Safety is at the heart of everything we do. All of our programmes are undertaken in challenging environments, so to minimise the risks we focus on prevention.

This starts with selecting the appropriate countries to base our activities in, all the way through to educating and empowering our volunteers to understand and use risk management in everything they do. However, just like in everyday life, accidents can still occasionally happen. Our Safety Management Systems are robust, practical, and effective. Most importantly they are tried and tested for over 30 years.

This page aims to make you aware of the risks and to give you confidence about Raleigh’s approach to prevention.

Volunteers work on a community centre in Costa Rica

Raleigh’s safety systems are externally accredited

Raleigh International has always endeavoured to be at the forefront of safety and development of systems and procedures for overseas Expeditions.

Nominated by our peers in the sector, Raleigh contributed to the formation of the British Standard for the provision of visits, fieldwork, Expeditions and adventurous activities, outside of the United Kingdom.

All of Raleigh’s systems enable us to deliver our Expedition programmes against the British Standard, called BS8848. Every year we are externally audited to confirm our conformity to the standard by an independent body. Raleigh uses the Young Explorer’s Trust (YET) as a competent, external and independent “other party” assessor of our conformity to British Standard BS 8848:2014. The assessment includes a sampling process for verification, but all ventures are subject to self-assessment in accordance with the standard. YET is not acting, of itself, as the arbiter of the quality of provision, but assesses provision by Raleigh against the standard to give assurance of good management practice.

BS8848:2014: A parents’ guide to adventurous activities abroad for young people explains why this is important.

Fieldbase staff in Costa Rica use a radio

Access to up-to-the minute security information

Raleigh has a permanent presence in each of the countries that we operate in, comprising of full time staff, our own office and a vehicle fleet. This presence enables us to ensure that we have the latest advice regarding any potential issues, despite the need being very unlikely.

We have good working relationships with National Governments where we operate, as well as representatives of foreign governments such as the British High Commission or Embassy. We are also able to consult with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) regularly to gain further information on their latest advice. Our networks also extend to medical facilities, military services and transport agencies, ensuring that we are able to handle any situation as swiftly as possible.

If you wish to keep up to date yourself on the latest travel advice for the country you intend to volunteer in, visit the FCO advice page.

FCO 'Know before you go' logo

Volunteers in Costa Rica practice using a stretcher

Risk assessment and casualty evacuation planning

Before every programme Raleigh conducts risk assessments and casualty evacuation training at both a country level and specifically for every site that our volunteers work at.

Our full-time staff and volunteer programme leaders visit all relevant medical facilities in advance to ensure that we know what options are available should an incident occur.

Group of volunteers in Costa Rica receive training on using a radio

Experienced In-country staff and volunteer management team

Our full time International and National staff team in each country are employed solely to deliver Raleigh’s programmes.

They are all highly experienced, committed and resourceful individuals who have been selected and trained by us to ensure they uphold our high standards of safety whilst achieving the organisation’s objectives, both for the countries we operate in and for our volunteers.

This full time team is supported by a group of volunteer programme leaders undertaking both support roles in our office and leading project teams on the ground. They are selected from a range of backgrounds all with basic broad skills, plus more specific skills for some roles. This includes a team of medical professionals. Additional medical support is provided by all project staff who are first aid trained. Where necessary we recruit volunteer managers who have technical or recognised national governing body qualifications to run adventurous activities, such as trekking.

Safety training for all volunteers

All volunteers received comprehensive training.

Before each programme we provide basic preparation training in the UK for all Raleigh participants. Details of dates and venues will be sent to the individual once they have signed up for their specific programme. This training is then built upon in country for all volunteer programme leaders and volunteers. The training includes health and safety, risk management, casualty evacuation planning, first aid, use of safety equipment, communications equipment and safe use of tools.

Volunteers in Tanzania receive training

Keeping our people safe while they work

We provide all Raleigh volunteers and leaders with the required safety equipment.

These might include helmets, protective goggles, GPS receivers and communications equipment. Raleigh does its utmost to support the local economy of the countries we work in by sourcing our equipment and other provisions locally. This is usually possible for items such as work helmets, protective goggles etc. However, where this isn’t possible we will import essential items such as satellite phones, emergency location beacons and medical supplies.

Volunteers in Borneo practice using a radio

Daily communications with all teams

All of our project teams are supported to ensure that they have more than sufficient options to communicate with our in country office.

These systems vary from country to country, but all teams will have at least two methods of communication, which may be telephone landlines and/or mobiles or in more remote locations satellite phones and High Frequency radios. Our country teams also have access to support from our UK based Head Office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Volunteers work on the foundations of a kindergarten in the deep rainsforest of Borneo

Comprehensive medical and personal accident insurance

We provide comprehensive medical and personal accident insurance cover for all volunteers.

In addition to providing the sort of cover you would expect from standard medical insurance, this gives Raleigh access to a medical assistance company that works with us to manage any serious medical issues, using local medical infrastructure and, if needed, repatriation to the volunteer’s home country.

Fieldbase in Tanzania

Head Office Support 24 hours, 7 days a week

Raleigh’s Safety and International Operational Support Team in our Head Office is dedicated to the safe delivery of our programmes. The team have many years’ experience in providing safe activities in the environments that Raleigh operates in. The team also includes our Medical Coordination Manager, who is a registered nurse. Raleigh operates a 24 hour on call system to support our country teams but also for emergency contact by volunteers’ next of kin, while they are on placement. We can be reached out of hours via our switchboard. This team would also contact volunteers’ emergency contacts in the unlikely event we need to. At the application stage we ask all volunteers to give the contact details of two people who are responsible adults, able to take important calls in case of an emergency. These adults must be available by phone for the duration of their Expedition.

Volunteers digging on a sanitation project in Tanzania

We are committed to safeguarding

Raleigh is committed to ensuring the health, safety, welfare and development of all young people with whom it works regardless of gender, age, stage of development, disability, sexual orientation, religion, culture or ethnicity.

All participants who take part in activities organised by us should enjoy taking part in these without fear of harm. We guide all staff and volunteers to show respect for and understanding of young people’s rights and their safety and welfare and by so doing, conduct themselves in a way that reflects our principles.

To find out more read Raleigh’s safeguarding policy, and anyone with concerns can contact Raleigh confidentially via

If you have any questions on safety...

Please contact the International Operational Support Manager on +44 (0) 20 7183 1270 or