In April 2017, Comhlámh officially launched the Supporter Network with a reception at Wood Quay and a speech from the then Minister of State for Development, Joe McHugh. We welcomed 13 associations and organisations into the Supporter Network and we celebrated the new initiative.
The Supporter Network is made up of organisations that do not directly send volunteers on overseas placements, but who support the Comhlámh code of good practice for volunteer sending agencies. This code is a set of standards that ensures good practice in the sector and adheres to 11 principles, which ensure a good quality of volunteering for the volunteer, the volunteer sending agency and the host community and project. Over 40 volunteer sending agencies that have signed up to our code of good practice and we now have 14 associations and organisations in our Supporter Network.
On Tuesday 22 January, we were delighted to officially welcome ASTI into our Supporter Network and Ruth Powell presented the President of ASTI, Breda Lynch with a certificate in the ASTI offices. As a supporter, ASTI will now encourage their members to contact Comhlámh before they think about volunteering overseas. We will be able to give those ASTI members information about volunteering placements, pre-departure training, debriefing post-placement and other guidance. We will be able to give teachers information about how they can stay in their Public Service Pension Scheme if they go away for a period of two years, and we will be able to give the education workers information about the type of volunteer sending agencies that recruit teachers.
Many of the volunteer sending agencies have placements specifically designed around education programmes and projects so are always keen to talk to all those involved in education. The sending agencies would love to talk to newly qualified teachers alongside those teachers with many years experience and placements vary in length from 3 – 4 weeks up to 2 years.
ASTI is one of 14 organisations in the Comhlámh Supporter Network. The others are: BICS, HSE, IDEA, IFGH, IFUT, INMO, INTO, KDSC, NUIG Societies, NYCI, Studentvolunteer.ie, Volunteer Now and WWGS and we are delighted to have so many groups encouraging their members to volunteer overseas in a responsible and responsive way. We wish all our Supporters well for 2019 and look forward to our joint work and collaborations.
If you would like any further information about the Supporter Network, the code of good practice and volunteering overseas in general, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow VolOps on Facebook and/or @volopsrobot on Twitter. You can also telephone 01 478 3490 and make an appointment for one of our one-to-one information sessions