie, France: "...Come to discover and to share this culture and this people by participating to a volunteer program and to this wonderful association that is Face Nepal. This is an organization which such a will to well do and to change the things, to improve the life as a whole." >> Read More
Are you considering a volunteer program but don't know which to select?

In Nepal in 2001 58% of the government's total development budget came from international aid and much more is assumed to have entered the economy in unaccounted forms. Due to the high value of funds handled through volunteer and other aid groups it can unfortunately be a major area of corruption. Although the genuine community needs do exist it is worth asking some direct questions of your aid organization before you join as a volunteer.

The following tips have been designed by prior volunteers to share their selection knowledge and experiences with you.

1. Does your aid organization have transparent cost accounting?

You should be able to ask your aid organization for a view of their accounts or at least a breakdown of the funds distribution before you commit to volunteering. This will enable you to see how much of your volunteer fee is actually going to the community areas.

2. Does your aid organization have a sufficient system of checks and balances incorporated into its governing structure?

Unfortunately there is not currently a system in Nepal to audit the activities of the aid organizations. So, volunteers must rely on the integrity of the group themeselves. Some things to look for are:

•  Do they have a Board of Directors (other than friends and family members)?

•  Is their accounting outsourced to an independent and reputable firm or is the treasurer and accountant an internal member?

•  Do they have a system for screening the recipients of projects and donations? (It is not uncommon for your volunteer fees, and indeed your volunteer efforts (if working on a construction project for example) to benefit friends and family of the Company Chairman, preferred caste members or influential bodies, rather than objectively selected cases).

3. Does your aid organization incorporate women and various caste groups?

Many underdeveloped countries have inferiority perceptions towards women and lower caste members. To ensure you will be treated well as a volunteer and that you will be in a strong position it is important to check that your aid company is free of these prejudices. One way to check this is to ask about the other governing members of the organizations or contact prior volunteers for a referral.

4. Is your volunteering project of genuine benefit to the community or are you conducting work for a profit making entity or a private individual?

It is worth checking where you will be placed on your volunteer project before you leave. It is often not possible for groups to give you exact placement details but a general area should be possible. Teaching in community groups, government schools, aid organization establishments, such as orphanages or National Parks, are legitimate causes. It is not uncommon however for aid organizations to send volunteers and project workers to profit-making child care facilities or private schools where you will find you are not working for the genuinely poor community and the group is likely to be receiving some form of private payment for your efforts.

5. Is your aid organization a registered not-for-profit organization?

Yes, FACE Nepal is a registered not-for-profit organization. You can read more about our organization. Many aid organizations are in fact not registered or are registered as a profit making company; more like a tourist group than a volunteer program. In these groups you may be sent to an area to "pass the time" rather than add genuine and sustainable value to a community.

6. Does your aid organization have a strategic plan directing its efforts in a sustainable manner?

There is nothing more disheartening to a volunteer than donating their time and efforts to a project that will fall over upon your departure. Ask the aid organization what sustainable planning they have in place for your aid efforts to ensure your contribution adds an on-going benefit to the community.

GOV. REG. NO. 37-2060-61 | PAN. NO. 301868185