A couple of months ago, I had the privilige to speak with Malaka Gharib of NPR on how volunteer tourism and international volunteering exchange have been evolving during this pandemic. I shared some insights on how limited mobility has shifted the focus of international volunteer-involving organisations more sharply on the important role of local, community-based volunteers in development.
Here's an excerpt:
"The pandemic has shown us there are different innovative ways volunteers are able to provide services," says Christopher Millora, an academic based in Iloilo City, Philippines, who is leading research for the U.N.'s next State of the World's Volunteerism report. This could lead to a "paradigm shift as to what kinds of relationships international volunteer organizations have toward local communities."
That's an important move in an industry riddled with criticism. Over the past few decades, critics and activists have been urging volunteer abroad organizations to rethink their business model.
They say sending volunteers from rich nations to low-income countries perpetuates the white savior complex by portraying volunteers as superheroes who will rescue the poor from their misery.