Being part of an Overseas Aid project team is a very rewarding experience and one that many people find life-changing. To get the full benefit from the experience, and to be able to provide the most help for the people of the community you are visiting, you do need to make a full commitment to it. The purpose of this document is to give you an idea of what will be required from you.
You will be required to contribute £550 towards the project. The first £150 will be a non-refundable deposit to be paid at your first team meeting. The balance is required six weeks before the date on which you leave Jersey, this will be collected during one of your team meetings. £50 will be refunded on your return providing you completed and return the debrief form and attend the debrief session.
When attempting to work out a total costing for yourself, you should allow an amount for your own ‘pocket money’ and for purchasing appropriate clothing including working boots. There is an additional cost of a two day short holiday at the end of the project which shall be arranged for you. More information and detail will be given at your first group meeting after selection. JOA WILL PAY ALL OTHER COSTS. By tradition volunteers tend to leave clothing and equipment behind as gifts for the people we work with, but this is not compulsory.
This is covered by a JOA-provided policy. It is possible then for you to increase various elements of that insurance package should you wish. It is advisable that NO EXPENSIVE PERSONAL ITEMS be taken with you unless you personally insure them.
Again the cost of all medical appointments and inoculations including anti malaria treatment is borne by JOA, provided you attend the agreed date and time of meeting (either Clinic or Surgery) and time for the series of inoculations as arranged for the group. You will then be fully protected by JOA before you leave the Island. (Failure to attend will result in JOA not being responsible for your medical costs).
You will be asked to complete a medical form and we will apply to your GP for recommendation of suitability on such a trip. Your team will appoint a nurse or medical representative and they will be given a copy of your medical form for information purposes in case of an accident. Please inform him/her if you are or have recently have taken any medication. Please note that any confidential information you share with your medical representative have a responsibility to the team leader to share any information with them which they feel appropriate or which may cause problems which could arise during the trip. A First Aid Resource Pack is always carried on each project and supervised by that person.
You will be expected to attend the group meetings and fund raising events on a regular basis during the months before you leave. You will be asked at the interview to state which evening of the week would be best for you to attend meetings during the next few months. Note the final decision will need to suit the majority.
You will be expected to ensure that you keep yourself reasonably fit, as you will be working physically and in comparatively high temperatures and with a different diet.
The diet will be very basic and consist of very limited food with NO alternatives, you must be able to adapt to strange sleeping and living conditions in close proximity to other group members….who might have all sorts of annoying habits like snoring all night, every night!
EXPECT NO PRIVACY from the minute you leave Jersey until you return from the project!
JOA through their carefully selected Project Leaders and Liaison Officers will ensure that you are prepared in the best possible manner for this project. This might entail training courses on block laying or trench digging, first aid or keep fit as well as group sessions where important information about the country, the people and the culture can be discussed and where you can raise questions any time about the project. It will be necessary for you to sign an agreement to attend these meetings.
Failure to attend meetings will, at the leader’s discretion, forfeit your place on the project.
You will be expected to complete all travel arrangements both to and from the project country as a whole group. The main journeys for holiday etc. will also be as a whole group. Personal and individual journeys whilst on project are only subject to the Leaders advice and decision.
FUND RAISING/MEETING COMMITMENT
Much effort and support will be required of each volunteer between the time of selection and leaving the island. Money both for personal use and money for all the fund raising events will be required. The Leaders will have a list of activities to fully prepare their groups, therefore it is essential that attend all of the vital meetings.
ALL volunteers will be expected to take part and help in their general organisation. These activities are for several reasons, the main being team-building to build up the relationships within the group in preparation for the project. The money raised is kept for the group to spend on aid of their own preference when they see the actual needs of the community in which they are working. It is likely that there will be an evening meeting on average every fortnight between selection and the actual project; this may vary depending on the nature of the project and the length of the preparation period. There will be some Saturdays, and in some cases an occasional Sunday spent in building training and some evening and weekend time spent in fund raising. Every effort will be taken to hold meetings at times suitable for everybody and we do understand that occasionally some team members may have other commitments.
The ‘team building’ and preparations are so critical to the success of the project and the safety of team members that JOA reserve the right to withdraw a team member who does not attend the majority of meetings or who fails to prove themselves a team player right up to and including the day before travel. This will include loss of deposit.
You are fortunate to be able to visit another country and perhaps help a great deal in a small community. You are however going to experience their culture, and NOT decide you can bring their community into the 21st Century in your short four week stay.
Please be prepared to abide by any rules set by the host community including the local standards also dictated to our dress code, it is most probable that ladies will not be expected to wear low cut tops and shorts for men and women should be of a reasonable length or even legs to be covered at all times. Please do not take any valuable jewellery or an expensive camera with you as not only is security difficult, but it would be wrong to appear to be flaunting our relative wealth.
DRINK, DRUGS AND SEX
You will be acting as an ambassador for the Island please remember this. You may be in areas where restrictions apply on alcohol and tobacco and may even be unavailable or prohibited. AIDS is a problem worldwide particularly in areas we visit. Please think about this paragraph MOST carefully.
Please share any talents that you may have with us at the team meetings, it could be important to the selection of the group, and for yourself particularly. Nothing is unimportant, music, dancing, singing, card games, jigsaw specialist, diarist, photographer, hairdresser, the possibilities are endless. If you are selected for a specific skill or talent that you may have, you will be expected to use that skill on the project, for the benefit of the whole group. Any change in responsibility is up to the Leader however there might be extra responsibilities that you can take over whilst you are on the project!
Experience has shown that there may be a possibility of team members being injured or taken ill while on project. In the event of the illness or injury requiring medical evacuation this is organized on our behalf by the Insurance Company.
You need to be aware that this can take time to put in place but in the meantime all medical treatment and care is provided locally. In the event of a less serious illness or injury where it is deemed advisable for a “walking wounded” to return home we will not allow that person to travel alone and somebody from the team will be delegated by the leader to return with them, you need to be aware of this both for your own peace of mind should you be the victim and as a warning that you may be asked to return early. Should you be required to accompany a team member home we will give you priority on the following year trips.
Your team will decide on Health and safety rules for the trip prior to departure and you will be expected to comply with them. Sometimes the local security situation dictates a degree of confinement; this can only be decided in consultation with your local coordinator on arrival. Most decisions will be made by discussion but very occasionally your team leader may need to “pull rank” in the interests of team safety or the success of the project. Remember that he or she has been chosen by JOA for their experience and leadership abilities and they act on behalf of the JOA. These rules are for your own safety.
While there will be some opportunity for cultural exchange and socialisation with the local people the main purpose of the trip is to provide them with a building that they are in desperate need of. The team is therefore likely to spend at least 8 hours a day, five days a week labouring on a building site.
The work is almost all manual as there are few machines available and, as the temperature will be much higher than in Jersey you will not cope with this trip if you are not fit. If you are not already engaged in regular manual work or are a regular and active sports person you will be expected to take up some sort of fitness training for the duration of the preparation period, as a bonus you should note that fit people are more likely to avoid illness while away.
In considering your fitness you need to bear in mind that it is stamina rather than pure strength that is needed, lack of strength can be overcome by correct handling techniques or by working in pairs but nothing can help if you can’t keep up with the team. On the same theme – tired people are more likely to have accidents on building sites so if it is a working day the next day, you will need an early night with no booze!
We hope this hasn’t put you off but it is essential that you know what you are facing. If you are sure that you are ready for this sort of challenge then the rewards are there. If you feel you have any worries or doubts please speak to your leader and discuss them before you leave the island!