Company and Structure

Here at Volunteer World International (VWI), we are proud to be in the privileged position to always offer our volunteers first rate local knowledge and advice and thus being able to create intricate and infinitely bespoke tailor-made experiences with best of breed projects by simply doing what we know intimately and have huge passion in – South Africa!

All of our team have comprehensive volunteering experience and encompass a huge contact network within South Africa, when this is combined with our philosophy and structure allowing us to operate without the need to fund unnecessary operating expenses, being perfectly placed to offer comprehensive local knowledge and advice and constantly monitor the projects with whom we work, none is better placed to offer a volunteering service to meet every volunteers individual requirements that could possibly be achieved in South Africa.

By working as a focussed, knowledgeable, local team without the need for unnecessary payouts for overseas staffing, premises or travel to offer the quality of service we guarantee, we ensure not only that the maximum revenue is received by the good cause you visit from your payment, we also ensure that our pricing is unbeatable.  We are justifiably proud of our structure and strongly believe this benefit all of the people with whom we work – our volunteers receive the best quality, tailor made experiences and pricing possible for them through our knowledge and experience and are only placed where they are best suited with amazing and enriching projects.  Our volunteer placements therefore receive the highest possible level of funding and only suitable volunteers to assist them with their work and achieving their goals.

On an ongoing basis, our volunteer placements are also regularly examined for their sustainability and ethical practices with all abiding by a strict VWI code of conduct in relation to this – you can be assured that we do not and will never support exploitative outfits promoting a volunteer program with the sole purpose of making money with no end result.  This is a major reason why we do not offer volunteer experiences in countries all over the world that we have never visited before, would be expensive to visit and maintain and importantly to be in a position to offer appropriate advice and knowledge to our volunteers.  We know South Africa and importantly the cultures and people with which we work like the back of our hands so who better to provide everything you could possibly wish for in a volunteering experience in South Africa?

Also, as we are 100% South African, 100% of our volunteer’s contributions enters South Africa and is thus not wasted on expensive and unnecessary overseas booking offices or travel arrangements meaning full support is received exactly where it is needed most!

Our Beliefs and Ethics

Through experience, we know that 99.9% of Volunteer Agencies offering experiences within South Africa will claim to offer ‘full support’ to and be ‘placing their projects needs first’ and whilst some no doubt will live up to these claims, many have a profit margin and infrastructure to consider as a priority before this.

VWI are structured specifically to avoid this issue and in turn our volunteers benefit greatly.  We live in, are passionate about and are 100% based in South Africa giving us a huge understanding and specific, in depth knowledge of the fields and people with which we are involved.  As a result, we are able to offer specific, extensive local knowledge, advice and expertise and are in the perfect position to regularly inspect our projects – all essential to fully meeting our volunteer’s dreams without the need to take funds away from the good cause by employing overseas agents and staff to achieve this.  This structure also ensures that the contribution you, the volunteer make, is not inflated to incorporate unnecessary costs.  All in all, we strongly believe the contribution you, the volunteer, make should pay for you to travel the world to visit the projects – not us!

This marks the background to the first of our key beliefs, namely that the good causes hosting our volunteers within South Africa should receive the maximum possible benefit to support the work they undertake through volunteer visits – ultimately, they do fantastic work and make volunteering possible.  It is also a key belief for VWI that for any volunteer agency to provide the best possible service, experiences and advice to the volunteer, exact local knowledge is required of the country in which the placement will take place.  Providing our volunteers with experiences which completely match their dreams is certainly integral to our beliefs and we commit to achieving this and are perfectly placed to do so through our combined experience, extensive knowledge of South Africa and the network within which we work.  Not many can make a genuine claim to be in the privileged position to be able to maximise the enjoyment of their volunteers during their visit – we are genuinely proud to be able to offer the comprehensive service and advice our location allows us to and this forms a major part of our ethical conduct policy.

By providing our volunteers with the most enriching experiences possible for them within South Africa, this also enhances the support we give to our projects by not only providing highest possible funding, we also ensure we provide energized and motivated volunteers to work with them.  This enables a win-win scenario that can only be achieved by understanding and then focusing on our volunteers’ interests and goals and matching them with appropriate projects.

Most importantly, we do have a genuine promise and commitment to supporting our volunteers fully from the moment your booking is received and throughout your stay in South Africa.  Remember, we are based in South Africa (Cape Town) and know our projects and the areas in which they are situated intimately – we are always on hand to assist for any queries or advice you may require 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Alongside supporting our projects fully and providing highly focused experiences for our volunteers, we strongly believe that ongoing education and knowledge are the biggest keys to making a difference within South Africa and our choice of projects reflects this.  Our motto ‘Vita per eruditio’ or ‘life through learning’ may seem like corporate branding, this does though reflect our core values and we stand by this sentiment strongly.  Without education and understanding of the problems we face, we will never find solutions – therefore, ‘vita per eruditio’ goes far beyond a corporate slogan and fully encapsulates our long-term goals and determination to make a difference to South Africa in the short, medium and long term.

Our Volunteer Projects

Volunteer World Internationals name, reputation and therefore existence depends on the volunteer projects and partners with which we work and the experiences we subsequently are able offer to our visitors.  Knowing and believing this fully, we place huge importance in selecting the organisations with which we work.  Ensuring our experiences are always of the highest imaginable quality is a top priority for us and to achieve this, all of our offered programs are carefully selected and designed to ensure that not only do our volunteers enjoy best of breed, engaging and exciting experiences, but also that by volunteering, you can be assured that your time and efforts return real benefit into the conservation field or community you visit.  This in particular we regard as being the most important reason for any volunteer agency to be in existence – i.e. – to make a real long term and beneficial difference!

Our volunteer’s feedback is important to us and as such, we constantly monitor our volunteer’s comments both whilst on the project and after returning home from their stay to ensure that their experiences are ones that will be remembered forever and for all the right reasons.  As former volunteers ourselves, we know from our own personal experiences what makes a great program and we ensure this is installed at all of our projects – any suggestions though to enhance are always welcomed and we challenge and encourage all our visitors to assist in this!

The main ethos though behind the service VWI offer is to ensure that volunteering, on an ongoing basis, represents a sustainable means of developing and supporting genuine good causes within South Africa and as such, all of our projects are constantly vetted to ensure that benefit is being gained from our volunteer’s visits.  Be this through research development and findings from our conservation programs that lead to ongoing understanding and protection of our wild heritage or ongoing support and enhancements to the communities we serve, all of our projects are constantly monitored by ourselves and respected organisations within South Africa to ensure that our volunteers can be guaranteed their contributions and presence make a real and genuine difference.

All in all, VWI believe strongly in mutual benefit – we truly value our volunteers for the benefit they create through their visits and we reward them by offering the best possible experiences available.  So, with 24/7 in country support, extensive and unparalleled local knowledge, great and engaging programs and real benefit being derived from all of our partners – what possible excuse could you have not to book with VWI…?!

Our Guaranteers to you

As part of our ethical code of conduct here at Volunteer World International, we commit to only place our volunteers with proven sustainable projects undertaking valuable work within their respective fields and in genuine need of help and support thus ensuring that your visit will always make the biggest possible impact.  As such, you as a volunteer are very important to and play a major part in the development of your respective chosen project, the people you will meet and to South Africa as a whole.

To ensure that both our volunteers and respective projects receive the highest possible benefit through your visit, we guarantee the following to all with whom we are associated:

  • We only place our volunteers at South African projects where they are needed to enhance the projects genuine work.
  • We only place our volunteers at projects in which they will receive maximum enjoyment and fulfilment from their visit in line with their interests and goals
  • We commit to creating bespoke experiences where required for our volunteers to ensure their stay encompasses all that is desired and hoped for.
  • No exploitative projects will be supported by VWI.  Our projects are constantly monitored both personally and through our contact network to ensure the ethical and sustainable approach to their work.
  • We commit through your pre-departure instructions to ensuring your stay in South Africa delivers the maximum possible fulfilment to you and we remain available to you to assist in any way possible before you arrive and even throughout your stay with us in South Africa.