At Raleigh we encourage questions. That’s because we know you need the right information in order to make the best decision for you. below we’ve included some of our most commonly asked questions.
Applying to volunteer
Can anyone join Raleigh ICS?
Regardless of your background, education, skills, and experience, we believe that Raleigh ICS should be open to everyone. You can join as a volunteer if you are aged 18 – 25, or as a Team Leader if you are 23 – 35.
To take part in ICS you’ll need to be living in the UK and a UK, EU or EEA citizen.
Who can apply as a Team Leader?
If you are aged 23 – 35 and have experience leading teams, you can apply as a Team Leader. Your role will be to support a team of volunteers, and facilitate an impactful project, creating lasting change.
What skills do I need to be a Team Leader?
We ask that all Team Leaders have previous experience of leading or facilitating a team or a diverse group of people. You must have strong communication and interpersonal skills, strong organisational and time management skills, a clear interest in community or international development or volunteering, the ability to work flexibly, use initiative and a different environment. We also ask that all Team Leaders have fluent written and spoken English. For our placements in Nicaragua we also look for Team Leaders who have conversational to fluent Spanish speaking and writing skills.
What is the difference between water and sanitation and livelihoods placements?
On a water and sanitation placement, you and your team will focus on improving access to safe water and sanitation in a rural community. This might involve running sessions to raise awareness of the importance of handwashing; helping to train a water and sanitation committee; and contributing to the improvement or building of community infrastructure, such as a water system or toilet block.
Our livelihoods placements focus on supporting young people and women to set up or develop local businesses or enterprises. You might run training workshops to share skills that would be useful for a business; work with an individual or small group of people to write a business plan; partner a young entrepreneur with someone in the local community who will mentor them; or help develop their ‘pitch’ to potential investors in order to secure funding for their business.
What are the different activities I might undertake on the placement?
You and your team of fellow volunteers will carry out research by doing surveys and focus groups, deliver awareness raising sessions and training. On livelihoods placements activities include market research, business development, connection and partnership building, and improving business sustainability. On water and sanitation placements there will also be an element of community infrastructure work to get involved with. If you are a Team Leader, you’ll be supporting and facilitating all volunteers during these activities.
Costs and fundraising
What is my fundraising commitment?
All volunteers and Team Leaders on Raleigh ICS are asked to fundraise at least £800. The fundraising you do contributes towards the programme as a whole. It ensures that young people from the UK and from developing countries can continue to take part in meaningful projects that fight poverty. You are not fundraising for your individual project or country.
How do I fundraise?
Fundraising is challenging, but it can also be fun and a great opportunity to develop new skills. We give you support with fundraising from the start, including a session at your assessment day and contact with a professional fundraiser who works for ICS.
You will be supported by a Fundraising Support Officer who will help you develop and implement your fundraising ideas.
Why do I have to fundraise if it is funded by the government?
The UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) funds 90% of the ICS programme. The other 10% is funded by volunteer fundraising. Without volunteer fundraising the programme would be unable to continue. Fundraising is also important as it is a way for you to raise awareness about the programme and what you will be doing on your placement. It shows you are committed to the programme and that you really want to make a difference.
What happens if I can’t afford to pay upfront for travel to assessment or training or for my vaccinations?
We do not want anyone to be unable to take part in ICS for financial reasons. If you feel that upfront costs will be a problem to you, please get in touch and we will discuss your situation on an individual basis.
What happens if I don’t meet my fundraising target?
We can offer help and guidance to help you plan out how you can achieve your fundraising target. We are always on hand to provide support. If you are struggling to reach your target or think that you might not meet your fundraising deadline, please get in touch as soon as possible and we can work out a solution together.
Who can I speak to about fundraising?
Before you apply you can speak to the ICS recruitment team about fundraising. Please call on 0208 780 7400, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you have applied and attended an assessment day you will receive one-to-one support from the Fundraising Support Officer at ICS. They will offer you advice and guidance to help you meet your target.
About the overseas placement
How big are the teams?
Teams are usually made up of around 12 volunteers and 2 Team Leaders. Half of the team, including one Team Leader is from the UK, the other half and one Team Leader is from the country of the volunteer placement.
My friend/family member is also applying, can we volunteer together?
Raleigh ICS aims to bring together a range of people from different backgrounds. We hope that our volunteers will learn more about working with others in a team and overcoming differences through collaboration and commitment to making a difference. To give everyone an equal starting point on the programme, teams should be made up of volunteers who do not know each other before going on their overseas placement. If you do know somebody else who wishes to volunteer in the same country and at the same time as you, and you are both successful at selection, you will not be in the same team as them but you may see them at the initial training in-country and at mid-placement reviews.
Where will I be sleeping?
All our ICS placements include home stays, so you will be living with a local family, likely with a counterpart from the country you are volunteering in. The local people’s houses will most likely be basic, there may not be access to electricity, flushing toilets or showers, and part of the challenge of the programme is to overcome these difficulties and experience first-hand the way people live in developing countries. Home stays are a great way to get really immersed into the culture and learn more about the local communities.
How do you ensure project safety?
Safety is at the heart of everything we do. Our programmes are challenging, so to minimise the risks we focus on preventing accidents. But accidents can still occasionally happen. Our Safety Management Systems are robust, practical, effective and most importantly, tried and tested over 30 years of experience in often remote and challenging environments. As a Raleigh team leader you will be an advocate for Raleigh’s safety procedures and will receive sufficient support throughout your programme.
Preparing for the overseas placement
What support does Raleigh give?
You’ll have a dedicated volunteer co-ordinator in the UK who will be your main point of contact up to and during your placement. We’ll send you an information pack with all the practical information you need such as vaccinations, kit, travel and insurance. Your participation in ICS shouldn’t leave you out of pocket. We therefore reimburse lowest cost travel and accommodation expenses as well as immunisation and anti-malarial costs. For more information please see our full Volunteer Travel Reimbursement Policy.
What training do I get before my placement?
A compulsory training event will take place over the course of a weekend in the UK. The training will help you understand more about the ICS programme, about Raleigh International, what your placement will involve. It will prepare you for living and working with people from a different culture, and get you thinking about some of the challenges of being together as a team for an extended period of time – and how to overcome these.
You’ll get an insight into some of the development issues that you may tackle and get the chance to exchange ideas and learn from each other. You’ll also get some practical information about what you’ll need to take with you.
Is there more training when I go overseas?
Yes. When you arrive overseas, you’ll take part in several days of induction training before deploying to your project sites. The skills you will learn will help you prepare for your role as a team leader and help you get the most out of your ICS placement. When the volunteers arrive, you will then help deliver this training with the in-country staff and local project partners. Don’t panic – by the end of your training you’ll have all the right training to prepare you to be a team leader, and you will have the support of the in-country staff and your counterpart team leader throughout the entire placement.
Can I take my mobile phone?
You can take your phone overseas; however, you will not be allowed to take your phone out to the project sites. There will be a secure place to leave valuables at the country office and you may access these when you return at the mid-placement review stage and at the end of the placement. We do not allow phones on project sites because in some cases the areas are so remote that there may be no signal. Also, the phone could get lost or damaged due to climate conditions.
Can I arrange my own flights?
Raleigh will book the flights for you and you will be sent details of these once they are organised. This means that you cannot travel before or after the programme and all flights will leave to and from the UK.
What do I need to take with me?
You’ll get some advice about kit during your pre-departure training. The most important items are: sturdy shoes, a comfy rucksack and a water bottle. We recommend that you should borrow items where possible to save money. It’s always best to pack older clothes and things you don’t mind getting dirty! Bear in mind you may have to carry your rucksack a long way to get to your project site (some are not accessible by road) so packing light is a good idea.
What vaccinations do I need?
Different countries require different vaccinations, and you will receive a list from your volunteer coordinator once you have been allocated to a country. Commonly, this will include Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Typhoid Fever, Hepatitis A & B and Rabies. You will need your doctor to sign a form to say that you have had all of these before embarking upon your overseas placement.
After the overseas placement
What is Action at Home?
Action at Home is your chance to carry on making a difference, inspiring and engaging others in your own community and bringing about positive change. It is a project that you design yourself, which spreads awareness about development issues and inspires others to take action. There are endless possibilities of what you could do. You could organise an event such as a photo exhibition, share your stories and experiences of international development with school or university students, get involved with volunteering in your local community, or write to your local MP about one of the issues raised by your placement. We will support you to do this with ideas and advice. This final part of the programme demonstrates how ICS can start a life long journey of positive social action at home. You will receive your ICS certificate at the end of the Action at Home phase as long as you have completed at least one project and submitted a short report about this to us.
Do I get training for my Action at Home project?
Yes. We will invite you to a Returned Volunteer event around one month after you return. This is 1-2 days where you will share your experiences and reflect on what you have learnt on your ICS placement. Our training team will get you thinking about what you could do for your Action at Home project. However, it’s a good idea to start thinking about this as soon as possible after you have been selected. If you plan ahead, you can use your overseas experience to gather information and resources such as photos, stories and quotes from the people you meet in your overseas community.
I am going back to study / work. Can I still do Action at Home?
Action at Home is a flexible project that should fit into your everyday life. We hope it will mark the start of a lifelong involvement in global and local causes. Whatever you choose to do, it should be something you feel passionate about, so that it is engaging for other people and therefore effective in inspiring them to take action. If you are studying or working you could do a project that involves your fellow students or colleagues. It’s important to be realistic with your ideas – so connecting with the people that you spend the most time with is a great way to start.
Can I go travelling after the overseas placement?
Unfortunately you will not be able to travel on immediately before or after the placement. You must travel with your group on the pre-booked flight because it is essential that you attend training before and after your placement and carry out your Action at Home project when you return.
Are there further opportunities to volunteer after I have completed the Raleigh ICS programme?
Yes. Raleigh International has a huge network of over 40,000 alumni. We offer lots of opportunities to stay involved, from volunteering at recruitment and assessment events, to reunion weekends and fundraising activities. We produce a regular alumni magazine called Connections and send alumni emails every two months. These are a great way to stay in touch, as well as through our social media pages.