volunteers with country coordinator

What is in-country support?

As a volunteer abroad, you will be faced with many challenges on a daily basis. Most of them will be small, manageable challenges, while others may be a bit larger. No matter what you face, your volunteer abroad in-country coordinator will be there for you. Perhaps you're having trouble with your host family or you want to switch your work placement. Or maybe you just want some advice on the best form of transportation to take to a nearby city. Your volunteer abroad in-country coordinator will be able to provide you with all the support and advice that you need to make your time abroad more comfortable. The role of the volunteer abroad in-country support and the services they provide will be explained in more detail further in the article.

Who is my in-country coordinator or local staff?

In general, most volunteer abroad organizations follow one of two models. The main model is that they have their own volunteer abroad in-country field office with staff members, such as cooks, drivers, coordinators, etc. This team makes up your volunteer abroad in-country support. In the other model, the volunteer abroad organizations work through local volunteer organizations and take on the role of the middleman. In these cases, the head of the local organization serves as your volunteer abroad in-country support.

What does my in-country support do for me?

In-country support staff is responsible for a number of things. From the moment you arrive in your host country, to the moment you leave, they are there for you. Although the responsibilities of your in-country coordinator and staff differ from organization to organization, below are some of the main services that they provide:

  • Airport pick-up and transfer to host family or work site
  • Management of room and food in host family/hostel
  • Orientation of local country, culture, host family, safety, and related issues
  • Introduction to your host family and project staff
  • Periodic follow up visits or calls (1-2 week intervals) to ensure everything is going smoothly
  • Advice for solving any issues, problems, or concerns

Do I need to stay in touch with my in-country support?

It is vital that you maintain a comfortable relationship with your volunteer abroad in-country coordinator and support staff and that they are familiar with who you are and the work you are doing. Make sure you have their phone number, email, and local address for easy contact. Should anything happen (sickness, project issues, emergencies, etc) you must know how to get in touch with them.