MEDIA RELEASE: Comhlámh and Volunteer Ireland Launch I-VOL Volunteering Database Expansion for Global Volunteering Opportunities

DUBLIN, 5/12/2023 – In celebration of International Volunteer Day 2023 on 5 December, Comhlámh and Volunteer Ireland are delighted to unveil an innovative online service catering to individuals interested in volunteering in the Global South. The national volunteering database I-VOL, coordinated by Volunteer Ireland, has been expanded to include comprehensive information about volunteering placements outside Ireland. Members of Comhlámh’s Code of Good Practice for Volunteer Sending Agencies are at the forefront, providing unique placements rooted in values-led, solidarity-based international volunteering.

The project was funded as part of the National Volunteering Strategy 2021 – 2025. Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State for Community Development, Integration and Charities, welcomed the news: “It is timely that the launch of this innovative online service by Comhlámh and Volunteer Ireland falls on International Volunteering Day. I am pleased that my Department has been able to support this very welcome addition to the national volunteering database, I-VOL, as part of the implementation of the National Volunteering Strategy. As someone who has had three significant and very positive experiences of volunteering abroad, it is my hope that it will make volunteering more accessible than ever, as it gives people a way of connecting with trusted organisations to find international volunteering opportunities that align with their interests and skills”.

Seán Fleming, TD, Minister of State for International Development and Diaspora, also extended his congratulations: “Irish people have a long tradition of volunteering overseas in support of those who are furthest behind.  I congratulate Volunteer Ireland and Comhlámh for their effective collaboration in delivering upon the commitment in the National Volunteering Strategy to expand the National Volunteer Database to include international volunteering opportunities.”

Nina Arwitz, CEO, Volunteer Ireland, emphasised the significance of the new service, stating: “We are delighted that the national volunteering database now offers high quality international volunteering opportunities through our partnership with Comhlámh. How people want to volunteer has changed over the last decade with volunteers wanting more options and flexibility in how they give their time. The addition of international roles gives volunteers access to a new and diverse set of opportunities which they can search for all in one place.”

Dr Caroline Murphy, CEO, Comhlámh commented: “For the first time the public can use a single database to explore involvement in solidarity-based action from Ireland, including international placements. We are delighted that Volunteer Ireland and the national network of Volunteer Centres are making I-VOL available as a resource that supports people to explore the connections between local and international volunteering. Only organisations signed up to Comhlámh’s Code of Good Practice can post international volunteering roles, highlighting Ireland’s commitment to values-led international volunteering.”

People interested in volunteering in Global South can access I-VOL Volunteering Database at www.i-vol.ie to explore current opportunities overseas.

ENDS

Notes for the Editor

About Comhlámh: Established in 1975, Comhlámh is the Irish association of international development workers and volunteers. As a membership organization, we build and mobilise community around global justice issues. Comhlámh nurtures and supports work for change, locally and globally, and advocates for a world beyond injustice.

About Volunteer Ireland: Volunteer Ireland is the national organisation that promotes, supports and advocates for volunteering in Ireland. We work with a range of stakeholders to make volunteering accessible, inclusive and of high quality. We build capacity in organisations and companies to create meaningful volunteering experiences. We celebrate volunteering and communicate its impact to the Government and the wider public. We advocate for volunteering so that its value is recognised. We support the network of Volunteer Centres and work closely with them to ensure volunteering thrives at local and national levels.

About I-VOL: The National Volunteering Database: I-VOL is the national searchable database of volunteering opportunities in Ireland and is owned, managed and administered by Volunteer Ireland and the network of Volunteer Centres across Ireland. By signing up individuals can register their interest in volunteering opportunities that are listed online by community groups across the country. When they first register on I-VOL, their application goes to their local Volunteer Centre in their county and they are able to begin applying for roles that are active on the I-VOL database.

Comhlámh’s Code of Good Practice for Volunteer Sending Agencies is a set of standards for Volunteer Sending Agencies involved in facilitating international volunteer placements.  It is based on a vision of volunteers working in solidarity for a just, equitable and sustainable world. It promotes values-led international volunteering that is informed by solidarity, respect, integrity, social justice, and ecological sustainability. The Code Network currently includes 25+ Irish Volunteer Sending Agencies.  (https://codeofgoodpractice.com/)