Expedition COVID-19 update

As the world begins to adapt to a new normal, we are planning to run COVID-adapted Raleigh Expedition programmes from February next year and throughout 2021. We are also exploring the potential to run limited-place and shorter 5-week programmes much later in 2020. You can learn more about this option and how to express your interest here.

We continue to constantly monitor the advice provided by the World Health Organisation, UK government, and relevant authorities in our countries of operation.

As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we suspended our spring international volunteering programmes on 16 March and successfully and safely returned over 500 volunteers’ home from their programme locations.  For the safety of our volunteers, staff, partners and the communities we work with, we also made the difficult decision to cancel our summer and autumn international programmes.

Our staff teams are now working remotely at home or to a limited degree in each of our offices.  Throughout we have remained fully connected and focused on restarting our international volunteering programmes and continuing to deliver our national volunteer programmes, where safe to do so.

Please see below the current answers to some frequently asked questions. Get in touch if you can’t find the answer you need.

What happens if I were to sign up now to volunteer and Raleigh are forced to cancel the programme due to Covid-19?

If we have to cancel the programme in advance, you’ll be able to defer your place to a future Raleigh Expedition or we’ll make sure you get any fundraising contributions appropriately returned.

Should I take out travel insurance?

We always recommend that volunteers take out cheap and affordable travel insurance that provides additional cover for flight bookings, change in travel plans, personal possessions etc, to reduce your personal financial risk.

What steps are you taking to keep volunteers safe?

We are constantly monitoring and assessing the situation, here and in our countries of operation. We have permanent staff in each country that are in contact with local governments, embassies, and other authorities. We’ll only go ahead with our programmes when we know that we can maintain our high standards of safety and risk management. We will be working to review and update our operational protocols in the next few months to ensure we can work safely.  Although these changes have yet to be confirmed, they may include:

  • Enhancing our strict medical screening protocols to ensure those more vulnerable to the virus are not unduly exposed to health risks
  • Testing pre-departure and on arrival
  • Implementing our own enhanced mitigation protocols if we do not believe the government requirements where we operate are sufficient
  • Maintaining social distancing during our programmes and forming group ‘bubbles’. This will reduce the opportunities for different volunteer groups to mix with each other
  • Enhancing our already stringent medical response protocols so we can respond to any suspected cases of Covid-19 in a locally appropriate, responsible, and effective manner
  • Continuing to run with high standards of hygiene and handwashing
  • Reviewing the way we work with local communities to ensure we do not put them at any risk

Is Raleigh delivering any programmes that may help respond to the Covid-19 outbreak?

Our water, sanitation health and hygiene (WASH) programmes are already closely aligned to the type of projects that will be valuable in a post-Covid world. We will be working with project partners and communities to better understand how the needs may have changed and how we can tailor our projects and activities to support even more. More broadly, our non-Expedition programmes that work with national volunteers only are also being redeveloped to respond to this global issue.