Experience Quest

Quest has been approved to use the Fair Trade Volunteering logo.

Fair Trade Volunteering

Fair Trade Volunteering is a movement which is setting standard for volunteering placements, making sure the work done is genuinely worthwhile and beneficial. It’s a simple but effective process, organisations wanting to use the logo must fulfil all their criteria for all of their projects. Please see below how Quest4Change fulfils the five criteria for its expeditions.

For more information on Fair Trade Volunteering, visit their website www.fairtradevolunteering.com

To use the Fair Trade Volunteering logo, organisations must adhere to the following criteria:

1. MINIMUM “LOCAL INVESTMENT” LEVEL
Organisations provide investment into the project itself above and beyond the volunteer’s time and work. This can be in the form of finance, resources or training.
2. LONG TERM COMMITMENT TO THE PROJECT (MINIMUM 3 YEARS)
Organisations have a direct relationship with the host project or community, and develop the project in joint communication with their project partners.
3. CLEAR AND HONEST PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND THOROUGH VOLUNTEER PREPARATION
Organisations give clear, comprehensive and honest descriptions of their projects. They also have an appropriate pre-departure selection, preparation and training programme.
4. IN-COUNTRY SUPPORT AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Volunteers receive constant support and regular communication while on site at their project.
5. 100% VOLUNTEER EXPENSES COVERED BY THE VOLUNTEER, NOT THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
Organisations ensure that 100% of volunteer expenses on site (food, accommodation, transport) are covered by their placement fee.

1. MINIMUM “LOCAL INVESTMENT” LEVEL
Organisations provide investment into the project itself above and beyond the volunteer’s time and work. This can be in the form of finance, resources or training.

All of Quest's expeditions include a donation to our projects, whether it is a 1 week project or a three month expedition. The donation amount is anything from £75 to £800, depending on the length of the trip. EVERY PENNY of this donation goes directly to our projects, helping to support them in the short, medium and long term.

When volunteers are working on a particular project, these funds will ensure that there are materials and expertise to allow the team to complete their project work effectively, and ensure that their input is truly beneficial. Further to this, we make sure there are also funds left over to help maintain the project while teams are not present and also invest in the long term vision of the project. This is in the form of salaries for dedicated project staff, training for existing staff, materials for education or land purchase for conservation.

While we work closely with our project partners to establish where these funds are best invested, the drive and direction comes from the projects themselves. This is important to ensure we are not imposing something upon them that they do not want or need.

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2. LONG TERM COMMITMENT TO THE PROJECT (MINIMUM 3 YEARS)
Organisations have a direct relationship with the host project or community, and develop the project in joint communication with their project partners.

Quest is only working with nine project sites and our projects and expeditions are focused around those sites. We do not expand beyond this as we recognise the importance of having close links with our projects at all levels, and we feel this would be less possible if we were to grow beyond this. We work together with our project partners for 1-2 years before sending teams and then work with the project for anything from 5 years to indefinitely, depending on the need of the project itself.

Our senior operational staff visit each project site twice per year as a minimum, not only to maintain a strong involvement in the development of the project work, but also to maintain a good personal relationship with each of our project partners. We believe development work should be as much about personal relationships as it is about the work itself. Our longest project partnership goes back as far as 1998, in the shanty town of Villa Maria, where one of our directors is godparent to one of the project partner’s children, and ex-volunteers and staff return regularly to visit.

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3. CLEAR AND HONEST PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND THOROUGH VOLUNTEER PREPARATION
Organisations give clear, comprehensive and honest descriptions of their projects. They also have an appropriate pre-departure selection, preparation and training programme.

As well as the information on the website, we have extensive factsheets on each programme with a detailed background on the project and practical information on how to prepare. Our staff in the UK office have, between them, visited all our project sites so can give first hand accounts of the projects. We also encourage prospective volunteers to speak with ex-volunteers.

Our booking process is an online booking form followed by an extensive discussion with the participant, either on the phone or face to face. We speak at length with all participants so that both Quest and the participant can gain a fuller understanding of what each are hoping to achieve with our trips, and from there decide whether we are right for each other. Participating in a Quest adventure is a true privilege but isn’t necessarily for everyone, we want to be sure that people are joining for the right reasons.

Quest also provides extensive background and practical information on our placements, both in our Aide Memoire and online.

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4. IN-COUNTRY SUPPORT AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Volunteers receive constant support and regular communication while on site at their project.

All Quest projects and expeditions are led by experienced project and expedition leaders. There are there to make sure the project runs as successfully as possible, to deal with any medical or personal issues that volunteers may have, but also to ensure that teams have as much fun as possible while they are there!

Leaders hold regular feedback sessions throughout the placement to allow volunteers to voice any concerns, but also to ensure that the volunteers’ impact on the local community is not a negative one. It is sometimes the case that volunteers’ actions, although well intentioned, can create problems at a project or within a community; our leaders have many years experience working in developing nation communities and are aware of the sensitivities which volunteers may not realise.

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5. 100% VOLUNTEER EXPENSES COVERED BY THE VOLUNTEER, NOT THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
Organisations ensure that 100% of volunteer expenses on site (food, accommodation, transport) are covered by their placement fee.

Every penny of volunteer expenses on the ground are covered by the placement fee. Furthermore, any food, accommodation and transport used in the local communities are sourced within the community itself, to ensure the benefit of the volunteers’ presence in the community is felt by as many people as possible. Food is bought in the local market, if staff are contracted to cook for our teams, they will be from the community itself. This not only creates a further economic boost to the community, but also increases the relationship between the volunteers and the locals, making the experience for our teams much more integrated.

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